Sisters Folk Festival Showcases Young Artists: Americana Project CD Release Concert & Americana Luthier Program

Sisters Folk Festival (SFF) is celebrating the completion of the 2017 Americana Project music release, We All Wander and the completion of hand-made guitars and ukuleles through the Americana Luthier Program.

On Wednesday, June 7, students of the Sisters Americana Project are releasing their 14th full-length record, “We All Wander,” with songs written and recorded by students of Sisters High School. The concert is at 7pm at The Belfry in Sisters.

Over the past four months, the Sisters High School students in the Americana Project have learned the science and art of audio engineering while producing a CD of original songs. The students learn to be recording artists, while collaborating with friends and fellow musicians. The album was engineered, mixed and produced by Brent Alan, who says, “recording the Americana students’ original songs is one of the most inspiring things I do as an engineer. The raw talent and depth of their writing just blows me away. I am blessed to get to work with them each year and support their musical and personal growth.”

This year’s recording shows the diversity and talent possessed by these young artists. It features the work of talented young musicians, and will be a final send-off for senior students, including Ryan Funk; Brandon Ermatinger; Liam Brown; Johanna Geisen; Bree Papworth; and Alec Gannon, who plans to go on to study recording technology in college. The album artwork features work by Max Sillers and Brandon Ermatinger, and showcases 15 original songs. This year’s CD project has been funded by the Dottie and Eli Ashley Fund of the Oregon Community Foundation.

On Monday, June 12, the Americana Luthier Program is celebrating the completion of handmade guitars and ukuleles. The showcase will be held at 6:30pm at the Sisters High School Lecture/Drama room and is free to the public.

The Luthier Program is a collaboration between Sisters Folk Festival, Sisters School District and Breedlove Guitars, and funded primarily through 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 musical instruments. The guitar-building program is led by Cosby, the engineering and woodworking instructor at Sisters High School, with engineering integration from Kerry Bott, a retired Intel engineer and SFF board-member, and many dedicated volunteers. Bott and other volunteers provide engineering insight and mentoring each day to help the students complete beautiful heirloom-quality instruments. The ukulele program is led by Bill MacDonald of Kona Breeze Ukuleles, with support from David Perkins and dedicated volunteers.

“There is great collaboration that takes place, where guitar students work together with engineering students to come up with the design they want to see, and help to make it a reality with the CNC machine, creating their own headstock and rosette designs. They learn many life lessons, including patience, perseverance and resiliency, while also learning career-related woodworking skills. This kind of integration of engineering and the arts is what makes the program special, and they get to keep the instrument for life,” says Brad Tisdel, creative director for Sisters Folk Festival and co-founder of the Americana Project. At the event, the students will present their completed instruments and there will be a tour of the woodshop offered to those interested in learning more about the program.

Programs like the Americana Luther Project and the creation of an annual CD are made possible through donations and grants. 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 on Wednesday, June 7, is $15 for adults, $10 for students (at the door only – no advance sales), with this year’s CD included in the price. Doors open at 6:30 p.m. and the concert begins at 7. The Belfry is located at 301 E. Main Ave. The Americana Luthier Showcase, which is free to the public, will be held at the Sisters High School Lecture Drama room. For information on all 2017 Sisters Folk Festival events, go to or call the festival office at 541-549-4979.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *