Folklife Apprenticeship Program Carries on Kentucky's Musical Traditions
FRANKFORT, Ky. – The Kentucky Arts Council has awarded grants through the Folk and Traditional Arts Apprenticeship Program to honor traditional artists and encourage the continuation of Kentucky's living traditions. The grants of up to $3,000 each will support master artists in teaching their skills, practices and culture to their apprentices. Apprentices are members of the master artists' community or folk group and must have a prerequisite skill level in the art form and the potential to share or teach the art form.
Carla Gover of Berea is teaching Jeri Katherine Howell of Frankfort, and Roger Cooper of Garrison in Lewis County is teaching L. Scott Miller, a native of northeast Kentucky currently residing in Hanceville, Ala.
Gover is a singer and songwriter who plays guitar and banjo and also dances. Born in Letcher County, she was influenced by her grandmother and her church, where she learned mountain-style harmony singing. She later studied under Lee Sexton in the apprenticeship program to master the drop-thumb style of banjo playing.
Howell took her first guitar lessons in Frankfort at a community education class and has since studied under John Fields, Lyndon Howard and John Harrod. She has also attended the Cowan Creek Mountain Music School in Letcher County. "Studying Kentucky music with Carla will help me in my overall goal to become a professional musician, and it will help me introduce my generation to this music so it won't be forgotten," said Howell.
Cooper is a master fiddler who started as a child playing guitar in accompaniment to Lewis County fiddle players. Old-time fiddler Buddy Thomas convinced Cooper to take up the fiddle at age 15 and mentored Cooper until Thomas' death in 1975. Cooper has won old-time fiddle state championships in Kentucky and Ohio and placed in the top 20 at the World's Old Time Fiddle Championship in Union Grove, N. C. Cooper's technique and style is typical of that found in Lewis County and northeast Kentucky.
Miller's skill in traditional music is advanced. He was awarded a scholarship to Morehead State University and completed his degree in music education. "My goal in this apprenticeship is to create an educational system which enables local musicians as well as musicians around the globe to learn eastern Kentucky fiddle tunes from the Ohio River Valley," said Miller.
For more information about the Kentucky Folklife Program and the Folk and Traditional Arts Apprenticeship grant program, contact Mark Brown at (502) 564-5135 ext. 4491 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Kentucky Arts Council, the state arts agency, creates opportunities for Kentuckians to value, participate in and benefit from the arts. Kentucky Arts Council funding is provided by the Kentucky General Assembly and the National Endowment for the Arts.
The Kentucky Folklife Program is an interagency program of the Kentucky Historical Society and the Kentucky Arts Council, which identifies, documents and conserves the state's diverse cultural traditions.