MLAG 2017 Featured Performers
Joel Mabus - “Joel Mabus is a free-ranging fretboard genius and funny, deep songwriter whose warm voice, sly humor, and musicianship sweep audiences along for the ride.“
Charles Whitmer - Charles Whitmer taught music in the Texas public schools from 1982 to 2016, spending 31 of those years teaching middle school band and four years as a general elementary music teacher. He also has taught music for the Department of Defense Dependents Schools at the US Army’s Camp Zama in Japan.
Charles has a Bachelor of Music Degree in Education (1980) and a Master of Curriculum & Instruction (music education) Degree (1989) both from the University of Houston. He is a member of the Texas Music Educators Association and the Association of Texas Small School Bands.
Charles was also featured as a solo soprano saxophonist on the album “Psalms, Hymns, and Spiritual Songs,” produced in 2009 by Dennis Mease of The Woodlands, Texas.
He currently has 612 traditional songs in print arranged for autoharp, for which he is known internationally.
In 2008 he was inducted into the Autoharp Hall of Fame. Charles is a current staff member of The Autoharp Quarterly as a sheet music editor and was also a long time staff member for i.a.d. Publications, a former international quarterly magazine for autoharp enthusiasts.
His use of traditional folk music in his band classes has been featured at two music education conferences: The 4th Conference on Narrative Inquiry in Music Education at the Sibelius Academy in Helsinki, FINLAND as well as at the New Directions in Music Education conference at Michigan State University in East Lansing, MICHIGAN. Both presentations were the results of the studies of Charle's use of traditional music teaching band in Texas by Canadian music education professors Dr. Kari K. Veblen of The University of Western Ontario and Dr. Janice Waldron of The University of Windsor, both located in Ontario, CANADA.
He also is the author/arranger of a major book publication for concert bands, 52 Hymns and Chorales for Winds, published by Wingert-Jones Publications that consists of a conductor’s score, piano book and 20 different parts books.
Charles' workshops outside the public schools are primarily teaching autoharp classes. He also teaches workshops in Sacred Harp shape note singing, an American folk hymn tradition.
Places where he has taught autoharp workshops and/or performed (as well as shape note folk hymn singings) include West Virginia, Arkansas, Pennsylvania, Oregon, California, Oklahoma, Wisconsin, Florida, Texas, Illinois, Kansas, Louisiana, New Mexico, Tennessee, Washington DC and Japan.
Jo Ann Smith - Prepare to be transfixed by the ethereal sounds of a sweetly tuned diatonic autoharp in the hands of a true master. Performing live and in studio, Jo Ann Smith proves beyond doubt that the parlor instrument of old is capable of incredibly beautiful music. In her experienced hands, the autoharp becomes a vehicle for emotion and musical expression that has charmed audiences and earned her legions of followers world-wide. Her YouTube videos featuring autoharp have a combined viewership of nearly 1
million views to date
Red Mountain with Bill Martin - Red Mountain (aka Red Mountain White Trash) has been playing old-time string band music for dances and concerts for over three decades. Throughout that thirty years they have collected tunes and songs unique to Alabama and the South from older musicians. Many of those tunes, like “Step Around Johnny,” have spread from their recordings and are now heard around the country and world.
Wayne Long & Arthetta Faye - Wayne Long and Arthetta Faye are contemporary performers with eclectic roots deep in Americana. Their melodic style is the result of a magical combination comprised of very different influences, from the guitar finger-picking of John Hurt, Merle Travis and Chet Atkins, to the high lonesome sounds of bluegrass and the innovative autoharp of Maybelle Carter. Wayne is a fluent instrumentalist on both modern flat-top and vintage resophonic guitars, and Arthetta’s autoharp and vocals provide a surprisingly effective counterpoint, for a beautiful, intoxicating, and unexpected blend of traditions. Whether they are playing traditional folk or modern country, country blues or original compositions, their music is sheer listening pleasure at its finest. Wayne and Arthetta’s travels have taken them from the Rockies to the Blue Ridge. Their unique style has carried them to a wide range of venues: from the front porch of John Hurt’s home in Avalon, Mississippi , Buddy Guy’s Chicago Legends club, the Mountain Laurel Autoharp Gathering in Newport, Pennsylvania, to concert halls and festivals all across the land. What kind of music do they play? Well, anything they like! Expect to hear a musical medley of styles. You will hear traditional tunes spiced with a unique twist and they will always treat fans to their original songs.
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