Workshops will be held Saturday in Ida Noyes Hall.  Click here for a map to Ida Noyes.

Saturday Workshops

These are free workshops, open to the public.  No tickets required.
Click on the name of a workshop to jump to the description.

1st Floor
Cloister Club
1st Floor
West Lounge
2nd Floor
3rd Floor
Gordon Lightfoot Tribute Discussion
William Moultrie
  Children's Workshop
Meg Dedolph
Irish Music
Brian Conway
Brendan Dolan
Play the Recorder: Renaissance Dances
Chicago Recorders
Lisette Kielson
Scandinavian Dance
Crankie Puppetry
Myra Su
Fiddle Workshop
Hurdy Gurdy
Dennis Sherman
  Change Ringing Singing Techniques
The Price Sisters
Lakeside Quilting Guild

The Doublestich Twins

Archival Folk Music Footage
Media Burn

Barn Dance
Ruby John & John Warstler
Meg Dedolph
Middle Eastern Dance in the Western World
Gwyn Aubrey
Jerron Paxton
Shanty Singing
Kathy Whisler, John Wohlers & friends
Sean "Mack" McDonald
Klezmer Dance
Michael Winograd
Will Holshouser
Brady Santoro
Joe Filisko
Scottish Dance
Mishi Baubock
Shapenote Singing
Polish Paper Cutting
Grace Bazylewski
Morris Dancing
Mortarbordis Border Morris
Pullman Morris & Sword
Balkan Dance
Galia Kuo


Gordon Lightfoot Tribute with William Moultrie
10:00–11:00, West Lounge  (2nd floor)
This is a presentation to honor and remember Gordon Lightfoot, who's career spanned 50 years, and who passed away 9 months ago, on May 1, 2023.  He remains among the top tier of singer-songwriters of his generation.  Mr. Moultrie will discuss Gordon Lightfoot's music, read exerpts from a 2017 biography, and play selections of his songs to illustrate the broad range of his songwriting.  The workshop will end with a Q & A.
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Children's Workshop with Meg Dedolph
10:00–11:00, West Lounge  (2nd floor)
This interactive music and dance workshop is perfect for families.  Meg Dedolph will lead everyone in songs, dances and musical games rooted in the folk traditions of American and global communities.
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Irish Music with Brian Conway and Brendan Dolan
10:00–11:00, Third Floor Theater
Join Brian Conway and Brendan Dolan for a performance and discussion of Irish Music.
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Crankie Puppetry with Myra Su
11:00–12:00, West Lounge  (2nd floor)
A crankie is a mechanical box that tells stories with an illustrated scroll often accompanied by music and shadow puppetry.  Make your own mini-crankie in this hands-on and kid-friendly workshop!  Materials provided.  Crankiness not required.  Myra Su is a local Chicago theater and puppetry artist.
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Fiddle Styles Discussion
11:00–12:00, Third Floor Theater
Fiddlers from the bands performing this year at the Folk Fest will present and discuss their various styles of music and playing.
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Hurdy-Gurdy with Dennis Sherman & friends
11:30–12:30, Library  (1st floor)
Dennis Sherman is a multi-instrumentalist, playing mostly medieval and renaissance music.  He was introduced to the hurdy-gurdy more than 30 years ago, as a way to be a one person dance band for renaissance dancers.  Experience with the instrument broadened his interests to include French folk dance and other traditions.  He loves introducing this unique combination of melody, drones, and percussion to people who have never seen it before.  He'll be joined by Mary Vanhoozer and Ryan Bell, each with their own perspectives to share.
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Change Ringing
12:00–1:00, West Lounge  (2nd floor)
Change ringing focuses on sounding bells in rhythmic sequences rather than playing tunes.  By following a set of rules called methods, a trained group of ringers may take the bells through a series of complicated sequences.  The sequences are known as "changes" and the art is known as "change ringing."  We will demonstrate how change ringing works with a "dumbbell" and with handbells.  Participants will have an opportunity to pull the dumbbell rope and ring changes on handbells.  You can read more about change ringing here, on Wikepedia.
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Singing Techniques with the Price Sisters
12:00–1:00, Third Floor Theater
Join the Price Sisters for a discussion of how they learned to sing together and some of the technical aspects of their work, vocal care, etc.  Questions will be welcome.
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Quilting with the Lakeside Quilting Guild
12:30–3:00, Library  (1st floor)
Today's workshop will be about designing, putting together and sewing a block that can be used in a quilt or individually as a mug rug or wall hanging.  The Half Square Triangle (HST) is a basic unit used in many types of Quilt Blocks.  It can be used alone in many different arrangements or in combination with other units.  Our Workshop will have you design a block using only 16 Half Square Triangles.  The block can be taken home to sew together on your own or it can be sewn by one of our members at the Workshop.  The guild's plan is to have enough blocks completed to make a quilt that we will donate to an organization that distributes quilts to those in need.  The Guild routinely makes and donates quilts to various organizations such as the Linus Project and the Chicago Children's Advocacy Center.
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Crocheting with the Doublestitch Twins
12:30–3:00, Library  (1st floor)
Monika and Erika Simmons, aka The Doublestich Twins, will teach participants how to crochet an elegant crown you can wear home!  Yarn and hooks provided!
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Archival Folk Music Footage with Media Burn
12:30–3:00, Library  (1st floor)
Media Burn has curated a special program of vintage folk music performances.  The program features bluegrass music from their friends at Appalshop and, from further north on the Appalachian Trail, performances from traditional musicians recorded by Julie Gustafson and John Reilly, as well as protest music, acoustic ballads, and more from across the Media Burn collection, with musicians ranging from the near-anonymous or forgotten masters of folk to some of the biggest names of the 1970s.
     Media Burn is a nonprofit in Chicago that collects, preserves, and distributes documentary and experimental media produced by artists, activists, and community groups.  Their mission is to create positive social change by amplifying underheard voices, both in contemporary dialogue and the historical record.
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Barn Dance with Ruby John & John Warstler with Caller Meg Dedolph
12:30–2:30, Cloister Club  (1st floor)
Ruby John & John Warstler will play for an old-time Barn Dance in the Cloister Club on Saturday afternoon, with Meg Dedolph teaching and calling the dances.  No experience necessary. 
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Folklore, Fakelore, and The 1893 Columbian Exposition: Middle Eastern Dance in the Western World
1:00–2:00, West Lounge  (2nd floor)
Everyone knows that Little Egypt danced at the World's Fair, on the Midway, and everyone knows that Salome danced "The Dance of the Seven Veils".  Come learn what everyone should know about the reality behind the myth, steps away from the actual Midway, and do some folk dancing of your own!
     This will be Gwyn's 20th workshop at the University of Chicago Folk Festival!  She has taught and choreographed around the US and England, and started her dance journey at the University of Chicago in 1997.
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Play the Recorder: Renaissance Dances with Chicago Recorders
10:30–11:30, Library  (1st floor)
Join the Chicago Chapter of the American Recorder Society and director Lisette Kielson for their fifth year at the annual UChicago Folk Festival. This year's session will begin with a short performance demonstrating the various size recorders followed by a playing session for all.  Bring your recorder and stand if you have one.  We'll provide the music and a few recorders for you to try.  All are welcome, no matter age or playing level!
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Scandinavian Dance Workshop with Mary Allsopp & Friends
10:30-12:00, Cloister Club  (1st Floor)
Get your day started moving to the lively tunes of Scandinavia.  We have playful party dances, gentle waltzes and lively set dances.  Traditionally, the morning wraps up with a Grand March. Partners optional, all ages welcome.  Walk-through instruction by Roo Lester, and live music throughout.
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Blues Harmonica with Joe Filisko
4:00–5:00, Library  (1st Floor)
How to play the Harmonica for total beginners with world-renowned teacher, player, technician and historian, Joe Filisko.  Bring a harmonica in the key of "C".  Inexpensive harps will be available for purchase.
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Scottish Dance
3:00–4:00, 3rd Floor Theater
Michi Baubock will teach Scottish dances, with music provided by the Cosmic Otters – Jonathan Whitall and Meg Dedolph. Mr. Baubock has taught Scottish dance for the past 15 years and is certified as a Scottish dance instructor by the Royal Scottish Country Dance Society.
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Jerron Paxton
1:00–2:00, Third Floor Theater
Jerron Paxton will share the blues music of the 1920s and '30s.
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Shanty Singing with Kathy Whisler, John Wohlers, and friends
2:00–3:30, West Lounge  (2nd floor)
Kathy, John and friends have been organizing and participating in shanty sings in the Chicago area for over a decade.  They will offer a brief introduction into the world of maritime songs, the old tradition of work songs, and the modern tradition of shanty sings.  Join them as they present some of their favorite shanties, sea songs, and drinking songs, in a participatory setting.
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Blues Greats with Sean "Mack" McDonald
2:00–3:00, Third Floor Theater
In the blues, we're all familiar with guitar legends such as B.B. King, Albert King, Stevie Ray Vaughan, and Buddy Guy.  But there are many great guitar players that go unnoticed by the vast majority of blues listeners.  From West Coast guitar slingers such as Pete "Guitar" Lewis and Jimmy Nolen to Chicago bluesmen influenced by jazz such as Robert Lockwood, Jr. and Jody Williams, these guitarists had a huge impact on the way the music is now played.  Join Sean "Mack" McDonald as he speaks on some of his favorite underrated legends.
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Klezmer Dance with Michael Winograd and Will Holshouser
2:30–4:00, Cloister Club  (1st floor)
Klezmer, the music played by Yiddish speaking Jews in Eastern Europe, found a home in the United States with the mass migration of Jews in the 19th and 20th centuries.  While it came to have an updated sound and style in its new homeland, it ultimately served a similar purpose, as dance music for weddings and community celebrations.  Come join Klezmorim (musicians) Michael Winograd and Will Holshouser, joined by dance caller Brady Santoro, for a fun session of traditional Yiddish dances.
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Shapenote Singing
3:30–5:00, West Lounge  (2nd Floor)
Please join us for some robust four-part harmony singing from the Sacred Harp.  First composed by itinerant New England singing masters in the 18th century, then nurtured and developed in the South in the 19th and 20th centuries and rediscovered mid–20th century, these hymns have been a part of American traditional culture since before the Revolutionary War and are now part of a living tradition and sung around the world.  The UChicago Folk Festival was a very early player in the renaissance of this music.
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The Art of Polish Paper Cutting with Grace Bazylewski
4:00–5:00, Library  (1st floor)
Wycinanki (Polish cut outs) are a folk art of cutting, clipping, punching, tearing and carving of paper.  Wycinanki can be abstract or recognizable, often symmetrical, forms.  Wycinanki range from gwiazdy (star like designs) to kordy (composite design often telling a story) to nalepianki (multiple layered products). Grace Bazylewski has been a teacher and practitioner of the folk art form for over fifty years.  She is a Chicago born Polish American, who learned the art of wycinanki from Polish artists living in the United States.
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Morris Dance with Mortarbordis Border Morris and Pullman Morris &Sword
4:00–5:00, Cloister Club  (1st floor)
Join Mortarbordis, the UChicago Border Morris team and Pullman Morris and Sword for a demonstration and workshop on Morris dancing, an English traditional dance done in teams to live music.  Clash sticks, leap high and banish the winter doldrums with this longstanding Chicago tradition.
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Balkan Dance with Galia Miloucheva
4:00–5:00, Third Floor Theater
Balkan dances include a variety of traditional dances done with people holding each other's hands or shoulders.  Some are wedding dances; some are danced Sunday after church.  Some are flashy, others more demure.  Galia Miloucheva Kuo will present and lead Balkan and Bulgarian dances, drawing on her years with Ensemble Balkanske Igre and her life-long involvement with Balkan dance and music.  In addition to this workshop, she is also the co-directory of the UChicago Spring Festival, which in March 2025 will celebrate of the 60th anniversary of Ensemble Balkanske Igre.
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Ida Noyes Hall
1212 E. 59th St.
Chicago, IL 60637

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