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Lanesboro, MN | May 17-20, 2018


2018 Staff


The Traynham Family is Mac, Jenny and Hanna Traynham. Known primarily for their duet singing, Mac and Jenny have a long history of playing old time music associated with the Southwest Virginia region where they live. Their performances and recordings emphasize tight harmonies and fine instrumental prowess. Mac was the 2012 banjo champion at the Appalachian Stringband Contest at Clifftop, WV and is a  renowned banjo builder. Their daughter Hanna, who now lives in Portland, OR, is a potter, a high school art teacher, and a member of the old time band, The Barn Owls. She grew up absorbing this music and joins her folks, adding her banjo to their fiddle, guitar and harmonica for an interesting combination of tunes and vocal trios. The Traynhams are experienced teachers of harmony singing and basic instrumental styles of the Blue Ridge Mountains.


Rafe Stefanini has been at the forefront of the revival of traditional music from the rural south for over thirty years. His work on fiddle, banjo, guitar and song is represented in over 20 CDs, both as headliner and as guest. He has been a member of such influential bands as the Wildcats, Big Hoedown, The Rockinghams and Jumpsteady Boys (with Bruce Molsky, Joe Newberry and Mike Compton). He has been a teacher at many music camps on fiddle, banjo and guitar. Clelia Stefanini has followed in her father’s footsteps, quickly becoming outstanding on fiddle, guitar, and vocals. She was first prize winner in fiddle at the 2013 Appalachian Stringband Festival in Clifftop, W. Virginia and is the current Alabama Classic Old Time Fiddle Champion (2017 and 2015). She is also an accomplished teacher privately and at music camps.


The Brainstormers are Tom Sauber, Patrick Sauber and Mark Graham. They play old-time music with the same intensity and skill which characterized the playing of their heroes and models - legends like Earl and Max Collins, Charlie and Ed Lowe, Sonny Terry, Dock Boggs, Roscoe Holcomb, Doc Watson, and many others. Tom and Patrick are both virtuoso multi-instrumentalists and singers whose home "turf" ranges from the tunes and songs of the 19th century to the post World War II era that saw old-time music evolve into Bluegrass. Tom has performed for years as part of Tom, Brad and Alice, including two appearances at the Bluff Country Gathering. His son Patrick is in high demand, not only as an old time player, but with bluegrass bands like Laurie Lewis and the Right Hands. Mark Graham is an astonishing harmonica player and renowned songwriter who has played in bands such as the Hurricane Ridge Runners, Chicken Chokers and Mongrel Folk.
They may very well amaze you, probably make you laugh and perhaps bring tears to your eyes. But they're guaranteed to please.


Alan Murphy is a renowned Midwestern fiddle player and American acoustic music historian who has been performing for almost 60 years. He has recorded widely and has fiddled with old-time, bluegrass, country, country-rock, and swing bands.  A fine singer and versatile instrumentalist, Al has been named a Master Musician by the Iowa Folk Arts Council multiple times, and in 2001 he received the first annual Harry Oster Award from the Iowa Friends of Old Time Music for his work in preserving acoustic music. Among his recordings are the 1972 album with Art Rosenbaum,  an old-time music classic, and his most recent recording, "Hogs in the Cornfield", a collection of unknown tunes learned directly from old-time fiddlers. Marc Janssen is a fiddler, mandolin and guitar player based in Iowa City. He is an active performer in the Iowa City traditional music scene, playing old-time music with his wife Brandi Janssen and with the quartets New Broom and Goosetown Stringband, as well as with Al Murphy. He also operates a busy teaching studio, instructing students of all ages on fiddle, mandolin, guitar, and banjo. Marc not only performs with Al Murphy, but has been eagerly absorbing his unique repertoire.



Respected and sought after throughout the region as a square and contra dance caller, Sue Hulsether is recognized for her clear teaching, welcoming manner at the microphone, engaging humor, and her uncanny ability to choose the perfect dances for whatever group is in the room. She has gathered her wide repertoire from callers and dances around the country and is also a captivating flatfoot dancer in the Appalachian clogging tradition. Formerly a member of the St. Paul based Wild Goose Chase Cloggers and currently dancing with Shoefly! of Gays Mills, WI, she has taught people of all ages to enjoy its rhythmic delights.


About the Bluff Country Gathering

The Bluff Country Gathering is a four-day event presenting traditional American music, dance and singing styles. Workshops, conducted by a staff of nationally acclaimed musicians, singers, dancers and folklorists, are designed to pass along the traditions of old-time music to participants at all levels of experience. If you want to take workshops, you must register for the whole weekend. Cost is $225 and includes workshops, concert and dance. The registration form is at the bottom of this page.

PUBLIC EVENTS: A concert on Friday night features all the staff musicians. The Barn Dance on Saturday night includes live music by staff musicians and caller. No experience or partner required for this dance.

CONCERT: Friday May 18 at 8:00 PM. $15.00. Tickets available at the door only.

BARN DANCE: Saturday, May19 at 8:00 PM. $10.00. Tickets available at the door only.

REGISTRATION: $225 for all events. If you plan to take workshops full registration is required. No refunds after May 1.

Registration Form

(Printable PDF)

Please fill out the entire registration form. Registrations not accepted until January 2.

Name: __________________________________________________________________________________

Address: ________________________________________________________________________________

Phone: __________________________________________________________________________________

Email: __________________________________________________________________________________

Name/address on the roster? Yes _____ No _____ (The roster will be available to all students.)

Meals: Unfortunately, we are unable to provide any meals this year. Our old home, the Sons of Norway Hall, will be undergoing historic restoration and will be totally unavailable to us in 2018. We are relocating to the Discovery Faith Community Church, 507 S. Parkway Ave. This is a couple blocks south of the Sons of Norway on the opposite side of the street. It is the place to check in when you arrive and will be the location of our Thursday night Potluck and Staff Concert. Space does not allow us to cook and provide lunches as we have previously.

Any student age 16 or under must be accompanied by a fully registered parent or guardian.

Interested in volunteering? Most of our registered students help out doing small jobs at the weekend, like setting up tables and chairs for meals and concerts, helping in the kitchen, sitting at the sales table during the public concert or dance, to name a few. Even the smallest help is greatly appreciated. If you check yes, someone will contact you about matching you to an agreeable task.

Yes, I'd like to help. _____ No, not this time. _____

Make checks payable to Bluff Country Gathering and mail to 18287 Gap Drive, Spring Grove, MN 55974.

Or pay online and be sure to submit your registration information.



Housing is not provided by the Gathering. Lanesboro has many B&Bs, boarding houses, motels and campgrounds in town and nearby. For a listing of these go to www.lanesboro.com or call the tourist office at 800-944-2670.

Thursday Night Potluck dinner starting at 6 pm. Bring a dish to share. Plates/cups/napkins/silverware will be provided. The kitchen is available only to the lunch caterers and will not be available for cooking/ cleaning up/storing leftovers.

Sunday Potluck will not be possible this year.

What else to bring? Recorders are a must, since most of the workshops will be taught aurally.


E-mail: bobngail@springgrove.coop or bluffcountrygathering@gmail.com


The Bluff Country Gathering is a 501(c) non-profit organization. Any donations are tax deductible.                                                





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