Minstrel Banjo

For enthusiasts of early banjo

SCHEDULE for Antietam Early Banjo Gathering-VI (June 21-23, 2013)

Dear Friends,

We are excited to announce the schedule for the Antietam Early Banjo Gathering-VI to be held on June 21-23, 2013. The event will take place at the Pry House Field Hospital Museum, Antietam National Battlefield, 18906 Shepherdstown Pike, Keedysville, Maryland.

The Antietam Early Banjo Gathering is focused on three main activities: formal presentations (screenings, lectures, and workshops); one-on-one mentoring sessions about playing techniques; and two public concerts.

Mentoring sessions for new learners take place during a long opening session on Friday afternoon and continue throughout the day on Saturday in between formal presentation times (which occur in alternating 45 minute intervals). During the mentoring sessions, attendees can learn basic, intermediate, and advanced techniques and repertoire in a dynamic, interactive environment. Some of this year’s highlighted mentors will include: Bob Winans, Clarke Buehling, Cheick Hamala Diabate, Tim Twiss, George Wunderlich, and Greg Adams.

Cheick Hamala Diabate—scheduled to be with us on Saturday (June 22)—is a virtuoso musician and player of the ngoni, a West African plucked lute that holds historical and modern links with banjo traditions in the Americas. A native of Mali, Diabate is a West African historian, poet, political advisor, and storyteller in the griot tradition and the ngoni is one of several instruments integral to Cheick’s life and work.  

This year’s presentation schedule is expanded to include a Friday evening screening of the new documentary by Jim Carrier entitled The Librarian and the Banjo, telling the story of music librarian Dena Epstein and her pioneering research into early banjo history. Other formal presentations include those provided by Dorothea Nelson, Renee Lapp Norris, Emily Oleson and Matthew Olwell, Joel Hooks, Clarke Buehling, and a panel discussion about recent interest in early banjo history.

A public concert will be held on Saturday afternoon at the Pry House (5:15pm) and on Sunday afternoon at the Dunker Church (2pm). Attendees are encouraged to participate in one or both concerts to share with the public this unique banjo tradition that is seldom heard. Performers can play as soloists or in small ensembles.

Registration for the event is $60 per person and includes morning breakfasts (Saturday and Sunday), Saturday lunch, and daily snacks. For more information or to register online, visit www.civilwarmed.org/calendar and click on the Antietam Early Banjo Gathering. For questions, please contact Kyle Wichtendahl at 301-695-1864 ext. *823 or pryprograms@civilwarmed.org. To register for the conference by phone, please call 301-695-1864 ext. *811.



FRIDAY, June 21

• Noon: Registration opens

• 1:00-5:00 p.m.: “Early Bird" Mentoring Sessions (first come, first serve)

• 5:00-7:00 p.m.: Dinner on your own

• 7:00-8:00 p.m.: Greetings and Show & Tell

• 8:00-9:00 p.m.: Presentation 1: Documentary screening: Jim Carrier’s The Librarian and the Banjo (the story of music librarian Dena Epstein and her research into early banjo history)

• 9:00-?: Jam sessions, social time



• 8:30 a.m.: Check-in, coffee, and pastries

• 9:00-9:45 a.m.: Presentation 2: Dorothea Nelson, “Military Amateur Minstrel Groups in the Mexican War and Civil War”

• 10:30-11:15 a.m.: Presentation 3: Panel Discussion, “Interest in the Early Banjo: Why We Do What We Do” with Bob Winans, Cheick Hamala Diabate, Clarke Buehling, George Wunderlich, and Pete Ross (moderated by Greg Adams)

• 12:00-1:00 p.m.: Lunch (provided for registered participants)

• 1:30-2:15 p.m.: Presentation 4: Renee Lapp Norris, “Operatic Parodies in the Minstrel Shows”

• 3:00-3:45 p.m.: Presentation 5: Emily Oleson and Matthew Olwell, “A Presentation and Tutorial on Vernacular Dance and Movement as Applied to the 19th-Century Banjo”

• 5:15 p.m.: PUBLIC CONCERT at Pry House Field Hospital and Museum

• 6:30 p.m.: Dinner on your own

• 6:30 p.m.-?: Jam sessions, social time


SUNDAY, June 23

• 8:30 a.m.: Check-in, coffee, and pastries

• 9:00-9:30 a.m.: Large group meeting about AEBG 2014, logistics for Sunday afternoon concert

• 9:30-10:15 a.m.: Presentation 6: Joel Hooks, “Discovering Horace Weston (1825-1890)”

• 10:30-11:15 a.m.: Presentation 7: Clarke Buehling, “A Presentation on Playing Technique”

• 11:30-12:30 p.m.: Lunch on your own

• 12:30-2:00 p.m.: Concert preparation

• 2:00 p.m.: PUBLIC CONCERT in Dunker Church

• 3:00 p.m.: good-byes 


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Greg--Great line up, great topics all.  I've read  lot about Horace Weston.  Can't wait to hear Joel's presentation.  Good show.--Rob

This looks like a sensational agenda, but it's looking like I'm going to have to miss it again this year. Dang! - an unfortunate convergence of folks who want to come to our little museum for special programs and my assistant's son getting married that weekend. It's terrible inconvenient being a responsible citizen sometimes. I guess i'll just wait for the YouTube videos.

Yes, Dang!  I was hoping to get to play a few tunes with you and your button accordion. 

Not in the cards again this year...sigh.

I'll have to miss this year, what a drag as the line-up looks fabulous.  I thought last year would be tough to top, but it looks like you're done it.  All you registeriees are in for a whale of a time.

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