2022 Schedule

Greenwood Furnace Folk Gathering is full of great workshops, concerts, singing and dancing. The 2022 schedule will be announced in the near future.


This is the 2021 Schedule for Your Review
Check back for the 2022 schedule


2021 Schedule

Greenwood Furnace Folk Gathering is full of great workshops, concerts, singing and dancing. Below is the current schedule.*


A convenient printable workshop grid is available here.


Friday, September 10, 2021


Friday 3:00 pm Pre-Event Intensive Classes (separate registration required)

A pre-event intensive is a great way to get a jump-start on the weekend. Separate registration is required for these classes.


Choice of:

Start Strong

Start your weekend off with an exciting pre-event intensive class held just before the rest of the festival gets going.


All classes begin at 3 pm on Friday, September 10, 2021 and end at 5 pm.


Class size is limited and a separate registration fee is required.


2021 Intensive Classes


TLC for Beginners with Jay Best & Holly Foy

In this special workshop designed for beginners, we'll take a gentle approach to how to be musicians, with emphasis on skills that will help you get more out of the weekend. We'll particularly look at how to learn tunes by ear, how to jam, and how to play well with other musicians.

For all instruments, beginner to advanced beginner level.


Problem Solving for Guitar with Henry Koretzky

This workshop will cover the many possibilities of the guitar: chords, melody, rhythm, slides, hammer-ons, tone, picking and fretting hand technique, and much more.  Come prepared with questions about whatever you're curious about and/or struggling with on guitar.

For intermediate and advanced level guitarists.


Fiddle Techniques with Simple Gifts

We'll look at right arm and left hand techniques for getting a good tone, varying your sound, and playing ornaments in various styles. You'll learn bowing patterns that will give your fiddling a more fiddly sound, and we'll work on playing chords and rhythm to accompany other instruments.

For intermediate and advanced level fiddlers.


Old Time Banjo with Brett Ridgeway

We'll review the frailing stroke, explore drop-thumb styles, with special focus on double and triple thumbing. Learn to accompany traditional dance tunes and songs and pick out melodies and solos.

For all levels beyond beginner.


All Things Mandolin with Russ Rentler

We'll cover left hand exercises to improve speed and flexibility; basic right hand techniques including pick holding and tremolo; and using double stops and drones to flesh out your playing. If there's time and interest, we'll look into alternate tunings and how to play a blues progression.

For all levels beyond beginner.


Autoharp Beyond the Basics with Larry Mutti

In this autoharp intensive we’ll explore options for both strumming and chording hand technique, as well as choosing and adapting tunes to suit your autoharp and your voice. Participants should come with a good familiarity with the chord bar layout on their own 'harp, and with a favorite tune in mind that we might play together.

For all levels beyond beginner.


Singing with Gayla & Gene Mills

Singing is the most natural thing in the world, but no matter how well you sing, you can improve with attention and practice. We’ll discuss how to listen, breathe, sing in tune, craft your phrasing, use your voices as a rhythm instrument, find the right songs, and care for your voice. And we’ll sing!

For all levels.


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Friday 4:00 pm Jamming –  Fiddling Thomsons

This will be a fun, relaxed jam for all levels, also a good way to meet other attendees before things get going.


7:00 pm Staff Concert

You'll meet and hear all of the faculty.


After the Concert

Beginners' Jam - Simple Gifts

Instrumental Jam - Brett Ridgeway & Laura Alexander

Singing - Cathy Petrissans & Jay Best


Saturday, September 11, 2021


8:00 to 8:30 am Breakfast

Meals are provided for those who pre-paid. If you've brought your own food, you're encouraged to bring it to the food area so you can sit with the group. Students and instructors sit together at meals, and mealtime tends to be a prime time for socializing.


8:30 am Greetings & Introduction



9:00 to 10:00 am

Try a Ukulele - Holly Foy

Discover why these little instruments have captured the heart of people everywhere. It's so much fun and easy to do. Learn a few chords and songs. The session is targeted to total beginners, and instruments will be available for you to use.


Understanding Chords, Key & Scales - Ryan Thomson

We’ll cover the basics of music theory that will help you understand how folk music is put together. We’ll define building blocks like scales, chords and keys and then see how they can be combined to express a wide variety of music.


Harmony Singing - Gayla & Gene Mills

For some people, singing harmony comes as naturally as breathing. This workshop is for the rest of us! We’ll learn how to work out harmony lines and how to blend two voices into one, with attention to phrasing, pronunciation, and dynamics.


Beginners' Jam - Brett Ridgeway

This will be a very slow-paced jam, appropriate for beginners and those who haven't jammed before.

For all instruments.


Mixolydian Tunes - Henry Koretzky & Laura Alexander

Mixo-WHAT???? Mixolydian is a mode that's based on a major scale but has one note different, giving these tunes an exotic sound. And don't worry, you don't need to understand the theory to learn the tunes.

For all instruments, all levels beyond beginner.


Old Time Tunes - Russ Rentler & Brennish Thomson

Learn some cool tunes from the old time repertoire. For all instruments, all levels beyond beginner


10:15 to 11:15 am

Try an Mountain Dulcimer – Brett Ridgeway & Russ Rentler

The Appalachain mountain dulcimer is a highly under-rated instrument and one of the few instruments that originated in America. It is considered one of the easiest instruments to learn (if you can count to seven, you can be playing tunes immediately!); yet, it is intricate enough to take years to master. It can be strummed, flatpicked, fingerpicked and used in folk music, irish/celtic, classical, rock, or any genre of music! Plus, its just plain fun.
Instruments will be provided.


Meet the Pump Organ - Paul Fagley

Come see, hear, and hear about the park’s historic pump organ from the Park Historian, and get a chance to try playing it.


Kitty Wells Songs - Cathy Petrissans

Kitty Wells broke down a barrier to women in country music with her 1952 hit recording, “It wasn’t God Who Made Honky Tonk Angels.” This song was considered controversial at the time, was banned by radio stations and the Grand Ole Opry, and yet became the first song by a female singer to hit #1 on the country charts. Her chart-topping hits continued until the mid-1960s, paving the way for and inspiring a long list of female country singers. To celebrate and remember Kitty’s contributions, let’s play and sing some of her songs. Instruments are welcome; a capo is recommended. Chords and lyrics will be provided.


How to Jam - Gayla Mills

Folk song circles are one style of group play. But what about bluegrass or old-time jams? This workshop will teach you the basics of ways to prepare, how to play with others, ways to keep up, and how to enjoy jams more.

For anyone new to instrumental-focused jams, all instruments.


Irish Tunes - Brennish Thomson

Brennish will teach two of his favorite Irish tunes: "Maud Millers" & "Roddy McDonald's Fancy." Brennish says, "Both of these lovely compositions I find myself playing often these days in the Boston Celtic scene, with Maud Millers holding its own as a classic session tune, and Roddy McDonald's Fancy as a slow and groovy emotive melody to dig into." Sheet music with the basic melodies/chords will be provided on request, and Brennish will have recordings available via email after the class.

For all instruments, all levels beyond beginner.


Faking It - Henry Koretzky

There are plenty of situations where we need to look, sound, and act like we know exactly what we're doing musically but we're actually flying by the seat of our pants. Learn the fine art of faking it!

For all instruments, intermediate-advanced level.


11:30 am Group Photo
Meet at the furnace. Bring your instrument and a smile! If it's raining, we'll postpone until Sunday right before lunch.


12:00 to 12:45 pm


1:15 to 2:15 pm

Honoring Pennsylvania Heritage Musician Jim Knepp – Simple Gifts

An important initiative of the festival is to examine the musical traditions of Pennsylvania–to gain a better understanding of what Pennsylvania music is and to preserve and perpetuate this musical heritage. Each year we identify a musician with a unique musical background and perspective, invite them to the festival so that all can learn from them, and honor them as a Pennsylvania Heritage Musician. This year, we honor Clearfield County-based guitarist Jim Knepp.


Instrumental Jam - Henry Koretzky & Laura Alexander

An easy-going jam where we'll play a variety of tunes–anything goes!


Singing Jam - Larry Mutti & Cathy Petrissans

This will be a relaxed, fun time of singing old favorites and perhaps some new favorites as well.

For all voices and instruments.


Hiking - Ginny Mutti

What an incredibly beautiful park this is! Meet at the visitor center for a hike that will help you get to know it better.


2:30 to 3:30 pm

Rhythm for Beginners - Ryan & Brennish Thomson

You’ll learn some basic percussion skills and try them out on a variety of fun and easy percussion instruments, including spoons, bones, limberjack, monkey pods and more.


Songwriting - Van Wagner

Try your hand at putting words and melodies together. Van will share insights about how to write songs


Basque Songs & Tunes - Cathy Petrissans

Come learn about the Basque culture and language while Basque-ing in music with Cathy Petrissans, who is the daughter of Basque immigrants. We will play and sing one Basque tune covered by Madonna, another often performed by Joan Baez, a third that is approximately 600 years old, and the fourth Basque song has Scottish roots. Some sheet music, chords and words will be provided. Instruments are welcome.


Easy Contradance Tunes - Jay Best

Using tunes from the Greenwood Contradance Set List, we'll focus on putting together a medley of easy to play (and remember) contradance tunes that may also find their way into your local jam. We'll work by ear with sheet music available if needed.

For all instruments, advanced beginner level.


How to Play Swing - Henry Koretzky

Learn some tips and tricks for how to play swing, including improvisation, working from chords, variations on the melody, and more. No music reading is required, however a lead sheet with chords and melody will be supplied.


Jamming with PA Heritage Musician Jim Knepp – Simple Gifts

A fun jam featuring Pennsylvania Heritage Musician Jim Knepp. This will be mostly jamming, but also some chatting and hearing more of the Jim's stories.


3:45 to 4:45 pm

Try an Autoharp – Larry Mutti

What other instrument can you cradle in your arms and strum next to your ear? Autoharp is a wonderful, versatile and not too difficult instrument, so come give it a try! Instruments will be provided.


How to Make a CD – Gene Mills

Learn what’s involved in producing your own CD. We’ll focus on presenting the best version of your music: preparing, recording, editing, mixing, mastering, and working with session musicians and engineers. We’ll also touch on jacket design, production, and marketing.


Story Songs about Pennsylvania - Van Wagner

Learn about Pennsylvania and its people by singing about it! Van has been collecting and writing songs about Pennsylvania and Pennsylvanians for almost 30 years. You'll experience songs about Native Americans, loggers, coal miners, ridge runners, and more. Lyrics and chords will be provided.


Learn to Play by Ear - Brett Ridgeway

"Does anyone have the music for..." (cringe) FREE YOURSELF and your dependency of reading music, standard notation or tab to learn a tune! Using traditional Celtic techniques, virtually anyone can learn to play any instrument by ear, they just don't know it, or know how to do it, and are often surprised at their ability to do so! Noodling and diddling, also called jigging, lilting, and dowdling, are excellent tools in learning to play any instrument. We'll use simple ear training exercises, then play a simple scale, and by the end of this workshop, you'll be picking out tunes by ear! Whether you read music or not, learning to play by ear is a helpful skill and yes, it can be learned in this workshop.
For all instruments and levels.


Contradance Band Practice – Jay Best, Holly Foy, Laura Alexander

We’ll look over the music that the open band will play at the evening dance. Music and chords will be provided. For all instruments, intermediate/advanced level.
Notes: If you miss this session, it’s still ok to play for the dance. If contradancing is deemed unsafe due to covid, we'll still hold this workshop so you can learn the tunes.


Mixed Styles Jam - Ryan Thomson

Celtic, old time, Cajun, country, singing, instrumental, etc. – any style you want to play is welcome!
For all instruments, all levels beyond beginner.


5:15 to 6:00 pm Dinner


7:00 pm Concert:

Simple Gifts & Van Wagner


After the Concert

Contradance Open Band– Jay Best, Laura Alexander

We will not be having the contradance, but the contradance band will still play. You'll be welcome to dance on your own, but there will be no group dancing.


Jam and Sing (during the dance)– Van Wagner

We'll sing together in the amazing acoustics of the Greenwood Furnace church. Bring suggestions of songs. Instruments are welcome too.


Sunday, September 12, 2021


8:00 to 8:30 am Breakfast


9:00 to 10:00 am

Try a Hammer Dulcimer – Russ Rentler & Holly Foy

Hammer dulcimer is a fantastic instrument that is fairly easy to play, and it sounds pretty good from your first (ok, maybe your second) try. Several hammer dulcimers will be provided, and you’ll get a first lesson on the very basics of playing it.


Overcoming the Fear - Brett Ridgeway

Afraid to play in public? Terrified to Jam? Does the thought pf perform in front of people make your heart pound and hands shake? Brett says, "I am the poster child of fear in public performance. The shakes, nausea, nerves…I get it. But I learned how to break the debilitating, paralyzing grip of fear and I guarantee that if you apply these simple principles and ideas, you can too!"


Hymn Singing – Jay Best

Hymns and Spirituals, both old and new, will be the order of the day for this workshop. Bring your voice and some of your favorite hymns and we'll all lead this workshop together. Bring your instrument if you play. Song sheets with chords will be provided.
This workshop is free and open to the public.


Easy Irish Tunes - Ryan Thomson

We'll learn a few easy-to-play Irish tunes.
For all instruments, advanced beginner level.


French Canadian Tunes - Brennish Thomson & Laura Alexander

Bienvenue! Come learn a couple cheery traditional Quebecois tunes: We'll first focus on the notes, then round-out the class with some stylistic ideas and thoughts on backup. Learning by ear is suggested, but sheet music and chords will be provided.
For all instruments, all levels beyond beginner.


Great Sounding Guitar - Gene Mills

Learn what makes guitar-playing sound great, from the set-up of the instrument to timing, tone, dynamics, and fluidity. We’ll look at incorporating these things into your practice sessions.
For all levels of guitar players.


10:15 to 11:15 am

Try a Mandolin – Henry Koretzky & Russ Rentler

Learn the very basics of playing mandolin. We'll have a few available for you to borrow during the workshop, or bring your own.


How to Age Well with Music - Gayla Mills

We all hit snags, mentally and physically. Learn how to adapt to aging hands and brains with new ways to learn and play your instrument, techniques for preventing injury, and new goals to inspire you.
For all levels.


Rise Up Singing – Larry Mutti

Working from the songbook Rise Up Singing, we'll sing whatever songs you pick! Bring your copy of Rise Up Singing if you have one, and we'll have extras available.


Hearing Chord Changes - Brett Ridgeway

Learn to hear and identify common chords and chord changes and to understand where and when they occur. This skill that will help you during jams and when learning new tunes.
For all instruments, advanced beginner level.


Pennsylvania Tunes - Simple Gifts

Learn a few tunes that were collected in Pennsylvania in the 1920's. Sheet music and chords will be provided.
For all instruments, all levels beyond beginner.


Cross-Tuned Fiddle - Jay Best

Cross-tuning a fiddle refers to tuning to something other than the standard GDAE, and cross-tuning is very common in southern Appalachian music. Come and experience the mind and music expanding joy of cross-tuning a fiddle! Unleash the power of 2 octaves and double-stops that are rich, deep and easy. We'll be using GDGD tuning for the workshop and will help you retune at the beginning of the workshop. No fiddle will be harmed in the process!


11:30 am to 12:30 pm

Try a Melodica - Cathy Petrissans.

Melodica is an easy, light-weight, inexpensive instrument played by blowing air through a small keyboard while fingering the notes. In this workshop you'll learn how to tune, hold, and play the melodica. We will cover the pros and cons of playing this increasingly popular instrument. And of course we’ll try some songs.


Becoming a Musician - Gayla Mills

What to get more from music? We’ll focus on how to choose an instrument, set goals, practice, play with and learn from others, stay motivated, and enjoy music for life.
For beginners to advanced beginners.


John Prine Songs - Henry Koretzky

John Prine, a two-time Grammy winner and one of America's best-loved songwriters, recently passed away from Covid. In this session, we will honor his contributions by singing some of his songs. Lyrics and chords will be provided.
All instruments are welcome, though the focus will be on singing.


Easy Cajun Tunes - Ryan Thomson

We'll look at a few fun and easy tunes in the Cajun style, learning both melody and harmony parts. We'll work by ear, with music provided if needed.


Sightreading Jam - Laura Alexander

Has it been awhile since you learned new tunes out of a book? Let's have a sight-reading party! We'll pick tunes out of Portland Book 1 and noodle through them together. Bring the book if you have it, but extras will be available.


Mandolin Melody - Karen Hirshon

The focus, rather than being on tunes, will be on right and left hand techniques to use while playing melodies, with special focus on accenting and syncopation.
For mandolin players beyond beginner.


12:45 to 1:15 pm Lunch


1:30 pm

Meet & Jam with the Folkies- Simple Gifts with Jerry Zolten & Folk Friends

A group of friends that met as Penn State students in the 1960s and 1970s, forming the Penn State Folk Music Club, are still friends now in the 2020s! They call themselves the Folkies, and every two years they meet near Penn State (some coming from as far away as California) for the Folkie Reunion. Karen and Linda of Simple Gifts have been honored to be invited to some of the reunions and have loved the music-making and seeing long-time friendships. It just happens that the next Folkie Reunion starts the day after Greenwood Furnace Folk Gathering ends, and so we've convinced some of them to come to the area early so that you can get to meet them! In this special 2-hour session (but feel free to leave early if you need to), you'll learn about friendship, folk music, and history of the 1960s and 1970s, and we'll all get to jam with the Folkies!


From left in Hub Lawn tree: Terry Beard, Pete Kessler, Jerry Zolten, Saul Brody and Pete Schwimmer.


Act 48 credits issued through the Intermediate Unit 11.


* Schedule subject to change





Simple Gifts








Two woman, lots of instruments, with the sound of the world in their hearts.


2022 Faculty TBD


Henry Koretzky



Contact us: (814) 643-6220 • info@folkgathering.com