Banjo 1, Beginning Banjo: Steven Casto was raised and resides in Pocahontas County WV where he learned banjo from the likes of Charlie Loudermilk, Junior Spencer and Tim Bing. His driving style is influenced by the Bing Brothers and the Hammons Family. A student at Glenville State College, he currently plays with the old time band, Mudhole Control.
Banjo 2, Intermediate: Tim Bing originally from Barboursville WV, is widely recognized as one of the best old time banjo players anywhere. A nominee for the first class of inductees into the West Virginia Music Hall of Fame, Tim learned his craft first-hand from such legendary West Virginia greats as Sherman Hammons and Frank George. His driving yet intricate drop-thumb style has led to many banjo contest blue ribbons. He is a member of the Bing Brothers Band, and has performed across the U.S., Canada, Ireland Australia and Scotland. He can be heard on “Banjo Legacy” and “Just For The Sake Of It”.
Banjo 3, Advance: Bob Shank, from Morgantown, is WV’s finest hammered dulcimer player. As a member of Hickory Wind, Curmudgeon, The Percolators and the Big Otter Orchestra, Bob has played in over 30 states, toured Europe, played The Kennedy Center and has shared the stage with Bill Monroe, Earl Scruggs, Ralph Stanley, Jimmy Martin, John Hartford and the Dirt Band. Bob has made several recordings with his bands. He has taught privately for years and has been an instructor at Allegheny Echoes and Augusta.
Fiddle 1 Beginning: Danny Arthur is a resident of the Barboursville area of Cabell County, West Virginia. Already well known as an established backup and lead guitar player and singer for the “Bing Brothers Band”, Danny has come into his own as an outstanding old time fiddler. He has taught and performed at Appalshop, Augusta Heritage Workshops, the Vandalia Gathering, the Wheatland Music Festival, and in Ireland and Scotland.
Fiddle 2, Intermediate: John Blisard is from Elkview, WV, and is well known on the old time music scene for his versatility and strong interpretations of the oldtime WV style. A Vandalia Gathering and WV Folk Festival champion, he has performed with the Bing Brothers Band and The Morris Brothers, among others. He is equally adept on guitar, Celtic harp, bagpipes, fiddle, and banjo. “Protect the Innocent” is a recording of his music. John has performed at the Kennedy Center, across the U.S., Germany, Scotland, and Ireland. This class will focus on WV tunes in standard, triple D and cross tunings.
Fiddle 3 Intermediate: Henry Barnes is an Ohio native living in Columbus who has been playing the fiddle for 21 years. After starting with the Suzuki method, he was pushed by his father towards country music but he was captured by a love for Old-Time music after meeting West Virginia fiddler Bobby Taylor. Since then Henry has won contests in Ohio, Indiana, Kentucky, West Virginia, and Virginia. He recently won the Ed Haley Memorial Contest and the Elmer Rich Memorial Contest, placed 2nd in the Traditional Division at the Grand Masters Fiddle Championship, and placed in the top 5 at the Clifftop and Galax contests. Henry teaches lessons and workshops in central Ohio that are focused around personal connections and regional styles in Ohio, West Virginia and Kentucky.
Fiddle 4, Intermediate/Advanced: .Adrian Shepherd-Powell, a native of Crimora, VA, has won contests at fiddler’s conventions all over the southeast. His fiddle style is straight forward with a hard drivin’ bow. Adrian's has an extensive repertoire of fiddle tunes focusing on tunes of Southwest Virginia and Eastern Kentucky. Adrian has played with many old time bands including the Pea Ridge Ramblers, Matt Kinman’s Old Time Serenaders, and the Cabin Creek Boys.
Fiddle 5, Intermediate/ Advanced: Jake Krack, from Nicut, West Virginia, started playing the fiddle at the age of six. He has spent over fifteen years studying and apprenticing with West Virginia master old-time fiddlers Melvin Wine, Lester McCumbers, and Bobby Taylor. He has performed and taught workshops at venues such as the Smithsonian Folklife Festival, Chicago Folk Festival, Merlefest, and the Detroit Festival of the Arts. Jake has won fiddle contests at Vandalia, Appalachian String Band Festival, Galax Old-time Fiddlers Convention, Mt. Airy Fiddlers Convention, Ed Haley fiddle contest, and the Henry Reed Fiddlers Gathering. He currently is the fiddler with The Bing Brothers
Guitar 1, Raw Beginning: Pete Kosky, grew up learning traditional music in the Kanawha Valley. He began playing guitar at age 11. His early musical influences were country singers Marty Robbins, Johnny Horton, Johnny Cash, Gordon Lightfoot, and especially WV’s David Morris. Pete’s interest in traditional ballads naturally led to songwriting, and he won 5th place at the 1st Annual Mountain Stage New Song Festival. He has taught workshops at the Appalachian String Band Music Festival and songwriting workshops for Allegheny Echoes. Pete has won several awards over the years. This class will happily progress very slowly.
Guitar 2, Backup for Kids: Bob Lieving, from Huntington WV, started playing bluegrass in the early 70’s after hearing it live for the first time. During those bluegrass years Bob played with several local bands, including Slight-Lee-Touched with Dan Wilson, and other gigs including playing with banjo picker Bobby Maynard. About the year 2000, he fell in love with the “old time” music and has been playing it ever since. He currently plays guitar with the Bing Brothers Band. Bob says there is nothing that compares to the joy of playing the hard driving melodic old tunes and wants to share that joy with all the Allegheny Echoes students.
Guitar-Back-up: Patrick Shields was an early baby boomer. Born in Illinois in 1942, he was raised in Georgia. Pat moved to Berkeley Springs, West Virginia in 1964 and to a farm in Keyser, W.Va. in 1973. He became a Musician in Residence for the West Virginia Arts and Humanities Council in 1976 in Braxton County, and in Mineral County in 1978. In this capacity he was fortunate to play with West Virginia greats Melvin Wine, Sloan Staggs, Andy Boarman, Woody Simmons, Wilson Douglas, Phoebe Parsons and many others. His early influences John and Robert Lancaster, Mabel Carter, Gene Meade, Riley Puckett, and Rodney Dillard gave him the inspiration to stay strictly with backup guitar work. Pat’s approach to the guitar in old-time music is simple: fill the holes, add the bass, use a varied chord pattern, use appropriate runs, don’t be afraid to experiment, try not to play the tune the same way twice, and put the power in it.
Intermediate: Billy Hefner was born and raised in Pocahontas County, West Virginia. He is a multitalented master on flat-picking and finger picking guitar and mandolin. He also is well known for his lead and harmony vocals in the gospel field. Along with his brother Richard and uncle “Dude”, he founded the world renowned Black Mountain Bluegrass Boys in the late ‘60’s and can be heard on their early recordings.
Guitar 5: Robin Kessinger, from St. Albans, West Virginia, was the National Flatpicking Champion on guitar in 1985 and 1988. Robin also won the Best Overall Performer at Galax, Virginia. He is the son of mandolin great Bob Kessinger and the greatnephew of fiddle legend Clark Kessinger. His adaptations of fiddle tunes have amazed audiences across the U.S. and in Ireland. “Contest Favorites” with Wayne Henderson, “Star of County Down” with Steve Kaufman, and “Breakfast of Champions” with Robert Shafer are among his audio offerings. Robin’s class will concentrate on developing and refining complex and intricate techniques and styles.
Mandolin, All Levels: Scott Rucker, an Eastern Kentucky native, has been playing and performing string band music with a variety of people for almost two decades. He has performed at Appalshop's Seedtime on the Cumberland festival, the Jewel City Jamboree, the Morehead Old Time Festival, and several other old time music festivals. Scott's mandolin playing will be featured on several tracks on the upcoming June Appal recording “Root Hog or Die” by Nikos Pappas. He studies adapting Portsmouth OH area tunes, as played by Jimmy Wheeler and Buddy Thomas, to the mandolin.
Vocal Instruction, All Levels: Patt Plunkett and Val Mindel - Patt Plunkett first heard traditional music as played by her grandfather Carl Voorhees, an old-time fiddler from Western Illinois. A professional choral music director with a Masters degree in vocal performance, Pat also calls square dances and plays piano accompaniment for some of the finest fiddlers in the Midwest. Val Mindel is a longtime musician and workshop leader, specializing in the close, buzzy harmony that makes American old-time, bluegrass and country harmony so compelling. She and Patt Plunkett have taught the singing class at Allegheny Echoes for many years. Val also performs in various combinations, including with California-based Any Old Time and with daughter and old-time country musician Emily Miller. For more info, visit www.valandemmy.com. Patt and Val will provide a program based on traditional secular and gospel old-time songs, small ensemble work, harmony and improvement of singing technique.
Tim Corbett is an experienced bass player from Lesage, WV who has played with several bands throughout the region including Buck Carroll & Breakin' New Ground, Bobby Maynard & Breakdown, Timberline, Union Ridge, and, for the past 10 years, The Bing Brothers Band. In 2007 Tim hit the professional circuit and played Bass for Blue Moon Rising and Larry Cordle and Lonesome Standard Time, and was featured on the Lonesome Standard Time's Live XM Satellite Radio recording from their show at the Old Town School of Folk in Chicago, IL in August 2006. Tim is originally from The Catskill Mountains of upstate New York, where he was taught by fellow musicians Walt & Keith Edwards, as well as his father. Tim is a knowledgeable and energetic musician, and loves to produce, write, and arrange Bluegrass music.