Discover All Things Regional in Central PA’s art and culture scene. Join hosts Cary Burkett and Joe Ulrich as they make artistic discoveries throughout the midstate. From music and visual arts to theatre, museums, literature and more! Listen every Wednesday and Friday on witf 89.5 and 93.3 for features highlighting the best and brightest cultural happenings in the region.
Blues Hall-of-Famer John Hammond
The Susquehanna Folk Music Society describes itself as “Central Pennsylvania’s grass-roots voice for folk music and dance”. Since 1985, the nonprofit organization has been working to advance and preserve not only traditional folk music, but contemporary and international folk culture.
For Jess Hayden, Executive Director of the organization, this is a wide mandate. “In our country certainly the Appalachian style of folk music is something that is very distinctive, but also you have the Blues, you have the Zydeco music, so we have these living cultures in our own county. But we also look to other counties to see what’s happening there.” She rattles off a list including Celtic music of Ireland and Scotland, Hawaiian slack-key guitar playing, traditional music from Quebec, and Scandinavian music from Sweden and Norway. Then she goes on to mention the folk-dancing events sponsored by the SFMS with many different ethnic groups in the area, such as Greek, Serbian, Croatian and Bulgarian dancing.
The SFMS presents dozens of events throughout the area from September through June, bringing in established well-known folk artists in concerts, as well as giving hometown musicians opportunities to perform through coffee houses events and jam sessions. The Society also brings folk culture into schools each year through Arts in Education residencies.
February is a particularly full month for SFMS, with three concert events at the Abbey Bar, a jam session, a Coffee House at Fort Hunter Barn, and a world music event with the Alash Ensemble Tuvan throat-singers.. The concerts will feature the French-Canadian band from Quebec, Le Vent du Nord, Blues Hall-of-Fame inductee John Hammond, as well as a quartet of area musicians, Neidig, Koretzky, Gehret & Campbell. You can find full details on all the events at the SFMS website.
Below you can listen to our interview with Jess Hayden.
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