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Unique workshop to blend music from China, Appalachia

GRAMMY winners Cathy Fink (left) and Marcy Marxer (right), with Chinese musician Chao Tian, will offer a free workshop for School of Music students and the community at the School of Music on Sunday, Nov. 12.

A one-of-a-kind musical workshop that creates a bridge linking China and Appalachia – and even points beyond – will be offered at the State University of New York at Fredonia School of Music on Sunday, Nov. 12.

GRAMMY award-winning American Roots artists Cathy Fink and Marcy Marxer, and Chinese classical hammered dulcimer player Chao Tian will conduct the workshop.

Curious musicians of all ages and talent levels are invited to bring along a stringed instrument to the workshop at Mason Hall Room 1080 at 2 p.m. The event is free and open to the public, but online pre-registration is required and can be made at https://docs.google.com/forms/d/e/1FAIpQLSdfTT5XGwlisI3VScK6EU3b_2z_I6HOIy7xNLbeUZLSVBnR2A/viewform?pli=1%C2%A0

Registration will remain open until Nov. 7, or until the workshop is full.

“Cathy and Marcy have worked together for years, and they are GRAMMY winners together for work they have done in the past as American Roots/folk musicians and artists,” explained 1891 Fredonia Opera House Performing Arts Center Executive Director Rick Davis.

“This program was created specifically to work with Chao Tian, and to bring attention to folk music in a global sense. This tour is the first time they have worked with her.”

The trio’s Instrumentation consists of yangqin (Chinese hammered dulcimer), gourd banjo, five-string banjo, ukulele, guitars, dumbek, cello-banjo and mandolin. Their repertoire features traditional Chinese and Appalachian music as well as contemporary and traditional music from around the world.

Part workshop, part demonstration, the workshop will give a detailed view of the ensemble’s instrumentation and process for fusing eclectic musical instruments and ideas. The trio will teach a Chinese tune that easily adapts to American old-time instruments and beyond. A question-and-answer session is included.

“We encourage anyone who attends to bring an instrument if they so choose, whether it’s a guitar, banjo or ukulele or other stringed instrument,” Davis added.

Organizers were intrigued with the prospect of bringing such a unique program to the campus and surrounding community as a way to expose students and community members to global music and to see how various cultures can mix with their musical styles, Davis commented.

The trio will also perform at the 1891 Fredonia Opera House Performing Arts Center on Sunday, Nov. 12, at 7 p.m.

“Cathy and Marcy have toured for years, and we actually have had them perform at the opera house many years ago,” Davis noted.

The workshop is made possible due to a collaboration with the 1891 Fredonia Opera House Performing Arts Center and a grant from the Mid-Atlantic Arts Foundation.

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