Wednesday, January 25, 2017

Upcoming Events at MCTA

January 28th: Appalachian Dance Workshops, Clogging and Flat-footing

 Mountain City Traditional Arts, 25 E. Main Street, Frostburg, will offer Appalachian Dance Workshops- clogging and flat-footing! Workshops will be held on the second and fourth Saturdays of the month from 11 am to Noon, starting Saturday, January 28. Hard sole shoes are recommended. Donations of $10 per session are encouraged, though not required. No experience necessary. 

Instructor Catie Snider was born and raised in Cumberland, MD. It wasn't until she was living in Albuquerque in her mid 20s that she discovered clogging at the Albuquerque Folk Festival. She immediately started taking classes that mostly consisted of dance routines to country music songs. She continued taking classes when she was living in Missoula, MT and this is where she learned how to "flat foot." While living in Asheville, NC, she continued taking classes and began working on improv, simply dancing to live music. Catie returned to her hometown about 3 years ago and currently teaches anthropology and sociology classes at Potomac State College. She's eager to share her love of flat-footing with others.

February 4th: Maple Syrup Production in Western Maryland

​Mountain City Traditional Arts, 25 E. Main Street, Frostburg, will host the program, “Maple Syrup Production in Western Maryland,” on Saturday, February 4th at 2 pm. The event features recent Maryland Traditions Heritage Award Winners, Steyer Brothers Maple Syrup and S&S Maple Camp. Both were recognized by the Maryland Traditions Program of the Maryland State Arts Council for their roles in continuing the tradition of maple syrup making in western Maryland. In November, recipients traveled to Silver Spring, Maryland, to participate in a full program honoring 2016 recipients. The event at Mountain City Traditional Arts provides the local community with the opportunity to learn more about maple syrup productionin our region.

​The program is being presented as part of a partnership with the The Western Maryland Heritage Association, which is partnering with the Maryland Humanities Council to bring the Smithsonian Travelling exhibition, “The Way We Worked,” to western Maryland. The main exhibition will be hosted by the Allegany Museum in Cumberland, February-March. Additionally, six Allegany County museums and historic sites, will develop companion displays featuring labor and work themes.

"Maryland is home to a wealth of agricultural traditions, and one of the sweetest comes from the Appalachian west, where families like the Steyers and Shinholts have been passing down maple syrup harvesting practices for generations,” said Chad Buterbaugh, director of the Maryland Traditions Program, who will participate in the MCTA program. "We are truly pleased to recognize the Steyers and Shinholts for their work, and we are grateful for their participation in the Maryland Traditions program."

Maple Syrup production has a rich history in western Maryland, where operations perhaps numbered in the hundreds at one time. Only a handful of those remain today, with the Steyers and Shinholts being some of the few producers remaining to keep the tradition alive in western Maryland

“Wind from the North, sap comes forth.” “Wind from the West, sap runs best.” “Wind from the East, sap runs least.” “Wind from the South, sap is a drought,” Leo Shinholt, owner of S&S Maple Camp is fond of saying. When most residents of the region are still staying indoors and out of the winter weather, Leo Shinholt of Corriganville, in Allegany County and Michael and Randall Steyer and their families near Oakland, in Garrett County are walking miles, sometimes in snow shoes, to drill holes in Maple Trees, set taps and collect sap.

Sap can run for two months or more, from mid to late February through early April, but the sweet spot of that time frame, where sap runs best, may be only a third of that time. It’s during that intensity that running and boiling sap becomes a way of life in the Steyer and Shinolt families, both of which have been at it for three decades or more. Leo Shinholt learned the tradition from his grandfather; the Steyer family has been engaged in the practice for more than 100 years. In early Spring, the Sugar Camp becomes the hub of social activity for both families. Family and friends gather nightly to share stories, trade gossip, socialize while the sap is boiled down to produce syrup.
"The maple syrup making process represents ingenuity and entrepreneurial spirit, but it also provides a source of fellowship for the immediate and extended family members who come together each winter to participate in tapping, boiling, and bottling,” said Buterbaugh.

A program of Frostburg State University, Mountain City Traditional Arts is dedicated to the education, sales, documentation and perpetuation of the traditional arts in western Maryland.

February 24th: The April Verch Band

The April Verch Band will bring their world-class talent and dynamism to Mountain City Traditional Arts, 25 East Main Street Frostburg MD, on Friday February 24th at 7:30pm. This passionate and energetic trio has performed across the United State, Canada, Europe, Australia, and China. Their mastery of their instruments and stage presence has won over audiences worldwide. The performance has a suggested donation of $15.

April has been deeply immersed in traditional music since she was a young child in Ottawa Valley, Canada. With her family made up of musicians and teaching her to fiddle and stepdance at a very young age the path to becoming a professional musician was wide open to her. She has been touring full time since 2000, traveling all over the world and bringing her passion for her music to small rural communities as well as expansive concert halls. She has held classes and lectures, performed at numerous festival, and was even one of six fiddlers representing the Canadian fiddle tradition at the 2010 Olympic Winter Games. Her performances are executed with precision as she employs voice, dance, and her fiddle all at once.

Through all of her numerous accomplishments and skill April remains modest about her fame as she performs simply out of passion for the traditional music of her home. April will be releasing an album that represents all the greatest songs of her career so far in February of 2017.

Cody Walters, a native of rural Kansas, has been playing upright bass since 1999. He has played bass in a variety of musical styles including country, jazz, Latin, folk, old-time, and more with a variety of bands. He has recently become very accomplished with claw-hammer banjo, a welcome addition to The April Verch Band sound. He has been with the band since 2007 employing use of both his upright-electric bass and banjo.

Alex Rubin has been a member of the band since March of 2016 playing guitar and mandolin. Though he began exploring music through classical violin, he soon changed to focus on bluegrass guitar. After receiving his bachelors degree in biology he became immersed in the Boston bluegrass scene. He has studied with John McGann, performed in a folk duo with banjo player BB Bowness, and toured a variety of festivals and New Zealand.

Dedicated to the education, sales, documentation and perpetuation of the traditional arts in the mountain region, Mountain City Traditional Arts is a program of Frostburg State University, with support from FrostburgFirst, the Allegany Arts Council, and the Maryland Traditions Program of the State Arts Council. For more information contact or call 301-687-8040.

FSU is committed to making all of its programs, services and activities accessible to persons with disabilities. To request accommodations through the ADA Compliance Office, call 301-687-4102 or use a Voice Relay Operator at 1-800-735-2258.