Traditional Adirondack Music

A Conversation About Traditional Adirondack Music

On Saturday, May 23, 2009, TAUNY hosted an informal conversation and panel discussion called A Conversation about Traditional Adirondack Music at The TAUNY Center in Canton. Adirondack North Country music scholars, collectors, musicians and enthusiasts shared their experiences playing and collecting regional music and their thoughts on its definitions, influences and role in local life.

Participants included Robert D. Bethke, a folklorist from Venice, Florida, and author of Adirondack Voices: Woodsmen and Woods Lore; Jim Kimball, an ethnomusicologist at SUNY Geneseo; George Ward, Rexford, a folklorist and performer of traditional music; Lynn Koch, a music teacher at Cincinnatus Central School; Dave Ruch, Buffalo and Piercefield, teaching artist and historian of New York State music; Colleen Cleveland, a traditional ballad singer from Brant Lake, and Don Woodcock, Rensselaer Falls, New York State champion fiddler. Varick Chittenden moderated the panel.

The panel discussion was part of a series of events on the weekend of May 22-23, 2009, to celebrate the launch of this website--“W is for the Woods”: Traditional Adirondack Music & Music-Making.  It was made possible with generous support from the New York Council for the Humanities.

Part I   (1:01:52) 
  • An introduction to the general themes of the panel discussion
  • Introductions of panelists with remarks from each about personal interests in traditional music and how each came to it
  • Discussion of American regional music and Adirondack musical traditions
  • Influences on music region: land, occupations, ethnicity, family, mass media and popular culture
Part II   (1:16:50)
  • Discussion of distinctiveness of Adirondack North Country music
  • Descriptions of song making, singing and fiddling styles and influences on them
  • History and significance of collecting local music
  • Passing on of traditional music and knowledge, informally and in schools