Concerts & Stage Shows
Musical performances include traditional folk tales from many cultures, historical tales, original stories, a bit of outrageous wisdom gained of experience and shameless whoppers about eccentric people and strange animals. Audience sing-alongs, guitar, banjo, autoharp, mountain dulcimer, stand up and a one-string pickin’ tub bass are musical highlights. Performances combine music with an educational mission. The audience is lead on an enjoyable journey though music from early settlers into the Westward Expansion through to today’s musical expressions. Working in the traditional bluegrass format of banjo, guitar, string bass, the duo draws on material from folk, hillbilly, bluegrass, traditional country and mountain music with a fusion of whatever musical genres that seem to fit effectively. Many of Me & Martha’s signature songs explore the universal themes of everyday life in rural America.
Jams, Slow-Jams & Workshops - Plays well with others!
Martha and Don, using informal jams and workshops, explore and explain their own folk processes as music makers, their musical instruments and cover topics including music theory, chord progressions, musical arrangements, and the impact of socio/cultural influences on American music. To help illustrate major points, their light-hearted discussions and songs can be played in an open jam session with individual or group instruction available.
Bluegrass Music Makers Jam Workshop
Don DePoy and Martha Hills are offering workshops which focus on musicians moving beyond the mechanics of their instrument and changing from one chord to another to becoming music makers. Using Don’s Music Maker’s Guide (see below), the topics and discussions are directed towards beginning/intermediate musicians who desire to move away from tablature/chord charts and begin to make music by ear and develop their own playing style. Topics covered include: the use of common chord progressions (I, IV, V, etc.), transposing from one key to another, use of the capo, a short overview of scales, chord construction, beginning back-up and fundamentals for making music with others.
Music Making Slow Jam (2 to 4 hours)
Slow-jamming is a great way to get everyone playing. These are jams for novices who are often intimidated by the breakneck speed of many (but not all) bluegrass jams. Slow jams allow budding musicians to get their feet wet in a non-threatening, mutually supportive environment. The goal here is to keep the songs at a slow enough pace that every player can play along. Musicians are encouraged to lead songs as the turns move around the circle. However, it is not uncommon to decline and let the next person pick a song for everyone to play. During the jam some comments are offered about tuning, choosing a key for particular songs, jam etiquette, instrumental leads and back-up, singing lead and harmony. Don’s Music Maker’s Guide has over 100 bluegrass, old-time country and folk songs with chord progressions.
Educational programs (45-minutes to full-day w/ evening concert)
Martha and Don, using informal presentations and seminars explore and explain their own folk processes as music makers, their musical instruments and cover topics including music theory, chord progressions, musical arrangements, and the impact of socio/cultural influences on American music. To help illustrate major points, their light-hearted discussions and songs can be played in an open jam session with individual or group instruction available.
Roots Music History Presentation
Don’s doctoral studies focused on the articulation between American music and popular culture. Specifically, addressing the historical rise and propagation of the music now referred to as Bluegrass, this interactive discussion brings full-circle the social and economic forces which were instrumental in the development of America’s popular musics. This presentation includes the development of music as commodity from the 1850s to present with its contributing roots and branches of ethnic influences. Don’s Appalachian musical background and retired vocation, as a college professor teaching Music Appreciation, afford the attendees an opportunity to delve into many aspects of American roots musics.
Other topics include: Comparison of Bluegrass, Jazz, and Classical Music Traditions, Hillbilly Music and the Golden Age of Radio and Television, and guest presentations as suggested.
What did people do for entertainment before electricity?
Specific programs are designed for grades k-12 and post secondary education. We offer curriculum development and programs for specific topics from music/movement to historical and cultural studies which are designed to actively involve the students. Martha has a background in elementary and early childhood education and loves to work with people of all ages. Don and Martha present ballads collected in Appalachia and other cultural and community heritages that are often passed on through music. They entertain and discuss sources and personal impressions of these song and stories that often deal with day to day living, work or the challenges of true love.
Music Classes for Parents & Children
The benefits of music in child development theory is well documented. This workshop provides parents and children an opportunity to integrate music time into a child’s daily activities. Martha has developed this workshop to incorporate bluegrass music into a child’s life to encourage language development, rhythmic movement, singing, playing instruments, improvising, composing, and listening. This is a great occasion for parents to spend time with their children engaging in a variety of musical activities to strengthen parent/child bonds and improve self-esteem. Music making encourages interaction and self-expression which fosters self-determination allowing for personal growth and development in other areas beyond music and ultimately promotes self-advocacy as well. Written and audio materials are provided.
Appalachian Square & Round Dances
Don grew up playing and calling traditional Appalachian square and round dances. So if you are ready to get out on the floor, Martha and Don can liven up your social event with some circle mixers and square dancing that will get your guests off their chairs and onto the dance floor. It’s a fun way to meet the other people in your party and make lifelong friends. All square and round dance instruction are provided.
Concert and Stage Performances are fee-based with some educational grants and fund-raising options available.