Americana Project CD Release Concert and Americana Luthier Program

Wednesday, June 6 at 7pm at The Belfry

Sisters Folk Festival (SFF) is celebrating the release of the 2018 Americana Project music release, and the completion of hand-made guitars and ukuleles through the Americana Luthier Program.

On Wednesday, June 6, students of the Sisters Americana Project are releasing their fifteenth full-length record, The Paths We Take, with songs written and recorded by students of Sisters High School. The concert is at 7pm at The Belfry in Sisters.

In the Americana Project – the educational outreach of Sisters Folk Festival – Sisters High School students learn to play guitar, write songs, perform, and are introduced to the science and art of audio engineering. The recording project is designed to provide a learning opportunity for students to record in a professional studio, learn as artists from the experience and to share their work publicly. The students work with local engineer and producer Brent Alan while collaborating with friends and fellow musicians. The collaborative nature of music-making has been nurtured through projects in class, as well as during the Americana Song Academy for Youth, where many of the students perform with peer musicians and students from other schools.

This year’s recording shows the talent possessed by these young artists and showcases 18 original songs. It features the work of the Americana Project’s aspiring young musicians, and will be a final send-off for senior students including Rylee Funk, Shae Gascon, Lachlan Wood, Cassidy Ling-Scott, Cole Pade, Makila Lajko, Rylee Weber and Engracia Diez. Diez also provided stunning photography and design for the album artwork.

This year’s CD project was supported by funding from the Dottie and Eli Ashley Fund of the Oregon Community Foundation.

“The Paths We Take” features many younger students as well, as the program nurtures and cultivates a safe environment to be self-expressive and to create original music.

On Monday, June 11, the Americana Luthier Program is celebrating the completion of student-made guitars and ukuleles. The showcase will be held at 6:30pm at Sisters High School and is free to the public. The Luthier Program is a collaboration between Sisters Folk Festival, Sisters School District and Breedlove Guitars, and supported by funding from Sisters Folk Festival. The program, which was started in 2006 by Jayson Bowerman and Sisters High School teacher Tony Cosby, instructs students in the age-old craft of building acoustic musical instruments. The guitar-building program is led by Tony Cosby, the engineering and woodworking instructor at Sisters High School; with engineering integration from Kerry Bott, SFF board chair and former Intel engineer. The ukulele program is led by Bill MacDonald of Kona Breeze Ukuleles, with support from David Perkins. Both classes have an enthusiastic, capable and dedicated group of volunteers.

“They learn many life lessons, including patience, perseverance and resiliency, while also learning career-related woodworking skills. The Americana Luthier Project is one of two guitar-building programs in the country in a public-school setting, and demonstrates why arts programming, coupled with integrated curriculum opportunities, makes Sisters’ schools special. And students not only have a new set of skills, they have an instrument they can keep for life,” says Brad Tisdel, creative director of Sisters Folk Festival and co-founder of the Americana Project.

Programs like the Americana Luther Project and the creation of an annual CD are made possible through donations and grants, and through the community and artist-supported My Own Two Hands, the annual fundraiser for Sisters Folk Festival. To help support these and other arts-related learning opportunities in Sisters’ schools, donations can be made at
Suggested donation for the CD Release Concert is $15 adults, $10 students (door sales only – no advance sales), which includes this year’s CD. Doors open at 6:30pm and the concert begins at 7pm. The Belfry is located at 302 E. Main Ave. The Americana Luthier Showcase, which is free and open to the public, starts at 6:30pm at Sisters High School on Monday, June 11. For information on all 2018 Sisters Folk Festival events, go to or call the festival office at 541-549-4979.

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