Emily Schaad hosts this rollicking weekend for musicians and dancers of all levels. Enjoy fiddle, banjo, guitar, flatfooting, and singing classes, plus special one-off presentations, a staff concert, and a Saturday night square dance. Deepen your playing, build your repertoire, make new friends, and jam until the wee hours.
This year’s phenomenal staff includes Justin Robinson, Rachel Eddy, Jake Blount, Becky Hill, Emily Eagen, and Joebass DeJarnette!
Open to all folks, all ages, all orientations. Come join the OT Rollick family at Ashokan!
“The staff are amazing – so welcoming and accessible. The other musicians are also so supportive and friendly. It’s wonderful how quickly a sense of community is created.”
“Lovely people who clearly are committed to inclusion, great conversations, and safe space for creative risk.”
“Emily broke her tunes down so clearly!! loved it!”
“You’ll never know how much this weekend meant musically and socially. Thank you!”
The above prices cover meals and tuition. Lodging options vary in price and may be selected during registration. Camping is free.
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May 21, 2023
Come enjoy rollicking old-time jam session with staff and campers from the Old Time Rollick weekend. Come early to enjoy the tasty lunch buffet!
EMILY SCHAAD is known for a complex and powerful fiddling style, and has taken first place in numerous stringband and fiddle contests, including the Appalachian Stringband Music Festival in Clifftop, WV. Emily came to the music of the southern Appalachians as a classical violist, teacher, and conductor, and once the archaic and driving sound of the fiddle and banjo found her, she never looked back.
JAKE BLOUNT is an award-winning musician and scholar based in Providence, RI. He is half of the internationally touring duo Tui, a 2020 recipient of the Steve Martin Banjo Prize, and a two-time winner of the Appalachian String Band Music Festival (better known as Clifftop). Blount, a specialist in the early folk music of Black Americans, is a skilled performer of spirituals, blues and string band repertoire. Blount has performed at the Kennedy Center, the Newport Folk Festival, and numerous other venues across and beyond the United States. He has presented his scholarly work at museums and universities including the Smithsonian Institution, Berklee College of Music and Yale University. His writing has appeared in Paste Magazine, No Depression, and NPR, and he has been a guest on Radiolab and Soundcheck. His first solo album, Spider Tales, debuted at #2 on the Billboard Bluegrass Chart, received positive coverage from NPR, Rolling Stone and Billboard among others, and earned five out of five stars as The Guardian’s Folk Album of the Month. Spider Tales later appeared on “Best of 2020” lists from NPR, Bandcamp, The New Yorker, the Guardian, and elsewhere. His latest album, The New Faith, is slated for release as part of Smithsonian Folkways Recordings’ African American Legacy Series on September 23, 2022.
RACHEL EDDY is a native of West Virginia who grew up in a musical family steeped in the traditions of Appalachian music and dance. Now based in Washington, D.C., they are known throughout the world as both a dynamic, emotionally powerful performer and an engaging, thoughtful teacher. Rachel’s soulful singing and multi-instrumental finesse—including fiddle, banjo, guitar, and mandolin—may be heard on numerous solo and collaborative recordings as well as at dances and jam sessions, where Rachel is dedicated to fostering community and sharing a love of music with others. Rachel’s performances, workshops, and festival appearances have featured both a creative range as a soloist and an energetic engagement with fellow musicians part of various ensembles, including the Ken and Brad Kolodner Quartet, the Early Mays, and a European tour with Uncle Earl. Rachel has shared a passion for music teaching at the Alabama Folk School, Augusta Heritage Center, Common Ground, Kauffman Kamp, Nashville Fiddle and Banjo Camp, Sore Fingers, and many others. While living in Sweden from 2008-14, Rachel invigorated the Swedish old-time scene and inspired dozens of people to take up Appalachian music and dance. Always up for new artistic challenges, Rachel collaborated on the soundscape for, and performed in, the Indiana Repertory Theatre’s 2019 performance of Amber Waves. A passionate teacher, Rachel regularly teaches private lessons as well as workshops. They are committed to ensuring an inclusive classroom, in which all students can succeed and experience the joy of developing their own musical talents—whether as beginners or long-time players. Indeed, Rachel’s students frequently remark on their teacher’s ability to lead them through a well-thought-out musical journey that leaves them more deeply connected with their instruments and inner creativity. Rachel has four full-length albums: The Morgantown Rounders (2006); Hand on the Plough (solo, 2008); Chilly Winds (with Kristian Herner, 2010); and Nothin’ But Corn(solo, 2014). Among other recent projects, Rachel produced and performed on Roger Netherton’s eponymous debut album (2018), and was featured on Ken and Brad Kolodner’s The Swift House (2017). As part of the trio The Early Mays, Rachel has also recorded Chase the Sun (2017). Rachel has a variety of other projects underway for release in 2019 and beyond.
JUSTIN ROBINSON is a Grammy award-winning musician and vocalist, cultural preservationist, and historic foodways expert. Robinson has used his wide range of interests and talents to preserve North Carolina’s African American history and culture, connecting people to the past and to the world around them. Robinson grew up in Gastonia, North Carolina. Influenced by the musical tastes of his grandparents, he grew to love a diversity of musical styles. He learned to play the violin as a child; however, he did not enjoy playing classical music and stopped playing around the age of 13. It wasn’t until he was inspired by the old-time blues jams he attended as a student at UNC-Chapel Hill that he decided to approach the violin again—this time, as a fiddler. He played with the Carolina Chocolate Drops, thereby working to preserve traditional forms of music, to introduce new generations to musical legends like Joe Thompson, and to remind audiences that the fiddle was, historically, an African American instrument. He wrote the song “Kissin’ and Cussin’” for the group’s Grammy award winning album, Genuine Negro Jig, and continued to write music after leaving the group in 2011, releasing the album Bones for Tinder as Justin Robinson and the Mary Annettes in 2012. In addition to preserving African American musical traditions, Robinson is known for his work as a culinary historian. He explores the ways that foods of the African Diaspora shaped and influenced Southern foodways, and reveals how foods like rice, black-eyed peas, and okra can be traced directly to the African continent. Robinson is also committed to helping African Americans rekindle their ties to the land. He is a founding member of the Earthseed Land Cooperative, a collective in northern Durham “made up of farmers, entrepreneurs, professionals, and teachers who are currently engaged in creating alternative models for sustainability, equity, and cooperation within communities of color.” Justin Robinson holds a BA in Linguistics from UNC-Chapel Hill and an MS in Forestry and Environmental Science from NC State University. He is a member of the Conservation Trust for North Carolina Board of Directors.
JOE “JOEBASS” DEJARNETTE is originally from Madison, Virginia Joebass discovered old-time music through 78 rpm records which he began collecting at age 6. Eventually he traveled to Brooklyn, NY, and spent a decade playing music fulltime throughout the US and internationally, concluding with over two dozen shows on the 2009 Bob Dylan/Willie Nelson tour. He now lives back in Virginia where he runs Studio 808A, a “band and breakfast” recording studio that specializes in traditional music. He has taught in the JAM program (Junior Appalachian Musicians), Music Lab, the Carnegie Hall Neighborhood concert series as well as festivals around the world. When he’s not in the studio, you might catch him playing with with the Blue Ridge Broadcasters, The Bipeds, The Bucking Mules, The New Smokey Valley Boys, Jesse and Emily or Vevlo Eel.
BECKY HILL is a sought after percussive dancer, Appalachian square dance caller, choreographer, and educator. Becky has worked with Footworks Percussive Dance Ensemble, Rhythm in Shoes, Good Foot Dance Company, and studied with an array of percussive dance luminaries.
Her choreography has been featured at Wheatland Music Festival, Jacob’s Pillow, and the Kennedy Center among others. She performs regularly with the T-Mart Rounders, Jesse Milnes, Chao Tian, Rui Fu, and Ben Nelson. She was a 2018 OneBeat Fellow, a 2021 Artist-in-Residence at Strathmore, a 2022 Olive’s Porch Artist-in-Residence at the John C.Campbell Folk School, and earned her MFA in Dance at University of Maryland College Park in 2022.
Becky has done extensive research into Appalachian Dance alongside folklorist Gerry Milnes, where they co-created a documentary “Reel ‘Em Boys, Reel ‘Em” on West Virginia dance traditions and co-founded the Mountain Dance Trail of Augusta Heritage Center. As an avid organizer and teacher, Becky’s work is deeply rooted in the connections between music and community. She believes there is always more to learn and is dedicated to creative innovative choreography tethered to traditional music and dance.
EMILY EAGEN is native of Cincinnati, OH, Emily lives and works in NYC as a performer, songwriter, and teacher, where she divides her time between folk music, early music, and new music. Emily has worked with artists such as Meredith Monk, Annie Dorsen, and Bang on a Can, and is a teaching artist for Carnegie Hall, leading Lullaby songwriting workshops for parents and families, hosting the video series “Sing with Carnegie Hall,” and writing music for various programs, including co-writing Nooma, an opera for babies ages 0-3. Emily teaches vocal harmony and vocal technique at the Jalopy Music Theater and School of Music, and is a professional whistler and two-time International Whistling Champion. Emily was a founding member of NYC’s old time/blues/bluegrass band The Whistling Wolves, and currently can be heard with the vocal improvisation ensemble Moving Star, the close-harmony trio Up At Dawn, and on her forthcoming album of songs for the young and young at heart.
A’YEN TRAN is a guitarist, vocalist and lover of the old-time string band music. She sings and plays guitar in the group Ginny’s Kitchen. A’yen finds inspiration in the vibrant tradition of women in American string band and traditional music. Alice Gerrard, Hazel Dickens, The Coon Creek Girls, Ginny Hawker, and Val Mindel are among her greatest inspirations.
A’yen was raised in New York where she grew into an artist and community organizer. She spent years building boats with the artist Swoon and brought singers together on her ‘Boat for Singing Together’ project in New York City. Her background in activism and intersectional feminism permeate her mission in the old time community: to honor the roots of old time music while helping the community become more inclusive. She serves on the Advisory Board of the Jalopy Theatre in NY and the Youth Traditional Song Weekend board.
JAY UNGAR AND MOLLY MASON are masters of music and storytelling who generously share their lives and their music with audiences. There are so many moments and strands to savor in the course of an evening of their music.
Jay’s fiddling is brimming with playfulness, drama, soulfulness and technical verve, as he explores the many musical styles and idioms that he has internalized and made his own. Molly’s total mastery and inventiveness on piano and guitar is always spot-on, as she supports the tunes and follows the flow of the melody. Her rich and expressive vocals along with the resonant strains of Jay’s violin, reveal the deep emotions that flow in the duos veins.
Millions were entranced by the music they did for Ken Burns’ PBS documentary The Civil War. Their performance of the series’ signature tune, Jay’s haunting composition, Ashokan Farewell, earned the couple international acclaim. The soundtrack won a Grammy and Ashokan Farewell was nominated for an Emmy. This simple, but powerful melody was originally inspired by the week-long Ashokan Music & Dance Camps that Jay & Molly run for adults and families at The Ashokan Center in the Catskill Mountains. People attend the camps to become better fiddlers, guitarists, mandolin players, percussionists, dancers, dance callers and instructors—and in doing so they become links in the chain that helps pass our folk heritage from the people who came before us, to those who will follow.
This protocol meets or exceeds current CDC and NY State Department of Health guidelines and is subject to revision based on changing conditions and changes in those guidelines. We’ll notify registered campers if there are any significant changes before camp begins. We trust our caring community to find the right balance of caution and fun within these parameters, to make safe decisions, and to treat fellow campers with respect.
Everyone is required to test negative for COVID-19 in the 24 hours before arrival.
If you test positive, do not attend.
If you have COVID symptoms, do not attend regardless of test results.
If you come in close contact with someone COVID positive within 6 days of the start of the event, do not attend regardless of your test results.
If you’ve recently recovered from COVID and have been symptom free for 5 or more days without the use of fever-reducers, you may attend.
All refund requests due to COVID exposure, or COVID-related concerns will be honored.
Longhouse bunk rooms will be capped at 1/2 occupancy.
Overall camp attendance will be limited to provide ample space for distancing.
The Ashokan Center will provide onsite rapid testing upon request or as needed.
Anyone who tests positive or develops symptoms consistent with COVID will be asked to leave the event and will be entitled to a refund.
Masks are recommended while gathering indoors (except when eating or performing.) N-95 masks can be provided on request.
Whole room exhaust fans in the Performance Hall & Dining Hall will draw a constant stream of fresh air.
Daily cleaning includes disinfectant for all door handles, tables, and any frequently touched surfaces.
You may pay in full or hold your place with a deposit of $200 per person. If making a deposit, full payment is due 4 weeks before camp begins. If you register within 4 weeks of camp full payment is required.
To cancel your camp registration, email email@example.com
• We retain $50 per person for cancellations requested up to 4 weeks before camp begins, and for COVID-related cancellations made at any date.
• We retain $200 per person between 4 and 2 weeks before camp.
• We retain the full registration amount within 2 weeks of camp.
You may choose to pay up front or pay a deposit and balance. Balance payment is due 4 weeks before the event.
Registration includes all activities and meals. Lodging is optional and camping is free.
Children under 5 attend for free. Campers under 18 must be accompanied by a parent or guardian.
All meals are included. You may indicate your dietary restrictions when registering. We make every effort to include a range of allergen-free dishes and to inform diners of meal ingredients.
The Ashokan Center is licensed to serve beer and wine in Esopus Lodge (the main building). The bar is generally open from late afternoon to early evening. Sorry, by law, guests are prohibited from bringing their own alcoholic beverages into this licensed building.
LONGHOUSE BUNKS: Rooms hold up to 12 people (50% capacity) and are designated women, men, or all gender. Place your belongings on a top or bottom bunk after you check in to claim it. Pillows are available, please bring your own blankets, sheets, pillowcases, and towels. There are a small number of light blankets for those bunkhouse residents who are unable to bring one of their own. If you will need us to provide one, please let us know well in advance.
PRIVATE ROOMS: There are a limited number of private rooms that must be reserved in advance at extra charge. Pillows are available, please bring your own sheets, pillowcases, and towels. There are light quilts in each private room.
CAMPSITES: Camping is available with access to bathrooms and outdoor showers. Please park by your campsite only if you plan to leave your car in place for the duration of the camp.
If you’re lodging with us please remember to bring a blanket and linens (or sleeping bag), towel, toiletries, soap, flashlight, earplugs (for light sleepers). There are light quilts in each private room and we have a small number of light blankets for bunkhouse residents who can’t bring one of their own. Let us know well in advance if you’ll need one.
Flashlight, recording device, camera (or maybe those are all your phone!)
Comfortable informal clothing for wet and dry weather. Some may also bring dressy, wild or fun clothing as well but that is up to you! There’s no laundry on site so bring enough clothes for the camp.
Please, no pets or drop-in guests.
Your Name c/o Ashokan Music & Dance
477 Beaverkill Rd,
Olivebridge, NY 12461
Outgoing mail leaves each weekday at 4pm.
Music & Dance Camp Phone (845) 657-8333 x 3
Cell phone reception is available but spotty. Calls may be dropped but texts are reliably received.
High speed Wi-Fi is available in all buildings.
Ashokan Center, 477 Beaverkill Rd, Olivebridge, NY 12461
Take NY State Thruway (1-87) to Kingston exit #19.
From traffic circle take Route 28 West (toward Pine Hill).
In 12 miles (shortly after Mobil & Citgo) turn left onto Reservoir Rd.
Cross the Ashokan Reservoir, turn left at the Tee.
Head down the hill, pass the first left (Rt 28A East) and merge onto 28A West.
Take next left onto Beaverkill Rd.
Follow Beaverkill for about one mile, then turn right into the Ashokan Center driveway and follow the signs.
AIRPORT Albany, NY (ALB) is the closest major airport (about 1.5 hours away). Public transportation is available from the airport to the Kingston bus station, where you can take a taxi to Ashokan. Or contact us at least one month before your program begins for a list of people driving from the Albany area who may be able to give you a ride.
If there are no camp spots or private rooms available above, you may add your name to this waitlist. If space opens up we will contact you.
The Ashokan Center builds community through shared experiences in nature, history, music and art. We have hosted traditional Music & Dance Camps at our 385 acre nature preserve for over 40 years. In 2020 we learned how to host them online and in 2021 we began to reimagine how to gather in person once again.
Come join the Ashokan family to celebrate, learn, connect, deepen your music, make new friends, and brighten your day. Our events are open to all folks, all ages and all orientations.