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49th Walnut Valley Festival

September 15 - 19, 2021

National Flat-Picking Championships
Winfield, KS

49th Walnut Valley Festival has been postponed
to September 2021 due to COVID-19 Concerns

All tickets previously sold for WVF 49 will be valid for entry in September 2021. Tickets are also currently available for purchase.

2021 Spring SPECIAL INTEREST Workshops

Aubrey Atwater - Continuing Irish Whistle

Saturday, March 20, 2021 - 9am to 10:50am CDT

Expand your whistle playing through repertoire and technique in this exciting workshop!  Using several Celtic tunes and songs, we will explore ornamentation, dynamics, clarity, and breathing, articulating ways to express that haunting Celtic sound we all love so much.  Bring a D whistle for the class.  Skill Level:  Intermediate and up

Maximum of 30 participants

Aubrey Atwater - Unmetered & Crooked: Looking at Rhythm in Traditional Folk Music (Multi-Instrument/ Repertoire)

Saturday, March 20, 2021 - Noon to 1:50pm CDT

Through listening, discussion, and playing, we explore basics of rhythm as well as its various faces in American Folk music – what is common, what is not – including delightful irregularities and the challenges of transcribing folk music. A variety of musical pieces will be presented to illustrate points and trying out as a group. Aubrey will also play one of her short Ozark Highlands Radio Segments, “Unmetered and Crooked.”   
Skill Level:  Intermediate and up

Maximum of 30 participants

Aubrey Atwater - Feisty Women! (Multi Voice/Instrument/Repertoire)

Sunday, March 21, 2021 - Noon to 1:50pm CDT

In this fun and raucous repertoire workshop, we play a variety of traditional story songs about women warriors who wear disguises, outwit the devil, hold out for true love, or otherwise state their needs!  Examples include:  The Devil and the Farmer’s Wife, When I was a Fair Maid, Dabbling in the Dew, and The Wagoner’s Lad.   Skill Level:  Intermediate and up

Maximum of 30 participants

Helen Avakian - Musicians Performance Workshop

Sunday March 21, 2021 - 3pm to 4:50pm CDT

Do you spend a lot of time practicing music on your own, feeling like it is going pretty well, only to perform under, sometimes way under your capabilities when you play in front of others? Would you like to transform your stage fright to stage excite-ment? This workshop is an exploration of ways to work with the energy of stage fright and turn it into something positive so that one can perform more effectively and enjoy it along the way. The more a performer enjoys what they are doing the more confidence they have which helps for a stronger presentation all around. I will offer various techniques and tips from mindset, ways to prepare in practice sessions to ways to calm down before and during performance. There will be an opportunity for participants to perform and share with the group if they wish to do so. We will also do some group guitar work. This is a topic near and dear to my heart as I have contended with stage fright since I was a child. Years of study and performing have helped me to work with that energy, enjoy performing, compete effectively in guitar contests, and win the International Fingerstyle Guitar Championship. I have helped a great many students from amateur to pro gain more comfort onstage. I have also helped competitors at the Indiana Fingerstyle Guitar Championship prepare for their contest performances. 

Skill Level: Advanced Beginner/ Intermediate to Advanced level for any instrument and voice.

Observers who do not wish to perform are welcome and may ask questions.

Maximum 12 Performers

Maximum 10 Observers

Elwood Donnelly - Notes, Chords and Tunes on Major Key Harmonica

Saturday, March 20, 2021 - 9am to 10:50am CDT

(Note: Please bring a “C” harmonica for this session)

We will explore the magic and ease of playing the harmonica with emphasis on learning tunes in the 1st position.  Skill Level:  Intermediate

Maximum of 30 Participants

Elwood Donnelly - Folk Sing-a-Long / Play-a-Long Multi Voice/Instrument

Saturday, March 20, 2021 - Noon to 1:50pm CDT

Elwood will lead a sing-a-long using a wide variety of traditional and contemporary folk songs that he has collected while teaching and performing throughout the U.S.  Participants are welcome to bring an instrument of choice.  Feel Free to bring one of your favorite folk songs, too.  It is helpful to know basic chords.   Skill Level:  All Voices / All Instruments

Maximum of 30 participants

Elwood Donnelly - Gospel Sing-a-Long / Play-a-long (Multi Voice/Instrument)

Sunday, March 21, 2021 - Noon to 1:50pm CDT

Elwood will teach a variety of gospel songs that he has collected from various sources on his travels throughout the South, with simple chord progressions that can be adapted to many instruments.  Participants can also bring songs to share.  Bring your voice and the instrument of your choice.  It is helpful to know basic chords.  Skill Level:  All Voices / All Instruments

Maximum of 30 Participants

Cathy Fink - Practice Smarter - Play Better (Multi Instrument)

Sunday, March 21, 2021 - 10am to 11:30pm CDT

Learn to organize your practice time so that you improve your playing systematically.

We bring a ton of information home from camp, but sometimes are overwhelmed by it and don’t know how to approach learning one new thing at a time. We’ll discuss the tangible and intangible tools for good practice as well as learning to schedule “manageable bites” of music to learn in manageable time frames.  Skill Level: All Instruments and Levels Welcome

Pete Wernick - Bluegrass Jamming, Basic Level (Multi-Instrument)

Saturday March 20, 2021 - Noon to 1:45pm CDT

Only requirements:  Tune your instrument, be able to change between 4 chords; G, C, D, A (fiddles and basses need to know which notes go with each chord).  All Instruments Welcome!

Pete will teach the skills needed to jam:

  • Follow guitar chords to play along with new songs
  • Basics of the number system and ways to use it
  • How to anticipate chord changes on new songs
  • Etiquette/protocols of bluegrass jams, with emphasis on slow jams
  • Playing in different keys, transposing from a songbook to best singing key
  • Simplest way to solo on your instrument
  • You’ll receive 18 pages of student materials in advance (by email) to help learn repertoire and jam skills
  • Learn standard repertoire with playlists of over 100 Jam Favorites
  • How to find a melody on your instrument (needed for good soloing)
  • Pete will answer questions
Skill Level:  Beginner

Pete Wernick - Play Along with Pete & Joan Wernick and Learn Fine Points of Bluegrass Jamming

Saturday, March 20, 2021 - 3pm to 4:45pm CDT

This workshop assumes you have jamming experience and can play along at moderate speeds (100 beats/minutes).  All instruments Welcome.

Pete will teach:

  • Song leading best practices
  • Playing in different keys: D, E, F, B
  • Using the capo, and reading a capoed guitar when you are not capoed
  • Finding melodies by ear (a must for good soloing)
  • Soloing when you do not know the melody
  • Soloing to kick off a song, using the right pickup notes for smooth beginnings
  • Basics of Harmony Singing
  • Jam etiquette challenges; avoiding train wrecks
  • Pete will answer questions

Skill Level: Advanced Beginner-Intermediate

Pete Wernick - Bluegrass Jamming, Basic Level (Multi-Instrument)

Sunday March 20, 2021 - 1:15pm to 3pm CDT

Only requirements:  Tune your instrument, be able to change between 4 chords; G, C, D, A (fiddles and basses need to know which notes go with each chord).  All Instruments Welcome!

Pete will teach the skills needed to jam:

  • Follow guitar chords to play along with new songs
  • Basics of the number system and ways to use it
  • How to anticipate chord changes on new songs
  • Etiquette/protocols of bluegrass jams, with emphasis on slow jams
  • Playing in different keys, transposing from a songbook to best singing key
  • Simplest way to solo on your instrument
  • You’ll receive 18 pages of student materials in advance (by email) to help learn repertoire and jam skills
  • Learn standard repertoire with playlists of over 100 Jam Favorites
  • How to find a melody on your instrument (needed for good soloing)
  • Pete will answer questions
Skill Level:  Beginner
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Office Hours

Post-Festival through May

Monday-Friday
9am-Noon; 1pm to 5pm

June through August 2nd

Monday-Friday
9am-5pm

August 3rd through September 7th

Monday-Friday
9am-5pm

Saturday
9am-1pm