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New Event: Shore Folk Festival

Those of you in Northeast Ohio and the surrounding region might want to check out a new event this Saturday, Feb. 23. Starting at noon, the Shore Cultural Centre will host the inaugural Shore Folk Festival, which will include performances and workshops on music, poetry, dancing and art.

Banjo enthusiasts will be happy to learn that there will be two workshops on their favorite five-stringed instrument, one on clawhammer, taught by none other than Mark Olitsky, and the other on bluegrass, taught by multi-instrumentalist Paul Kovac.

Olitsky has asked locals to get behind this fledgling event.

"If you can make it, it would be great to get as much support from the old-time community as possible," he wrote in an e-mail. "There should be a lot of possibility to jam and drink beer."

Olitsky's workshop starts at 2 p.m. The direction of the class will depend heavily on the attendees, so be prepared to ask some questions. However, he does have an intriguing topic that will act as a general framework for the session.

"What I would like to have as a topic would be the types of rhythm and melody (or counter melody) that might be played — as a back-up to a fiddle mostly — but I suppose also as a solo instrument," he said.

He wants the workshop to be very interactive.

"The one thing that I would like to see happen is the workshops are really hands on and not merely a mini concert as so many become," he said.

Unfortunately, I do not have further information on Kovac's bluegrass banjo workshop. He and Jen Maurer (Boy=Girl) opened for the Freight Hoppers when they were in Cleveland last month, so I can attest to his fine banjo picking. The bluegrass workshop is scheduled for 1 p.m.

Olitsky and Kovac will also take part in a headline concert at 7 p.m., which will include performances by Pete McDonald, Janice Pohl, Hillbilly IDOL, Gusti, Ray McNiece, Katie Daley, Lynn Frederick and others to be announced.

Other workshops of note for the old-time music fan include fiddling and traditional dancing (clogging and square dance). To learn more about the Shore Folk Festival, including ticketing information and the complete event schedule, visit the center's website at www.shoreculturalcentre.com. There, you can enter to win tickets to the headline concert.

The Shore Cultural Centre is celebrating 100 years. The building originally opened as the Shore School in 1913. In 1986, when Euclid city schools stopped operating the original Euclid High School, the city created the community center, focusing on recreation and the arts.

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