The Sisters Folk Festival is busy filling the bill for the 2014 festival, scheduled for September 5-7. “We’ve got about a third of the festival booked, and we’re eager to let folks know who’s coming so far,” said Festival Board Chair Jim Cornelius. “We’re pretty excited about it, we’ve already booked some performers we’ve always wanted to bring here.”
After a three-year hiatus, The Duhks are back on the road to perform old-time, jazz, Celtic folk and punk. They’ll be in town for the festival - a real opportunity for fans who enjoy different threads of music blended into an irresistible sound that simultaneously feels both traditional and modern.
Bluesman and songwriter Eric Bibb offers a musical experience that touches the spirit. “We’ve wanted Eric Bibb at the Sisters Folk Festival for years, and we’re finally making it happen,” said Cornelius. “That’s a personal highlight for me, and we know he’s going to connect in a big way.”
The festival will present a strong lineup of bands. The Ruth Moody Band, led by the soprano voice of the Wailin’ Jenny’s, will deliver heartfelt, sensual songs, while The Brothers Comatose will keep the joint rocking. The East Tennessee-based band The Black Lillies perform their breakneck, brazen and beautiful brand of alt-country. The Caravan of Thieves deliver gypsy-flavored songwriting with a high-intensity live show, while Paper Bird, hailing from Colorado, will play its joyful blend of indie folk, roots and Americana with a unique combination of a dynamic rhythm section intertwined with effortless and flowing harmonies.
The festival continues to be a favorite venue for songwriters. Returning to the lineup is the immensely talented entertainer - and 2013 Encore Artist - Steve Poltz, who thrilled the festival audience last year by crowd-surfing, and packing every venue he performed. “Steve was kind of the buzz of the Festival last year, but a lot of folks missed the chance to catch him,” says Cornelius. “We heard you. He’s coming back. Don’t miss him this time.”
Award-winning singer-songwriters Sam Baker, David Francey, Sara Hickman, and Cahalen Morrison and Eli West will all play the Festival and teach at the Americana Song Academy, held at Caldera September 2-5. The Canadian brother-sister duo of Qristina and Quinn Bachand are a recent booking. They quickly emerged at the top of the international Celtic music world, winning 2010 Top Traditional Group and 2011 Top Duo at the Irish Music Awards.
The early-bird Sisters Folk Festival All-Event passes are $95 until March 1, when they go up to the regular price of $120. The festival sold out in 2012 and 2013, and organizers encourage folks to get their tickets while they last.
“The Festival will be presented similarly to last year, although we plan to increase our capacity by adding performances at both FivePine and The Belfry to host music all weekend,” says Brad Tisdel, executive director.
Sisters Folk Festival Inc. (SFF) received a $25,000 grant from the Chichester DuPont Foundation for the Americana Community Luthier Program at Sisters High School. This is the second grant given to the program by the foundation; the first totaled $20,000 and was used to make equipment facility upgrades to better serve the students. The original 2011 grant played a pivotal role in building a stronger, healthier program.
We are so grateful for the Foundation’s faith in this program,” said Development Director, Katy Yoder. “This additional investment elevates this unique class to an even more professional level. There will be more opportunities for cross-curricular learning because of the equipment available to students.” The luthier program develops makers of stringed instruments such as violins or guitars.
Three main areas were addressed in the second grant: safety upgrades, vocational education expansion and construction equipment upgrades. The second grant will provide continuing safety training classes for instructors and will better prepare them for future safety challenges. Enhancements include improved ventilation, replacing safety equipment and the construction of a storage area for guitar cases.
Expanded vocational training will help Sisters High School students to be competitive. The class provides experience students need when looking at fields they might want to pursue. It also gives them a better chance at getting a job working in a design/manufacturing field right out of high school. Several students have graduated from Sisters High School and found work in the field of engineering and luthier because of the training they received. The grant will allow the class to do even more.
In order to build their own guitar or ukulele, students must first take the Woods I class to ensure proficiency and a commitment to the arduous process ahead. The class is the proving ground for the Americana Community Luthier Program and is integrally connected to the success of luthier students. As the foundation class, it is imperative to have equipment that supports the students. Replacement of worn-out tools will help students to continue their work with Habitat for Humanity and local builders who provide low-income housing in our community and beyond.
“I am so pleased by the support we have been given by the Sisters Folk Festival/Chichester grant,” said Sisters High School Woods Instructor Tony Cosby. “This will move us into a new dimension as far as safety goes, and will enable us to implement the Engineering and Technology part of STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics).
by STEVE POST & CIAARA DENIS
Have you ever heard of a seven year old with work on display at a fine art gallery? You’ll see it next month in Sisters at Don Terra Fine Art Gallery owned by Don Patheal and his wife Terri Applegarth.
Cody colorizes pictures of rusted old cars and trucks bringing them to life with amazing results. “Cody Bonn” Clements has a true gift for connecting with people everywhere he goes. His loving smile and innate charm are contagious.
He’s also a natural actor, musician, artist, inventor and athlete. In addition to his art, he has appeared in the movie Baby Genius 2. He has entertained at the Anchorage Center for Performing Arts as a dancer, and he’s been featured on the front page of the Eugene Register-Guard newspaper.
Cody also excels at Tae Kwon Do. He attends High Desert Martial Arts, an exceptional studio with the multi-award winning instructor, Master Dan Graff. Cody has already won a gold medal for the ‘flying side kick’ at a regional competition. Master Graff says he has Olympic potential.
Cody plays guitar, piano, accordion, flute and drums, and wants to learn the violin next. He’s also composing and doing improvisation. Cody’s incredibly talented music teacher is Brendan Booher who has performed for George Bush and with Garrison Keillor’s Prairie Home Companion. He says Cody is “a natural talent.”
As an athlete, after only two seasons, Cody is an intermediate level snowboarder. His ski instructor Casey Smith, uses a video of Cody for his training classes. Cody hit a bulls-eye his first time at an archery range, and when it comes to baseball, he averages about 18 hits out of 20 pitches.
Then there’s golf; Cody can hit a 5-wood 150 yards, which would be about 200 yards if it were a driver.
He has a high IQ, is gifted in mathematics, problem solving and is very intuitive. He is currently designing a toy car that transforms into an airplane, then into a boat, and has just completed a project he’s submitting to Lego Magazine.
Even his kindergarten teacher, Miss Terry Anne Paquette at the Waldorf School of Bend, has noticed his leadership skills.
So Cody, what would you like to say to the readers of Cascade A & E?
“Peace, love and happy new year.” Cody you’re a blessing to us all.
Find more of Cody’s artwork at stevenpost.artspan.com 100 percent of all proceeds are going into his college fund.
by JEFF SPRY Cascade A&E Feature Writer
Their artisan-crafted, sterling standard acoustic guitars are prized by serious collectors and discriminating musicians around the world, with a playability and tone unmatched in the industry.
Owner Preston Thompson brings the storied legacy and vintage craftsmanship of celebrated 1930s-style Martin guitars to modern generations of aficionados drawn to their incredible quality.
“We moved in here next to The Belfry in October from our previous office spot in the Five Pine Campus,” said Thompson.
“It’s been a little more work getting the building set up but the location is great and it’s going to have a nice showroom. At 2,048 square feet, it’s also quite a bit larger. The spray booth is being delivered in the next several days and we still have a few more guitars to finish in my old shop in Bend.”
Thompson chose the location not only because of its central downtown address but also its close proximity to The Belfry, a popular local performance center and music venue. Belfry owner Angeline Rhett worked closely with Thompson to help ease their transition and plan their big grand opening later this month.
Preston Thompson Guitars are based on the original designs from the golden age of steel-string guitars, specifically from the Depression era, when a sort of “perfect storm” of design, materials and craftsmanship converged.
“That was the real heyday,” mused Thompson. “These were the iconic guitars that serious collectors and musicians sought out and there weren’t that many made. The survivors that are still around are priced in the stratosphere, anywhere from $30,000 to well over $200,000 depending on the make, model and year.”
Each of Thompson Guitars’ signature instruments is handmade from the best tone woods available, including Brazilian rosewood, rare reclaimed mahogany, Spanish cedar and Adirondack spruce.
“We’ve just obtained some rare rosewood that was cut in 1936 and while in transit to Denmark, sunk with the ship and recently recovered,” he said. “You hear about these stories but seldom do they come to fruition. It’s absolutely exact, period-correct material so getting that desirable wood is remarkable.”
Talking with Thompson is like speaking with a living encyclopedia of guitar history and he prides himself on not only the exacting production process, but the guitar’s living legacy and rich history.
Thompson has created guitars for many notable musicians over the past four decades and his reputation has solidified in the hallowed realms of music’s selective inner circles.
“Sound is number one,” he explained. “They’re all built with the same care and craftsmanship. They look beautiful but they have to be functional. It’s really the particular design and the complexity of the instrument that changes the price.”
Discovered by bluegrass virtuoso Charles Sawtelle and Peter Rowan in the ‘80s, Thompson has built a following for handmade, vintage guitars based closely on the measurements and sound quality of the early Martin 18, 28, 42 and 45 guitars. One of his models, a rosewood Dreadnought 42 made for Sawtelle will be featured in the current issue of Acoustic Magazine.
He got his start building guitars under Charles Fox at the School of the Guitar Research & Design Center in Vermont, the original school for guitar makers in North America. During the ‘70s, he honed his guitar-making skills at the legendary Randy Wood’s Old Time Pickin’ Parlor, the center of Nashville’s bluegrass jam scene.
Setting up in Sisters, Thompson now comfortably plies his trade as a master luthier in the shadows of the Three Sisters Peaks, inspired by the creative community and natural beauty of the region. He currently has five employees working with him, creating some vital, woodworking jobs in this musical community.
In the 1980s, his custom acoustic guitars attracted the attention of the top flatpicking and fingerstyle guitarists in the world when one of his instruments was selected as the grand prize by the winner of the National Flatpicking Championships in Winfield, Kansas. Today, these fine instruments are available direct and through select dealers including Cotton Music in Nashville, Tennessee and Charlie’s Guitar Shop in Dallas, Texas.
“For me, it’s very challenging from so many standpoints: the art, the craftsmanship and the people we get to work with make it a great pursuit. The guitar is the number one instrument in the world and to be part of that tradition and making some exquisite instruments that bring so much joy to not only the player but listeners too is where our passion comes from. It really is fun.”
Thompson Guitars will hold a grand opening at their new shop and showroom on Friday, January 17 from 5-8pm with workshops, demos and a bluegrass concert at The Belfry Saturday.
352 East Main Street, Sisters, www.pktguitars.com, 503-720-2788.
If an exotic African safari isn’t exactly in your travel budget, an excursion to Gary Cooley’s fine art gallery in Sisters might be the next best thing. Cooley’s The Collection Gallery is an amazing menagerie of Dark Continent animal sculptures and oil paintings on display in the tame settings of downtown Sisters, where his bronze creations snarl and stampede within his cozy new gallery.
From charging elephants and white rhinos, to Cape buffalo and horned gazelles, it’s a refreshing escape from the typical western art found in Central Oregon art emporiums.
“The reason I do the African is because for many years now I’ve done Safari Club International, an annual show with 1,500 exhibitors,” he said. “They’re an organization that does a lot of charitable and humanitarian things for the African people. Visitors who attend the show and support the organization love my African art so I do pieces for them and they really enjoy them.”
For someone who’s never stepped foot on African soil, Cooley has a remarkable affinity for the form and essence of the country’s native animal population.
“I’ve literally worked off hundreds of photographs. Morning and evening shots are always nice because they cast shadows and you pick up areas of light and shadow you might not normally see in direct sunlight.”
Cooley holds up a photo of a magnificent five-foot long bull elephant and recalls sculpting it on speculation and ended up selling 10 of them in four days.
“I think what makes them special is that I’ve always been able to capture a real look. One of the comments I get a lot are on my Cape buffalo, a very dangerous animal. There’s an old saying that in order to do a Cape buffalo correctly you have to make him look like you owe him money. They’re always mad.”
And not that Cooley doesn’t dabble in Western art as well, as an eclectic array of bucking horses, burly bears and bison bronzes can attest. Cooley’s comfortable corner gallery on Hood Avenue is furnished with leather couches and antiques, creating a relaxing atmosphere to absorb details of his work. On walls bordering the big game and Maasai warriors are oil paintings aglow with red rock canyons, dusty mountainmen and aspen groves. Well-known Central Oregon artist Cindy Briggs is the featured watercolorist.
“A friend of mine bought this building and he said I’d like you to move your gallery in there so he cut me a great deal. Upstairs there’s a 1,400 square foot office with a fireplace we’re converting to a living space with beautiful views of the Three Sisters peaks.”
An original clay model of a Grant’s gazelle sits in the light of his back room studio with sculpting tools scattered around it.
“I sit and stare at it and look at the piece from a distance and if there’s a problem it will show up and then I can correct it. This is a commission for a Colorado veterinarian and I’ve been into it about a week. Once a client picks out what they want I’ll go on the internet and find all the information I can. I’ll take six or eight photos to start with then I might get more intense for close ups, eye pattern and around the nose.”
The entire modeling stage can take up to a month or more to complete before it is taken to the foundry, where it’s cut into pieces for rubber molds. Wax duplicates are then made and finally cast into bronze.
“I made my first bronze piece back in 1983. It was a nautical man holding a lantern in a storm. Since then I’ve done someplace between 100-150 bronzes, both North American pieces and African statues. I believe my first African piece was a Cape buffalo.”
Cooley enjoys an international clientele who seek out his art for its incredible distinction and realism. Many of his pieces grace the homes and businesses of a wide range of customers and friends.
“I’ve shipped pieces all over the world, to Africa, Hong Kong, Egypt and England. Even an American Eagle in Bush Senior’s home in Kennebunkport.”
His wife, Karen, has seen demand and appreciation for Cooley’s masterful art blossom over the past three decades. “His passion for art has deepened,” she said.“He and his brother were raised in an auto parts store in Southern California and when they sold it, Gary moved to Oregon in the late 1960s. He brings an enthusiasm and intensity to his art people respond to. They like that he gets the realism in each animal, especially in the eye. Not all artists can do eyes well. People comment on that all the time.”
Cooley’s hopes for the gallery are for people to come in and find something that might compliment their home, whether it’s Native American, Western or his moving African work.
“We really enjoy the fact that everyone has been so gracious and welcoming to us. We’re planning an open house celebration on Saturday, December 7 for the holidays so check our website.”
Gary Cooley’s The Collection Gallery, 353 Hood Avenue, Sisters. www.garycooley.com, 541-588-6253.