Come Play With Us!
The Charlotte Folk Society offers MANY opportunities to sharpen your playing skills, your songwriting skills, and even learn a new instrument. Come be part of it!
The Celtic Sessions at the Charlotte Folk Society are informal gatherings of local musicians focusing on Celtic Tunes played in the session style. This is a repertoire session, and together we learn a selection of common Jigs, Hornpipes, Reels, and Waltzes from Ireland, Scotland, and Cape Breton. Our goal is to learn to play these tunes in the various styles that have been influenced by Celtic Traditions.
Questions? Feel free to contact us here.
Sessions are held in the homes of players
The Slow Celtic Session at the Charlotte Folk Society is now happening on the 3rd Sunday of the month, in the community room at the Health and Rehabilitation Center in the Aldersgate Retirement Community, in Charlotte, NC.
This session is an offshoot of the CFS Regular Celtic Repertoire Session, whose page and tune list can be found on the Celtic Sessions page.
The Goal of the Slow Jam is to have a nurturing environment where those new to jamming can get their feet wet. We’ve selected a “core” group of common Old Time tunes that you can count on being played. If you become familiar with these you’ll be in good shape for an hour of casual playing before each monthly Meeting/Concert of the Charlotte Folk Society. The Slow Jam group also meets after the concert.
Slow Jam at the Great Aunt Stella Center
following a Friday Evening concert
Monthly Song Circle
Every song circle is different, but the ones we have after the Charlotte Folk Society's monthly Gatherings go something like this:
The concerts generally run from 7:30 till about 9:00. The Song Circle starts right after the concert, in the back hall -- from the sanctuary/auditorium, go straight toward the back of the building and you'll see us. We start with a handful of people and everyone grabs a chair off the stack as they arrive after having refreshments or sampling the other jams.
We go around the circle and take turns deciding which song to sing next. It's perfectly OK to pass, and just let the next person pick. Most songs are singalongs, but there's generally at least one solo a night, and sometimes more. There's no pattern or theme; we'll sing some gospel, then a Peter, Paul & Mary hit, then a cowboy ballad, even the occasional showtune.
We learned quite early that relying on our memories for lyrics was going to make for a lot of short songs, so the Folk Society invested in a set of songbooks for us. Rise Up Singing is the one we use; it doesn't have everything (not much holiday music, for instance) but if you have a singalong song to share that isn't in it, just bring copies to pass around. Often someone will choose a song from the book that not everyone knows, but if they start us off, we always give it the old college try and we generally pick it up.
Our guitar stalwart is Mark Clemens, who has that oldtime folksinger style going on. We never know who else will join in on guitar, banjo, fiddle, pennywhistle, but we welcome them all and once in a while we'll do a verse a cappella if the spirit moves us.
We always wind things up with "Goodnight, Irene," around 10 p.m. so we can stack the chairs and make our way out by the time they have to close up the building.
Often a newcomer will say nervously while taking a seat, "I'm not much of a singer." We always answer, "Wait and see. It doesn't matter!" That's partly because there are so many voices and guitars for a shy singer to hide behind. But it's mainly because the song circle is really about the joy of singing, not about talent or technique. Come join us! There's always room for more joy.
Our Songwriter's Workshop follows the monthly gatherings.
It is for beginners, as well as advanced songwriters wanting to share their music with a group that shares their passion for songwriting. We will meet in the second floor hallway near the elevators after the main performance.
Anyone can bring a song to share. The number of people who will be able to share will depend on when we get started (after everyone has cleared the entrance of the church) and whether they want their song to be critiqued. If you want your song critiqued, bring copies of your lyrics for everyone to read. Our first gathering will also seek input from the attendees regarding what they would like the songwriting workshop to accomplish.
The main goal of the CFS Songwriter's Workshop is to help carry on the tradition of music and songwriting within our community. This is open to all ages. The elder songwriters can share their experiences and stories from days gone by through their music as the younger talents bring new awareness and perspective to the time-honored tradition of songwriting. We will all learn from each other. And after all, isn't that what music is all about?