Folkemer Family Band to Perform at IUP

Posted on 4/3/2009 2:14:04 PM

The Folkemer Family Band, a group specializing in the traditional songs of Pennsylvania, will present a concert April 17 at 7 p.m. in Indiana University of Pennsylvania’s Cogswell Hall Orendorff Music Library (room 101). The concert is free and open to the community.

The program is part of the Music in the Orendorff Commons series. The concert celebrates National Library Week and is sponsored by the IUP Libraries, the College of Fine Arts, and the Center for Northern Appalachian Studies.

The group performs folk songs collected in Pennsylvania as well as other related genres.   The family lives in Gettysburg, and they have given concerts in many venues, including the Gettysburg Governor’s Arts Award celebration, Penn State University Harrisburg Library, and the Fulton County Historical Society.

Each year, the musicians perform and teach at the Greenwood Furnace Folk Gathering in Huntingdon County on subjects including the Samuel Bayard Pennsylvania Folk Song Collection, Scottish and Irish songs, vocal technique, song arranging, and bodhran.

The band includes Stephen Folkemer on concertina, keyboard, and vocals. Since 1979, he has served as the music director at the Lutheran Theological Seminary at Gettysburg, where he is associate professor of church music.

Beth Folkemer sings and plays guitar and mountain dulcimer. She serves on the pastoral staff at St. Mark Lutheran Church, Hanover, and volunteers as assistant children’s choir director at Christ Lutheran Church, Gettysburg, and as the music coordinator for “Candlelight at Christ: Songs and Stories of a Civil War Hospital.” She has studied the Samuel Bayard Pennsylvania folk song collection at Penn State University, becoming an expert on Pennsylvania song traditions. 

Joel Folkemer, a recent graduate of Shippensburg University, sings and plays bass and bodhran.  Nathan Folkemer, a student at California University of Pennsylvania, sings and plays low whistle and bodhran.  Margaret Folkemer studies voice at McGill University in Montreal, Quebec.  She is still away at school and will not be joining the family for this concert.

The Folkemer family also forms the core of the Irish band Cormorant’s Fancy, which performs actively throughout central Pennsylvania.