The Folkemer Family Band

Notes at Noon Concert

Friday, October 24th, 2008 

 

Family

Join us for a concert of traditional music performed by Beth, Stephen, and Joel Folkemer. The Folkemer Family Band specializes in folk songs collected in Pennsylvania, played on concertina, penny whistle, low whistle, guitar, bodhran, dulcimer, keyboard and acoustic bass. This concert will feature music collected between 1928 and 1963 by the internationally known folklorist Samuel Preston Bayard.

About the Performers

The Folkemer Family Band became "official" in September 2006 when they performed and taught at the Greenwood Furnace Folk Gathering. However, all five family members were accustomed to playing and singing together in Folk and Friends (American folk and Civil War era music band) and the Schola Cantorum of Gettysburg (choir), groups in which they continue to participate. Stephen, Beth, Joel and Margaret are founding and current members of Cormorant's Fancy (music of Ireland and the British Isles, http://www.cormorantsfancy.com), and Nathan sits in with that group or helps with sound amplification on numerous occasions. Currently the Folkemer Family Band is specializing in folk songs collected in Pennsylvania, but they include pieces from other favorite genres. They have also performed for the Gettysburg Festival ~ Celebrating America, the Penn State University Library, Middletown, the Therapeutic Recreation and Activity Professionals Conference, the Gettysburg Governor's Arts Award celebration, Fulton County Historical Society and as guests in the Music, Gettysburg! series. Each year they return to the Greenwood Furnace Folk Gathering to perform and teach workshops on subjects including the Samuel Bayard Pennsylvania Folk Song Collection, Scottish and Irish songs, vocal technique, song arranging and bodhran.

Stephen Folkemer, who admits his all-time favorite birthday present is his Hayden Duet Concertina, also plays keyboard and lends vocal support to the band. Since 1979, Stephen has served as the music director at the Lutheran Theological Seminary at Gettysburg, where he is Associate Professor of Church Music. He is the organist and choir director at Christ Lutheran Church, Gettysburg. He is founder and director of the Schola Cantorum of Gettysburg. He has composed and published numerous choral and organ works, along with writing many commissioned works for national as well as local and regional organizations. Stephen helps to arrange material for the group.

Beth Folkemer plays a guitar custom-designed and built by Oriskany Stringed Instruments of Huntingdon, PA. She also enjoys singing and arranging music for the band, as well as providing mountain dulcimer accompaniment. Her love of British Isles, Irish and American folk music was the gift of her family of origin. Along with fellow band member and husband Stephen she has written "Of the Land and Seasons: A Folk Song Setting for Holy Communion." She has been published in two hymnals as well. She is spearheading the research on the material from the Samuel Bayard Pennsylvania folk song collection. She serves on the pastoral staff at St. Mark Lutheran Church, Hanover, PA, as assistant children's choir director at Christ Lutheran Church, Gettysburg, and as the music coordinator for Candlelight at Christ Church: Songs and Stories of a Civil War Hospital.

Joel Folkemer's bass and bodhran playing along with his tenor voice add important dimensions to the Folkemer Family Band. In addition to his stand-up bass, he plays an electric bass crafted by Curtis Rockwell (Oriskany Stringed Instruments). He particularly favors rousing Scots and Irish Songs. Joel is a recent graduate of Shippensburg University where he performed in the orchestra and jazz band, and he is a student at the Lutheran Theological Seminary, where he organizes inter-seminary sports events.

Margaret Folkemer's lilting soprano adds grace to her ballads, but she is capable of belting out driving tunes as well. She studied piano with Barbara Braband, voice with Melinda Warren Elnaggar and oboe with Edward Stanley. Despite all of this, a few years ago she found time to learn to play the pennywhistle. Recently she has begun to arrange music for the band. Meg is in her junior year in the voice performance program at McGill University's Schulich School of Music in Montreal, Quebec.