Brennan has played guitar since the age of 13, and made his way through college and beyond playing in various Funk, Britpop, and Grateful Dead-style jam bands. He discovered the worlds of old-time and bluegrass music in 2018 when a friend invited him to a raucous and joyful backyard hootenanny. After the night was over, Brennan asked, “Where can I learn how to play like this?” In response, several hootenanniers in attendance mentioned the Frank Hamilton School. One musician suggested learning something other than guitar, and offered to let Brennan try a mandolin, which was a joy to play from the very beginning. While taking classes with Mick Kinney and Max Godfrey at FHS, Brennan fell in love with traditional American music and learned to play the mandolin, clawhammer banjo, bass and fiddle. Brennan now plays mandolin and fiddle in two local bluegrass bands, What Showed Up and The Hot Dill Pickers, and plays occasionally at churches and chapel services across the Atlanta area. He loves playing old-time fiddle tunes, bluegrass breaks, and ragtime. Brennan is a dedicated teacher, having worked as an educator since 2001, and enjoys most of all the excitement of a classroom filled with learning. If you can’t find him at FHS, he’s probably across the street at Columbia Theological Seminary, where he serves as Associate Professor of Old Testament.
Clark Brown, a resident of Atlanta, has been playing mandolin and guitar for almost fifty years. He has played in rock bands, country music groups, and at church. For 14 years he played guitar and did arrangements for the Atlanta Mandolin Orchestra. He also plays mandolin in the duo MandoCordion, and he’s been performing solo at various venues around Atlanta since 2010. He developed his solo style while taking master classes from mandolinists Simon Mayor, Evan Marshall, Carlo Aonzo, and guitarist Rene Izquierdo.
Josh grew up strumming the guitar but caught the banjo bug a few years ago and hasn’t looked back. In that time, he’s performed at festivals, restaurants, worship services, and more random gigs than you can shake a stick at. Josh spent several years as a member of gospel bluegrass band Hicks with Picks; more recently he’s been making music with his beautiful wife Jessica as Porcupine Heart. Josh loves the community of making music with others, and looks forward to sharing that joy with you!
Glen hails from Wichita, Ks where he studied with the great Craig Owens and other accomplished composers and teachers at Wichita State University. He started teaching in 2004 and quickly found joy in helping others find their musical voice. Whether he’s playing in his band, The Pour Downs, or helping someone else get it together, Glen is grateful to share a musical experience with you.
George Eckard is a Decatur resident who has lived in the Atlanta area for more than 50 years. When his parents bought a little red ukulele for him, much to their surprise, he began to play it, they began to acquire more instruments for him and they offered encouragement for his musical endeavors. His big brother took him to see Bob Dylan at the Municipal Auditorium in downtown Atlanta for his 15th birthday. That same year Miss Harbin, his ninth grade English teacher who looked a little like Greta Garbo, told him that he had the heart of a poet. Somewhere in this soil the seeds of songwriting were planted. He started songwriting in college and has had a passion for it ever since. He has played at local venues solo, with the Unusual Suspects and, currently, with the 4 Man String Band. Today, he is completing work on his second collection of songs called Love the Land.
Shoshana Edelberg has been playing flute since she was a young teenager (and that was quite a while ago now!) when her mother offered her a choice between flute, clarinet or violin lessons. She liked the pretty, shiny, silver one—and it proved to be a good choice, since she soon began playing saxophone, Irish whistles and various European and Middle Eastern end-blown flutes as well. She spent many summers at Idyllwild School of Music and the Arts in California, and attended Berklee College of Music after graduating high school. She then knocked around playing “casuals” and fronting some Celtic-flavored rock bands. Shoshana currently focuses on teaching, as she is embarking on yet another adult career change. She emphasizes traditional and contemporary flute technique along with Berklee-style ear training and theory that can be applied to any style of music.
Eryk Fisher began his musical journey with a harmonica and a songbook in the early 80’s. It didn’t take long to tire of commercial radio and discover local stations playing a variety of music that was culturally diverse, and to step into Atlanta’s blues scene. After playing at some open jams, he began performing in bands; regular stage performances coupled with mentoring from seasoned musicians formed the core foundation of his music education. Putting in countless hours of listening, playing, reading, writing, teaching, recording and wood-shedding expanded and continues to add to his musical knowledge.
After an early fascination with music making, beginning with a plastic recorder in fourth grade, a guitar during the Beatles era, and a largely unsuccessful stab at the autoharp (too many strings and a lack of electronic tuners), Vikki’s musical journey began in earnest when she found an Appalachian dulcimer in a Sears Surplus outlet in Houston, Texas. Priced at $12.00, the affordability of this treasure was likely based on the fact that no one in Texas, let alone Sears, knew what it was. Despite a broken scroll, missing strings, and a missing fret, the instrument was finally made playable and sparked a lifelong journey into traditional folk music.
Vikki helped found the first Dulcimer club in Houston, and later moved to East Tennessee where she played with the dulcimer trio Mountain Laurel. Along the way she picked up various other folk instruments, but her love of the dulcimer remained. After moving to Georgia, she became a member of the North Georgia Foothills Dulcimer Association, and has played with the Red Top Porch Pickers, presenting period music at living history events sponsored by the Georgia State Parks. Her dulcimer collection currently includes several Appalachian lap dulcimers, a hammered dulcimer, a banjo dulcimer, and a bowed dulcimer.
Max’s first love is traditional American music. He has led workshops on worksongs and other call-and-response songs at colleges, farms, and community centers all over the northeast, including Sheepscot General, Whitefield ME; Williams College; Full Plate Farm Collective, Ithaca NY; Common Ground Farm, Beacon NY; Williamstown Rural Lands Foundation, Williamstown MA; SUNY New Paltz; and Billings Forge Community Works, Hartford CT. He has also taught worksongs and old-time fiddle at the Folk Music Society of New York Spring weekend 2014.
Max’s vision is to give his students the tools they need to play by ear, play with others, improvise, and teach themselves. He makes it fun and easy for people learn together by using a call-and-response teaching method that develops a strong connection between ear, voice, and instrument. Then it’s natural to learn new music and join in with any group, and to play or sing well, too!
Max regularly performs in Atlanta at Freedom Farmers Market at the Carter Center, Grant Park Farmers Market, East Atlanta Farmers Market, Root City Pop-up Markets, and The Pullman in Kirkwood. Max’s essays on worksongs have been published in Taproot (Issue 13) and on Bennett Konesni’s worksongs.org.
Facebook pages for Max’s current projects:
- Max and Maggie
- Max Godfrey (Solo performance, lessons, writing, and workshops)
- The New Millennium Jelly Rollers
- Sourwood Honey
Max teaches Old-time American fiddle styles, clawhammer banjo and country-blues and folk guitar privately. You can contact him about lessons at email@example.com, or 404 218 4707.
Not that long ago, American folk songs were like copper or gold. Though you might discover a local musical gem crackling over the airwaves on late night radio, you had to mine the hills and valleys of this country to find the bulk of authentic American folk music. The general listening public had never heard the real stuff, the music made by real Americans, music with real American origins.
That is until people like Frank Hamilton came along. Like Alan Lomax, Peter Seeger, Jack Elliott and Guy Carawan, a man Frank hitchhiked clear across the lower 48 to meet, the young Frank Hamilton combed the country in the early 1950’s, finding and learning songs that remained unpretentious, songs that grew uncontaminated in pockets of expertise, music played by community folk with regional idiosyncrasies, music with deep roots and meaningful lyrics.
Director, American Racket Cloggers
Director, Sautee Stomp Clogging Weekend
Andy Howard is a sixth generation Floridian currently living in Atlanta. He earned a Masters of Arts in American Dance Studies from Florida State University, authoring a thesis on the history and social origins of American Team Clogging. He also earned a Masters of Arts in International Business from the University of Florida. He is a leader in the clogging community, a regular featured instructor at C.L.O.G. national conventions and regional events throughout North America. His troupe, American Racket, has performed throughout the U.S. and in South Korea, Brazil, Canada and Costa Rica. American Racket has shared stages with Ted Koppel, Wayne Brady, Sister Hazel, Sugar Ray, Dane Cook and others. Andy is an active performer, judge, instructor and conference presenter. His professional career focuses on marketing, art direction and public relations for companies including Orlando Opera Company, Orlando Repertory Theatre, the University of Florida College of the Arts, the University of Florida Department of Recreational Sports and (currently) the Georgia Tech Research Corporation in Atlanta. He has taught credit-earning dance courses in tap, clogging and world dance at Florida State University and Santa Fe College, worked as an entertainer at Walt Disney World Resort and has been a regular instructor for the University of Florida’s Dance for Life program which involves researching the impact of movement and dance on people with Parkinson’s Disease and their caregivers. Andy enjoys traveling, performing and outdoor photography, including underwater photography documenting Florida’s extensive network of pristine fresh-water springs. He holds a Group Exercise certification from the Aerobics and Fitness Association of America (AFAA). He was inducted into the All American Clogging Team in 2002, the Clogging Team of the Decade in 2010, and the Florida Clogging Hall of Fame in 2015.
Evan Kinney grew up in a family of old time music in his native Kennesaw, Georgia. He learned from his father at an early age and has continued to hone his skills by studying the eccentric playing of 20’s recording artists such as John Dilleshaw, The Skillet Lickers and Earl Johnson. Evan has performed with bands such as The Griddle Lickers, Georgia Crackers and Dixieland Squirrel Skinners and has taught and performed traditional music at The Blue Ridge Old Time Week in Mars Hill, John C. Campbell, The Alabama Folk School, Festival of American Fiddle Tunes and The Brooklyn Folk Fest.
Mick Kinney enjoys fiddling a variety of styles including Appalachian, Cajun, Celtic, Blues and Swing. A professional musician since 1978, he has played the 1982 World Fair, McCabe’s, House of Blues, Bluebird Cafe, Rendez vous des Cajuns, and NPR’s Mountain Stage. Mick has performed with John Hartford, Victoria Williams, Michelle Malone, Atlanta blues man Frank Edwards, and 1920s recording artist Stranger Malone. Recent collaborations as a folklorist have been with the Smithsonian New Harmonies exhibit, Georgia Humanities Council, Carpetbag Theater, Dust to Digital Records and Northwest Georgia Textile Heritage Trail. Currently, Mick appears often with Elise Witt, jazz clarinetist Dub Hudson, and the Kinney family old time dance band “The HickHoppers.” He has been an instructor at Swannanoa Gathering, John C. Campbell Folk School, Mars Hill College, Alabama Folk School, and Festival of American Fiddle Tunes. His class will focus on traditional fiddle technique and musical concepts such as scales, modes, and harmony.
Richard has been playing guitar since elementary school, inspired by his Uncle Irwin who was one of the early students and, later, an instructor at the Old Town School of Folk Music in Chicago. During the summer of 1971, Richard studied at the OTSFM under Ray Tate for an intense summer guitar program. He became a song leader at summer camps and for many youth group activities. Richard returned to playing regularly after a long hiatus in 2016 when he began classes at the Frank Hamilton School. He has since caught the performing bug after joining many of the school outings and the busking class performances at various events.
After spending much time flubbing the words, singing out of tune, missing the beat, changing tempo, and hitting wrong notes and chords, Richard wants to share the joy of finally nailing the performance of a song. When it all comes together—with everyone playing in unison, interacting, sharing parts, and pouring their hearts into a song, it’s an amazing feeling. His class will focus on all the preparation that goes into performing together and hopefully will include some opportunities to play and sing for others.
John put down guitar and took up penny whistle as a young lad in the 1970s after realizing there were just too many Jimmy Page, Ace Frehley and Doc Watson wannabes to compete with. After meeting the great Chicago uilleann piper Joe Shannon, he added the pipes and Irish wooden flute to his instrumental arsenal and set off on a lifelong musical journey. In the late ’70s/early ’80s John was keen to destroy a few good tunes with fellow beginners at whatever establishment or street corner would be fool enough to have them.
But by the mid ’80s he found his way and started The Buddy O’Reilly Band, for many years the big cheese of the Atlanta Irish/folk music scene. “The Buddies” have produced 3 albums and a whole lot of great music and fun!
John has since gone on to a solo career and participate in many bands and collaborations. His latest venture is with the music and dance trio, Ah Surely. And he’s been involved with productions big and small. He created and produces Atlanta’s annual Celtic Christmas concert, celebrating 27 years in 2018.
He’s a leader at The Marlay House Trad Tuesday night in Decatur – 10 years of trad music!
John’s been teaching Irish music workshops and privately for about half of his 58 years.
And he discovered, though he couldn’t quite match Jimi Hendrix’s guitar on uilleann pipes, he could at least come close to his soul!
Maura grew up in a family inclined to musical talents, in a city inclined to supporting the arts. Piano, violin, and singing were her hobbies all through school. She majored in music at Emory with a vocal concentration. The years after college brought a family of five, all of whom participated in music of one kind or another. During that time, Maura’s love of the violin became a hobby, something she dabbled at periodically. But once she found the Frank Hamilton School, her love returned to a passion, and the school inspired her to switch from violin to fiddle, a change that has kept her playing almost every day, more for the enjoyment of playing than to perfect the music for performance. Maura retired from teaching high school and found herself returning to teaching, only this time, to share her love of fiddle playing for anyone who believes it’s too hard. She finds her motivation in the joy the students receive in learning to play.
Barbara grew up in Atlanta in a musical family from Copperhill, TN, a copper mining town on the GA/TN line. Her fiddling grandfather, John B. (“Uncle Bert”) Panter played for house dances, barn raisings, and other community gatherings, often alongside Fiddlin’ John Carson. After surviving a mine cave-in where his brother was killed, Barbara’s grandfather declared that no son of his would work in the mines. Thus the whole family including Barbara’s grandparents, parents, and all but two of her father’s siblings moved to Atlanta in the 1940s after WWII, providing a large extended family. Barbara’s father, John Panter Jr., one of 7 brothers and 2 sisters, was a fine singer with a beautiful tenor voice and a keen sense of harmony. Some of Barbara’s earliest memories are of falling to sleep at family gatherings listening to gospel singing with beautiful harmonies. At the age of 3 Barbara began playing piano and singing and strumming her little ukulele and sang her 1st solo in church at the age of 4. Her grandfather gave her his fiddle when she was 8 years old and told her he expected her to become a fiddler, further setting her on course for a lifetime of music. Barbara has played with several bands and performed throughout the southeast, in the northeast, southwest, British Isles, and even Serbia. She played and sang for over 40 years with her late husband, Whit Connah, in the band, Hurt Dog, that began in the 70s as an acoustic hillbilly, honky tonk, old time, Cajun band that evolved into Hair of the Dog with drums, and electric guitar, bass, and pedal steel; and continues with her son and daughter-in-law John and Audrey Ferguson, among others. Barbara is currently a member of The Rosin Sisters with Ann Whitley and Jan Smith, three fiddling “sisters” who love playing fiddle tunes and singing early country songs, with close attention to harmony! Barbara loves teaching and facilitating others to find their way on fiddle or guitar, and delights in guiding harmony singing in a supportive fun environment. Barbara, with the Rosin Sisters, has had considerable experience leading harmony workshops at Blue Ridge Old Time Music Week at Mars Hill, NC; at Bear on the Square Festival in Dahlonega, GA, and the Dulcimer and Old Time Festival in Palestine, TX.
Jeff has been playing music since taking up the trumpet in middle school. Highlights of his four years in the high school marching band include a stint on tuba and meeting his wife. Jeff also began playing guitar in high school. When Jeff’s children were younger, neighbor Frank Hamilton recommended the ukulele for them. The kids didn’t learn the instrument, but Jeff did. The ukulele led to banjo and then a return to guitar. Over the years, Jeff has spent countless hours sharing music with school-aged children and adult peers.
Jeff approaches music lessons as a collaboration between teacher and student. By nurturing a rapport with his students, he can shape his classes to satisfy the individual tastes and goals of everyone in the group. In his class you’ll develop not just as an instrumentalist, but as a musician; learning by ear will give you the both the ability to play the songs you’ll learn from Jeff, but the capacity to play along with songs you don’t know!