Some Workshops and Themes Available

Beyond concerts Chris can also provide workshops


Some examples could be: 

Surf and Turf from NYS and New England -   Chris will present Ballads, Songs and Stories collected primarily from New York State and New England. Songs will be from those collected by some of the cornerstones of folk music collecting in the 20th Century, and some of the singers who carried on the traditions with their own songs. 

Context from Content in Maritime Music – Deciphering "clues" that were left for us in the work songs and ballads of 19th and early 20th C maritime trades and folksongs. We’ll look at singing the songs that might contain obscure, or confusing references and terms, and explore potential meanings and definitions in order to sing them with more intent and understanding. Although some chanteys may be used, the sources will be largely from the “non-worksong” maritime themed ballads and songs.

Sailing and Whaling in the Age of Sail -  

            How and why did our ancestors traverse the vast expanse of the world’s oceans?  The first-hand accounts of the sailors and whalers of the 19th century told the stories of the exploration, and in some cases exploitation, of the riches of our earth’s oceans.  The stories, told with the vehicle of their songs, may provide some insights.  Chris will bring these stories to our modern age to help to better understand those who sang them, and therefore ourselves and how their ideas apply today. 


Paddy West’s School of Sailor Stuff (Sea Chanteys - How Were They Used)

               Ever wonder just how those old sea chanteys were used during the age of sail?  Join Chris in singing and “virtual” demonstration of the working of a 19th century square-rigged sailing vessel, and the specific songs that helped get the jobs done together and more easily.  By use of a Powerpoint demonstration, and Chris’ knowledge gained after a 20-year association as Chanteyman with the demonstration squad of Mystic Seaport Museum and sailing square-riggers, participants will sail a 19thcentury vessel through Cyberspace, singing as we go. In addition to the songs themselves, we’ll learn how the form, pace, and style changed depending on their specific use.  We’ll learn about shipboard life aboard a 19th C square-rigger as well as some of the “rituals” that included their own songs.


It All Makes Work -  

            Whether on the sea or land, in factories, farms, or homes, the people have worked.  With that work has come a variety of songs associated with, and sometimes written by, the workers.  Chris will take the listeners through much of the work of our ancestors and bring it to the present. 

            In some cases, the specific jobs may have included songs associated with them, and intricately entwined with their purpose.  Chris will describe, in detail, the work and how those songs were used. 


Practical Applications of Music Theory in Folk – 

            Chris will use his knowledge of standard music theory (chords, scales, forms, etc.) and apply them for an average folk musician.  Ever wonder why certain chords “feel” right going to other chords?  Every wonder why certain melodies have different “moods?”  These monumental questions, and more can be addressed in a way that will endeavor to make sense in a practical and useful way.


Instrumental “Petting Zoo” – 

            Chris can bring any number of musical instruments – Guitar, Mandolin, Lap Dulcimer, Fiddle, Clawhammer Banjo, Anglo and English Concertina to name a few – and give participants beginning lessons.   This is a great opportunity for someone who has always wanted “try out” an instrument.   


Beginning/Intermediate Instrument Instruction -

     Instruments may include:  Guitar, Mandolin/Fiddle, English/Anglo Concertina, Clawhammer Banjo.