All of our instructors have prior experience in well-known workshop settings, and are skilled, patient, and caring teachers. A typical day’s schedule will be as follows:
9am - 12pm Group Classroom Instruction
12pm - 1:30pm Lunch
1:30pm - 2:15pm Individual Instruction
2:15pm - 3pm Slow Jams
2:15pm - 3pm Staff Showcase of Styles
3pm - 4pm Masters Program
2017 Allegheny Echoes Masters
Dan Wilson’s granddaddy played the banjo at square dances and social gatherings while growing up near Wytheville, Va. Dan’s main influences have been Earl Scruggs, Don Reno, Ralph Stanley, Doug Dillard, Billy Bryant and a multitude of other pickers. Dan has played in a number of bands including the Bing Brothers, Ernie Maynard and the Southland Express, Smith and Company Bluegrass, Richard Hefner and Instant Grass, The Dog Run Boys, Bill Duncan and the WV Boys, Back Country, and SliteLee Touch'd). He has taught banjo at the Music Emporium in Pittsburg, Pa and given informal lessons over the years to a number of pickers.
Richard Hefner, lives in Renick, WV, but was born and raised in Mill Point, Pocahontas County, WV. His traditional bluegrass group, the Black Mountain Bluegrass Boys, has played across WV and the East Coast since 1968. The band’s high finish in Nashville’s SPBGMA contest solidified Richard’s standing as one of the best traditional bluegrass banjo players in the field. A three-time winner at Vandalia Gathering, he has won the WV and Maryland state championships. His repertoire includes tunes from Flatt & Scruggs, Don Reno, The Stanley Brothers, and Del McCoury
Bobby Taylor, a fourth-generation West Virginia fiddler, has played fiddle for more than 30 years, learning from his Kanawha County neighbors Clark Kessinger and Mike Humphries. He also was influenced by Doc Roberts, The Skillet Lickers, and Sam Jarvis. He has performed with the Morris Brothers Band, The Kanawha Tradition, and many other groups, and can be heard on his solo tape, “Bobby Taylor: Kanawha Tradition”. He has served as a judge for the Galax Old-Time Fiddler’s Convention. Bobby toured Ireland and Australia in 2007, and appeared at the National Folk Festival in Australia in March of 2008.
Amanda Smith was born in the small town of Davisville, West Virginia, and grew up singing in church choirs and participating in talent contests at local fairs. “I always sang, my mom and dad said, even before I can remember,” she says. She started playing guitar in high school to accompany herself, and soon discovered bluegrass music through female artists such as Rhonda Vincent and Alison Krauss.
Junior Spencer, from the Frankford area of Greenbrier County, WV, will contribute his experience gained from over 50 years of playing with some of the greats of WV music, including banjo and guitar master Charlie Loudermilk and the band Mud Hole Control. Junior has placed in the Senior Fiddle at the Appalachian String Band Festival and many other prestigious competitions, and Mud Hole Control is well known throughout the State.
Marie Manilla, delights in exploring and exploding Appalachian stereotypes in her fiction. A graduate of the Iowa Writers' Workshop, her novel The Patron Saint of Ugly received the Weatherford Award. Shrapnel won the Fred Bonnie Award for Best First Novel. Stories in her collection, Still Life with Plums, first appeared in The Chicago Tribune, Mississippi Review, Prairie Schooner, and other journals. Marie teaches in the Low-Residency MFA Program at West Virginia Wesleyan College. She lives in Huntington, WV, her hometown. Learn more at www.mariemanilla.com.