15th Annual Kalamazoo Fretboard Festival Kicks Off on Friday, March 6

Share Article

Stringed instrument makers, musicians, music lovers, and fans of all ages should be sure to attend the 2020 Kalamazoo Fretboard Festival on March 6 and 7 at the Kalamazoo Valley Museum and Anna Whitten Hall.

15th Annual Kalamazoo Fretboard Festival Kicks Off on Friday, March 6
Stringed instrument makers, musicians, music lovers, and fans of all ages should be sure to attend the 2020 Kalamazoo Fretboard Festival on March 6 and 7 at the Kalamazoo Valley Museum and Anna Whitten Hall. This year marks the 15th anniversary of the Festival that includes workshops, concerts, and stringed instrument vendors. For details, see the Fretboard Festival website at http://www.kvcc.edu/fretboard.

The Kickoff Concert with Cabildo runs from 5 to 8 p.m. on Friday, March 6, at the Museum Festival Stage. Cabildo is a West Michigan-based alternative Latin rock collective delivering a unique blend of cumbia, ska, folk, and other genres of music from Latin and South America. The "Rock en Español" movement inspires many of their selections, consisting of original music and covers from several popular Latin American bands. Cabildo means "Town Hall" in Spanish. Historically, cabildos were located throughout Latin America and the Caribbean and doubled as locations where African slaves were permitted to play traditional music. Chants and drum parts were passed on from generation to generation during Spanish colonization and continue to live on through modern music.

The Festival continues from 9:30 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Saturday, March 7. Meet music professionals to learn about their art and trade, attend workshops, and enjoy live performances from area musicians. Food service will be provided by The Spot at Kalamazoo Valley Community College's Anna Whitten Hall. The cafe will be open from 11 a.m. until 2 p.m., offering snacks, beverages, and simple sandwiches.

Saturday Stage Acts:
Genre: Family
Website: http://www.benjaminsmusic.com
9:30 – 10:30 a.m., Festival Stage: Anna Whitten Hall
BenJammin & the Jammin' Band will rock out with kids (infant to 6 years) while teaching about health, self-confidence, conflict resolution, and core subjects through interactive music. They use hand drums, guitar, ukulele, piano, drumsticks, stories, and a few puppets to teach children life skills through audience participation and song.

Monte Pride
Genre: Folk
Website: http://www.montepridemusic.com
10 – 11 a.m., Festival Stage: Stryker Theater Stage
Play-In Contest Solo Winner Monte Pride is a Michigan-born, Michigan-based singer-songwriter and fingerstyle guitarist whose songs recall the delicate vocals of Simon & Garfunkel, with guitarwork reminiscent of Nick Drake and The Tallest Man on Earth. Monte has supported Michigan favorites like Joshua Davis, Luke Winslow King, Breathe Owl Breathe, Gifts or Creatures, Escaping Pavement, and The Ragbirds, and has performed at Wheatland Music Festival, the Ten Pound Fiddle Concert Series, Earthwork Harvest Gathering, Buttermilk Jamboree, Holler Fest, and Pumpstock.

The Celeste Allison Trio
Genre: Contemporary Folk
Website: http://www.celesteallisontrio.com
11 a.m. – 12 p.m., Festival Stage: Museum Stage
Raised from the fervent, musical soil of Kalamazoo, The Celeste Allison Trio is an enigmatic collective that drums up a unique sonic sensation. Employing sophisticated harmonies and an improvisational aura, the trio wields its dynamic musicianship in a lush, acoustic manner. Subtle electronic trappings also play a part, floating around reflective, and at times humorous, lyrics. The Celeste Allison Trio is the Ensemble Winner from the Play-In Contest.

Schlitz Creek
Genre: Bluegrass
Website: http://www.schlitzcreek.com
11 a.m. – 12 p.m., Festival Stage: Anna Whitten Hall
Kalamazoo’s Schlitz Creek features what has become known as "Bluegrass With Some Bite." The group performs a unique variety of bluegrass music that defies classification as strictly traditional or progressive. Their repertoire includes standard bluegrass tunes as well as a collection of refreshing and unusual choices for a bluegrass band. Performing material from such bluegrass legends as the Dillards and Flatt & Scruggs, they also surprise and delight audiences with selections from the Monkees, Bob Seger, the Beatles, Marshall Tucker Band, Guns and Roses, and Cheap Trick.

Hawks and Owls
Genre: Country Blues, Bluegrass
Website: http://www.hawksandowls.com
12 – 1 p.m., Festival Stage: Stryker Theater Stage
Hawks and Owls string band, the acoustic evolution of rural American music, has been delighting audiences with their interpretation of traditional American old time music since the band was formed in 1997. Country blues, Appalachian fiddle tunes, ballads, and the songs of Stephen Foster, The Carter Family, Woody Guthrie, Jimmy Rodgers, and other greats are some of the selections presented for their audience’s enjoyment. Award-winning fiddler, mandolinist, and guitarist Bruce Ling, accompanied by world-class Appalachian-style rhythm guitarist Becca Ling, will share the stories and history of this culturally influential genre of American music.

Kalamazoo Mandolin and Guitar Orchestra
Genre: Classical
Website: http://www.kalmando.com
12:30 – 1:30 p.m., Festival Stage: Anna Whitten Hall Stage
The Kalamazoo Mandolin and Guitar Orchestra is a plucked-string ensemble of mandolins, mandolas, mandocellos, guitars, and bass. The KMGO was founded in 2003 to revive the mandolin orchestra tradition in Kalamazoo. The orchestra enjoys performing a wide variety of music, including classical, world-folk, ragtime, and traditional mandolin orchestra music.

Mark Sahlgren & The Fragile Egos
Genre: Americana, Folk
March 7, 1 – 2 p.m., Festival Stage: Museum Stage
The Fragile Egos is made up of some of the best and most knowledgeable and seasoned musical performers in the Midwest. Having their feet planted in Americana music and supplemented with tinges of rock and jazz, Mark and the Fragile Egos can sing and play music 'til the cows come home. Mark Sahlgren and Allen Bates have toured for many years, playing bluegrass, original, and old-time music in Sweetcorn for thousands of people, while Darcy Wilkin, Sarah Fuerst, and Michael Fuerst have done the same with The Corn Fed Girls, Knee Deep Shag, and Thunderbolt & Lightfoot. Mark Sahlgren and the Fragile Egos present some comedy tunes as well as some serious, thought-provoking songs in their presentation of music.

Deep Fried Pickle Project Jug Band
Genre: Family, Jug Band
Website: http://www.pickleproject.com
2 – 3 p.m., Festival Stage: Stryker Theater Stage
In 2002, a mysterious green iceberg was discovered by a band of unemployed pirates in Lake Michigan. Frozen inside were the Pickle Boys, cold solid in a chunk of sour brine. The Deep Fried Pickle Project was hoisted aboard, chiseled free, and re-animated by the ship’s crude pirate scientist chef using a combination of spirits and pickle juice. As the Deep Fried Pickle Project awoke from their icy slumber, they started singing and have never stopped. Where the Pickles came from and where they are going remains a mystery…

Samuel Nalangira
Genre: Folk, World Music
Website: samuelnalangira.com
2 – 3 p.m., Festival Stage: Anna Whitten Hall Stage
Samuel Nalangira is a multi-instrumentalist and a master at many traditional instruments, including the Adungu from northern Uganda, Akogo from Eastern Uganda, Endingidi, percussion, and Ngoni. He has also developed a unique approach and personal techniques on most of these instruments, and, in combination with soaring voice, his music carries a true identity of the sub-Saharan skies.

Out of Favor Boys
Genre: Contemporary Blues
Website: outoffavorboys.com
3 – 4 p.m., Festival Stage: Museum Stage
Featuring funky rhythms, searing guitar, and blazing saxophone lines, the Out of Favor Boys’ high-energy sets feature original songs and favorites from contemporary acts like Tommy Castro and Tab Benoit, as well as traditional favorites like Albert Collins and BB King.

Joel Mabus
Genre: Folk
Website: http://www.joelmabus.com
3:30 – 4:30 p.m., Festival Stage: Anna Whitten Hall
An award-winning folksinger, Joel Mabus defies any easy pigeonhole. By turns, he picks a mountain banjo to accompany an ancient ballad, sings a witty song about modern life, plays a sweet Irish melody on guitar, swings a hot jazz number, and then reaches deep for a soulful expression of values in a troubled world. He tops it all with a flatpicked fiddle tune or old ukulele song, all skillfully blended into a seamless flow. A mainstay on the folk circuit these past 40 years, Joel has 27 albums to his credit; the latest is Time & Truth.

An Dro
Genre: World Music
Website: http://www.andromusic.com
4 – 5 p.m., Festival Stage: Stryker Theater Stage
An Dro is an ensemble of eclectic instrumentalists who speak from the heart with uncommon synergy. Their music is a blend of traditional and original melodies from across the globe. An Dro takes you on an adventure that is both personal and universal. You'll hear traditional Irish melodies, medieval French songs, Breton dance tunes, Scandinavian refrains, Appalachian influences, Arabic rhythms, and African grooves all performed with joy and freshness. This is dance music, but it's also listening music. The band's original works have a feel that is both ancient and modern, with a dynamic range that takes you from crazy dance grooves to delicately orchestrated waltzes and blazing improvisational assaults.

Rev. Robert Jones
Genre: American Roots Music, Blues
Website: http://www.revrobertjones.com
5 – 6 p.m., Festival Stage: Museum Stage
Reverend Robert Jones, Sr., is an inspirational singer, songwriter, storyteller, and self-taught award-winning multi-instrumentalist. Using folk, blues, spirituals, and other American roots music, he champions the history, beauty, and power of our shared culture. A lifelong Detroiter, Rev. Jones has been performing professionally for nearly 30 years throughout the United States, Canada, and Europe. His deep love for traditional African American and American music is shared in live performances that interweave timeless stories with original and traditional songs. At the heart of his message is the belief that our cultural diversity tells a story that should celebrate, not just tolerate.

Museum 1st Floor:
(1) Donald Benson Luthier
(2) PaintedSongs
(3) Kazoo Books, LLC
(4) Local Spins
(5) Kalamazoo Sportswear
(6) Jonathan Marshall Guitars

Museum 2nd Floor:
(7) FE Tellier Guitars
(8) Bad A’s Guitars
(9) Friends of the Kalamazoo Public Library
(10) Echopark Guitars
(11) Great Lakes Acoustic Music Association
(12) Grand Rapids Guitar Workshop
(13) Kalamazoo Valley Blues Association
(14) Heritage Guitar & Harmony Guitar
(15) Rock Built
(16) W. Michael Siegel, Luthier
(17) Kalamazoo Guitar Co.
(18) Aaron’s Music Service
(19) Michigan Festival of Sacred Music
(20) Broughton Music & Art Center
(21) Bone Box Guitars

Anna Whitten Hall 1st Floor:
(22) Tugs Toys
(23) Wood Turnings
(24) Pieces of Jayde Soulful Adornment

Anna Whitten Hall 3rd Floor (Student Lounge):
(25) K'zoo Folk Life

(26) Introduction to Basic Guitar Skills with Bill Jones
Website: williamfrankjones.com
10 – 11 a.m., Anna Whitten Hall Room 304
Join Bill Jones for an Introduction to Basic Guitar Skills. This workshop will discuss basic anatomy of the guitar, how the guitar is tuned, the musical alphabet, how standard notation and tablature work, a basic warm up exercise, and more.

(27) Small Sounds Musical Petting Zoo with Paul Bauer
11 a.m. – 12 p.m., Anna Whitten Hall Room 305
Friends of all ages are invited to explore a myriad of sounds at the Small Sounds Musical Petting Zoo. Drums, synthesizers, and unique noisemakers from around the globe are a few of the instruments introduced during this hands-on, interactive workshop.

(28) Moving Beyond "G-C-D": Expanding Your Guitar Chords with Jay Gavan
11:30 a.m. – 12:30 p.m., Anna Whitten Hall Room 308
Bring your instrument and expand your guitar chords with Jay Gavan. This workshop will discuss the theory and technique required to move beyond typical first-position and power chords and into the world of jazz, manouche, and samba.

(29) Build Your Own Instrument with the Deep Fried Pickle Project Jug Band
Website: http://www.pickleproject.com
12:30 – 1:30 p.m., Anna Whitten Hall Room 306
Join the Deep Fried Pickle Project Jug Band for a special instrument building workshop. We'll explore the science of sound as we create simple Jug Band instruments that are easy to make and fun to play.

(30) Secrets of Swing Guitar with Joel Mabus
Website: http://www.joelmabus.com
1 – 2 p.m., Anna Whitten Hall Room 305
Join Joel Mabus and discover the Secrets of Swing Guitar. He’ll cover the most important basics of playing swing guitar. If you’ve been playing folk or bluegrass guitar and have been wanting to try swing, this workshop is for you.

(31) Blues Fingerpicking 101 with Rev. Robert Jones
Website: http://www.revrobertjones.com
2 – 3 p.m., Anna Whitten Hall Room 304
Join Rev. Robert Jones for Blues Fingerpicking 101. This class will concentrate on providing a solid introduction and foundation to the aspiring blues fingerpicker.

(32) Slow Jam Workshop with Bruce and Becca Ling
Website: http://www.hawksandowls.com
2:30 – 3:30 p.m., Anna Whitten Hall Room 309
Join Bruce and Becca Ling from Hawks and Owls string band for an hour of “in the round” sharing of songs and tunes.

(33) African String Instruments with Samuel Nalangira
Website: samuelnalangira.com
3:30 – 4:30 p.m., Anna Whitten Hall Room 307
Attendees to this workshop will have the opportunity to learn about traditional African instruments with Samuel Nalangira, from making and tuning them to playing simple chords.

(34) Ukulele Basics with Marion Koleski
4 – 5 p.m., Anna Whitten Hall Room 305
Join Marion Koleski for an introduction to the ukulele. She will discuss the history and anatomy of the ukulele, teach basic chords, and host a jam session towards the end of the workshop with the attendees. Bring a ukulele if you have one.

Pop-Up Sets:
(35) Carrie McFerrin
Genre: Country, Indie
Website: carriemcferrin.com
11:15 a.m., KVM Clock Tower, 2nd Floor
“Kalamazoo’s Sweetheart” Carrie McFerrin has been a staple in the Michigan music scene for almost a decade. She brings a fierce country twang with an indie twist that is sure to give you the warm fuzzies and kick you in the teeth at the same time.

(36) Matt Landon
Genre: Jazz
12:15 p.m., KVM Taxi Cab, 2nd Floor
Matt Landon is a passionate musician, educator, and accomplished jazz guitarist. Landon also enjoys singing and songwriting and has earned a reputation as an energetic and charismatic solo performer who can entertain any crowd.

(37) Susie Parr Trio
Genre: Jazz
Website: susieparrtrio.bandcamp.com
1:15 p.m., KVM Clock Tower, 2nd Floor
Breathtaking and mesmerizing, Susie Parr is a spellbinding performer with a powerhouse voice, along with bandmates John Campos (mandolin, violin) and Jay Gavan (guitar). This Trio weaves stories from songs both dark and light, old and new.

(38) James Spalink
Genre: Classic Guitar
2:15 p.m., KVM History Gallery (Sound Stage Exhibit) 2nd Floor
James Spalink will be playing Renaissance music on a handcrafted, 8-course Renaissance lute. His studies on classical guitar led to an interest in making and playing early musical instruments.

(39) Last Gasp Collective
Genre: Hip-Hop/Jazz
Website: http://www.lastgaspcollective.com
3:15 p.m., KVM Clock Tower, 2nd Floor
Jay Jackson, founder of Kalamazoo Hip-Hop/Jazz Collective, is a multifaceted artist. Working as a composer, vocalist, and instrumentalist, his music blends genres, styles, eras, and emotions into cohesive pieces of art.

(40) Uncle Kooky
Genre: Family
4:15 p.m., Children’s Landscape
Uncle Kooky is a beloved children’s singer-songwriter from Kalamazoo who will get you moving, grooving, singing, and laughing.

The Kalamazoo Valley Museum is operated by Kalamazoo Valley Community College and is governed by its Board of Trustees.

Media Contact Bill McElhone
Kalamazoo Valley Museum Director
269-373-7990, wgouldmcelh@kvcc.edu

Share article on social media or email:

View article via:

Pdf Print