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Performing Artists of KFMS


Ken Gehret

It's getting hard to say something new about Ken…so I'll say something old. Ken graduated from Conrad Weiser High School a few years ago (well, ok…sometime last century) and went to Nashville to play bluegrass. He toured with Jim & Jesse for a while, and played with other groups and in duets. Since moving back to PA many years ago, he has given lessons to countless students on the 15 or 16 instruments he plays. He has also invented an instrument (ask him), produced a festival (Fiddle Fest at Gring's Mill, Sunday, June 1), and recorded many tapes and CD's, some with a bluegrass group (Sweetwater). Ken will be featuring his bluegrass banjo and fiddle this year, plus anything else he chooses. It could be a 10-string guitar…a bouzooki…or a lute…or who know what else. Whatever it is, he will explain it, demonstrate it, and play it better than most people you've ever seen. He has finally been doing more local, better-promoted concerts and getting the attention he deserves. If you've never seen one of the most outstanding musicians in the country, here's your chance!

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John Pearse

John Pearse is one of a kind. He's a multi-faceted, multi-talented individual who's been all over the world. He has narrated anthropological movies and produced a TV series on cooking with wine. He's had music and guitar instructional series on national TV in England, Germany, and the United States. He has produced records for many major labels and produced music programs all over the world including an album for Marianne Faithful (one of Mick Jagger's women) along with some guy named Paul McCartney. He has written over 40 music books, selling over 35,000,000 worldwide (yes, you read that right).

He's been an advisor for Martin Guitar, and he even had his own guitar company. He has his own line of guitar strings and accessories. He was an insurance agent for Lloyds of London. He is a Knight of the Holy Roman Empire (I'm not kidding). He even has a Doctorate of Ethnology and Ethnomusicology.

And this is a short list of his accomplishments. He is a raconteur, roustabout rascal and the closest thing to a true Renaissance Man you'll ever meet. He specializes in guitar, mouthbow, dulcimer, and other weird instruments. He loves ragtime and novelty tunes, and is an absolutely amazing person. On top of all that, he tells worse pun stories than Keith does!

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Keith Brintzenhoff

Keith has been playing, teaching, and advising about folk music for decades. He was a founder and first president of the Lehigh Valley Folk Music Society (not the present Lehigh Valley Folksong Society). He was also an adviser/founder of the Lyons Fiddle Contest (which he CO-Emcees), Heemet Fescht (at K.U.), Musikfest, the Kutztown Pa. German Festival, as well as good old KFMS.

He has led tours in Germany 5 times (in the Palatinate), and performed in Switzerland. He was interviewed/featured in Sing Out Magazine and The Autoharpoholic, as well as others. He has performed on radio & TV in Allentown, Reading, Bethlehem, New Jersey, and Germany. He is also a hoe-down caller, and has performed at many festivals, in PA and Germany, with his band The Toad Creek Ramblers.

Keith is an expert on Pennsylvania German music, and recorded a tape with his band. He also appears on the Mountain Folk C.D. with EastSide Dave. He teaches several string instruments, including dulcimer, guitar, old-time banjo, and autoharp. This will probably be the most eclectic folk music program you've ever heard.

And you might even hear a good story or two!

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The Druckenmillers

Probably the best family folk band in the greater Lehigh Valley, and even further, these people will take you back to the "good old days." Picture yourself on your neighbors back porch, or the annual church picnic, or that old time festival you heard so much about. Listen to all those strings played with different tones, in different styles, and on different instruments.

Father Tom is the BEST old-timey banjo player in many counties. he also picks a mean guitar (studied with Norman Blake.) He has a radio program every Wednesday at 7:00 PM on WDIY, 88.1 FM, and is Folk Program Coordinator. He also is an expert on sound systerms and p.a.'s.

Wife Betty picked up the fiddle at a later age (over 21,) and started digging into old-time fiddle tunes. She studied with some of the best old-time fiddlers in West Virginia, at the Augusta workshops (ask her, she'll tell you.)

Son Nathan (handsome, talented, creative, young and single!!!) started on Suzuki violin. He now plays fiddle, mandolin, guitar, banjo and some things eve HE can't describe!

The Drukenmillers have appeared at many places, including the Augusta Festival, Mayfair, Godfrey Daniels, Lyons Fiddle Fest, Gene Shay's radio program (Philly,0 Borders Bookstore and the Kutztown Folk Music Society. They just released their latest CD a few months ago. Come here them release some down home music, and don't forget your valentine!

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Saul Broudy

Saul Broudy has been making music most of his life. Keith remembers seeing him at the Philly Folk Festival many years ago when he was young. (Keith must have been VERY young...)

He has a Doctorate of Folklore from the University of Pennsylvania (don't hold it against him), and has traveled the world over doing shows. He's been everywhere.

Saul plays harmonica and guitar, and will be accompanied by Dennis Gormley on guitar and bass. Together they've played all over the Mid-Atlantic region, and points further away. (Did we mention Saul's been everywhere?)

Saul plays traditional American folk music, but has a lot of lesser known and original songs in his repertoire. He performs at many fairs, festivals, and colleges all over the country. He's also performed in Europe several times. He's been on countless radio and TV programs, and has several tapes and C.D.'s (and maybe even a record or two).

But most importantly, HE'S BEEN EVERYWHERE !

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Judy Cave Whitman

Judy Cave Whitman is probably one of the most amazing performers you will ever see in your lifetime. Having seen MANY, and known a few, please don't just take my word for it. Inspirational, unbelievable, astounding, and many other big words that I can't spell, are just a few of the words that come to mind.

Here's part of the story...

After growing up in West Virginia, Judy attended college in California, majoring in classical piano and voice. Besides getting married, and giving birth, she also found time to perform in Canada, Europe, and all over the United States. She began to go back to her roots from West Virginia, and learned to play guitar, hammered and mountain dulcimers, and autoharp. In spite of several terrible personal tragedies, she kept moving forward. She acquired a second husband ( AFTER the first, not in ADDITION to the first ), and developed an amazing sense of humor. I think of her as a kind of a cross between Barby Holder , since she DOES play hammered dulcimer, and DOES sing really well, and Ray Charles, since she DOES play the piano, and IS blind!

And she definitely won't forget the "reason for the season."

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Daryl Purpose

Darryl was not always a musician, For a large part of his life he was a professional gambler, and was once known as the best blackjack player in the world! But he didn't like the direction his life was going, so he became an activist and a musician. After joining the Great Peace March in the mid-1980's, he went to another in the former Soviet Union, with his band, Collective Vision, and shared the stage with Bonnie Raitt, Santana, James Taylor, and others.

Since 1996, he has been a full-time songwriter and performer, traveling all over this country.Needless to say, he has a multitude of experiences to draw on, and a long list of characters he's met. He plays a finger-style guitar, and sings in a distinctive baritone voice.He has an endorsement with Taylor Guitars, so watch out Martin guitar lovers! Darryl tells it like it is, and never fails to have an interesting and dramatic performance.

So take a gamble (what have you got to lose?), and come see the first contemporary singer-songwriter we've had!

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Shanachians

Welcome to some of the best Irish music outside of Ireland (or inside, for that matter). Rich Dodson plays fiddle, guitar, tenor banjo (Irish version), mandolin, and several other string things. Dave (Mitch) Miller adds another fiddle, as well as bodhran, to the mix. Ken Purcell does melody and bass on the keyboards, as well as tin whistle. Laura Murphy adds her incredible voice to the instruments, as do the other three members of the group.

The Shanachians were the official "house band" for the first many years of the Celtic Festival in Bethlehem, and are the official St. Patrick's Day band of the Peanut Bar in Reading. They have several recordings, and have performed at many fairs and festivals, as well as having visited the "auld sod."


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Jay Smar

Jay is a calm, laid-back, low-key human being, who just loves to play music. He’ll finger pick his guitar and sing mellow songs about all kinds of people. Or maybe he’ll pick his five string, and lay some country humor on you. Or maybe he’ll play a fiddle tune clog at the same time, and make you think John Hartford’s back again.

Jay’s performed at many festivals in PA, New York, Hershey, and other states, including Canada (that’s not a state, I know!) He’s opened for Leo Kottke, Tony Trischka, Brian Bowers, Tom Paxton, Michael Cooney, and Emmylou Harris. He’s also won a few firsts for songwriting, and done workshops on the same.

His song “The Ballad of Glen Onoko” has been inducted into the Library of Congress. Others include “Socket to me” (Do I detect a sense of humor there?) and many about coal mining, which is his specialty. He does a lot of school programs and private concerts on the subject. Wherever he goes, he develops a good harmony with his audience. So sit back, relax, and enjoy a fine evening with Jay.

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Russ Remtler

Russ is one musician whose gone from one extreme to the other, both in music, and in life. After playing in heavy metal bands in high school, he discovered bluegrass. Later in college he teamed up with a few other unknowns, John Gorka and Rich Shindell, plus Doug Anderson, to play around the Lehigh Valley.

Although his first love was music, he needed to work, so he went to medical school and became a doctor. During this time he continued to pick up new instruments, including hammered and mountain dulcimers, autoharp, dobro, and bouzouki. Finally, this year, he made the big step: Dr. Rentler closed his medical practice to pursue his goal of being a performing musician.

Russ plays folk, Celtic, and blues...especially on hammered dulcimers that he builds himself. Besides a wry sense of humor, free medical advice, and a wonderful role model (my old friend, Walt Michaels) .


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Chuck Barr

Chuck Barr is probably the best storyteller you’ll ever meet. Whether they’re long or short, serious or funny, they always hold your attention. Many of them, of course, were set to music, some by him. He accompanies himself on guitar and tenor banjo. With his melodious voice, outrageous stories, and musical tales of real, and not so real life, he is the REAL Irishman.

Chuck was the founder of the best Irish band in the region, the Shanachians. He’s traveled and performed all over Ireland, recorded two tapes, and composed the classic local favorite, “Eckville Saturday Night.” There’s never a dull moment when he’s around.

Accompanying Chuck will be Rich Dodson, a member of the present Shanachians. Rich is a multi-instrumentalist, playing guitar, fiddle, tenor banjo, bodhran, and several other things. Rich also sings well, but is a bit more taciturn than Chuck (but then, who isn’t?)


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Alf Bayshore

Alf returns with his collection of mountain dulcimers (and every year he wows our audience with one of the seasons best shows). Originally from Kutztown - he is a master on mandolin, autoharp, and even some more “obscure” instruments, but dulcimer is his instrument of choice.

Over the last few years he has gone from being one of the best in the state, to one of the best in the country. In addition to many festivals, he has been featured at the Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts in New York City a few times. Impressed yet? You will be once you experience Alf’s brand of traditional folk music. We look forward to seeing you at the concert - and kicking off a fabulous season of the Kutztown Folk Music Society.


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Jerry Hines

Jerry Haines has been a professional performer for over two decades, covering most of the mid-Atlantic region. He's performed at all kinds of fairs, festivals, colleges and clubs - including the Pa. State Farm Show in Harrisburg!

He plays both 6 and 12 string guitars, in several different styles, but also plays a mean harmonica and an amazing autoharp. Some guy named Tom Chapin once said, "I wish I could play harmonica like that!"

Jerry's list of songwriters includes tunes from Woody Guthrie through John Prine to Tom Paxton. He's shared the stage with people such as Livingston Taylor, Leo Kottke, John McCutcheon, the Nitty Gritty Dirt Band, and even Peter Noone (Herman's Hermits)! And on top of all that, he's a real nice guy!

Start off our season with a guy who will make you sit back, relax , and let you hear what traditional folk music sounds like. See you there!



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Josee Vachon

Although she was born in Canada, Josee had to leave the country at a very early age, (her parents moved to Maine). After learning to play guitar, she developed a strong interest in French-Canadian and French–American folk music. Since then she has recorded nine solo discs, and two with the Franco-American folk group she helped found, “Chanterelle”. She has performed all over New England, as well as many parts of Canada, including Ontario and Montreal. She’s been on stage, radio, and TV many times, not only in New England and Canada, but also in Paris (That’s in France!).

Josee has been featured on Canada's History Channel, Microsoft’s AutoMap Trip Planner, Yankee Magazine, and Smithsonian Folkways. She was a member of the Women’s Singing Traditions of New England Tour, and traveled through many states performing her music. She also was host for 11 years of “Bonjour”, the most widely seen French language cable-TV show produced in the U.S., airing even in New Brunswick, Ontario, and Louisiana!

She’s warm, engaging, humorous, and footloose (you have to be there), on stage, as well as in real life. She also sings in English, for those of us who don’t understand French! Come hear our French chanteuse, as I’m sure you’ll be enthralled.

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Daybreak

The musicians of DayBreak have been making music together for the last fourteen years in and around Lehigh and Bucks Counties of Pennsylvania. They are known for applying their rich blend of instruments and voices to Celtic jigs, reels, and ballads, American folk tunes and songs, hymns, seasonal songs, and their own original mix of traditional and modern styles.

DayBreak includes Cliff Cole playing the hammered dulcimer, guitar, and percussion; Anna Lisa Yoder on the violin, mandolin and bouzouki; and Rob Yoder on concertina, guitar, bodhrán, harp and mountain dulcimer. DayBreak also incorporates the musical skills of their growing children including Emily Cole on tin whistle and percussion, Trudy Yoder on cello, Lydia Yoder on violin and bodhrán, and Seth Yoder on hammered dulcimer and keyboard. Everyone lends their voices to a growing repertoire of winsome and compelling songs.

DayBreak has performed in various settings including The Bethlehem MusikFest, Longwood Gardens, Godfrey Daniels Coffeehouse, The Allentown Mayfair, Foy Hall at Moravian College, Celtic Classic, Perkasie Patchwork Coffeehouse, Kutztown Pennsylvania German Festival and at various clubs and churches. Along with their three recordings, DayBreak is featured in the soundtrack for Expressions of Common Hands, a Time Warner documentary on Pennsylvania German folk arts.

The group has just wrapped up its fifth recording, "Little Steps", which highlights their musical journey through the last several years. Come help us celebrate the release of this new CD.

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Ellen Tepper

Ellen spent most of her childhood growing up in Vienna, Austria, where she began studying classical harp at 8 years of age. She graduated from the Philadelphia College of the Performing Arts with a degree in harp performance (makes sense!). She plays a variety of harps,from the small medieval to the bigger Celtic to the full size one.

Ellen teaches harp, and is on the faculty of The Piano School in Newton, Pa. She has also published several books on subjects including country dances, Bach,and Auld Lang Syne. She has performed with and for many musical groups in the Philadelphia area, such as the Philadelphia Renaissance Wind Band.

She plays a big variety of music, from medieval to contemporary, including Irish. You can hear much of this on one of her many C.D.s. She also has a great sense of humor, which she will probably need with us.

Come hear some wonderful music, and learn about the harp!

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