Farmer-musicians Bennett Konesni and Edith Gawler from Duckback Farm in Maine are coming to our neighborhood for a residency during the week of September 11-15, 2017. They will be leading work song workshops at farms and businesses in our area throughout the week, and you are invited!
High Mowing Seeds, Applecheek Farm, Heartwood Farm, Cate Hill Orchard, Sterling College, Wild Branch Valley Farm, Bonnieview Farm and Heartbeet Lifesharing are some of the partners in this project. At each location we will gather and learn songs, and then put them right into practice as we work on a project specific to each place: harvesting tomatoes and cucumbers for seed, stacking wood, topping onions, digging potatoes are some examples of the work we may do. While we work together, the songs will settle into our bones so that we may bring them home to our own kitchens and fields.
There will also be three evening events. On Tuesday evening, Bennett will give an Art Talk with Wonder Arts about his work, which is currently on display at the Brown Library at Sterling College. On Wednesday there will be community supper and contra dance at Sterling College with an all-comers band, and Thursday evening we'll come together for a concert in East Craftsbury with Bennett & Edith, Farm Song, and the Kingdom Worksongers, which will be a collection of people who have participated in workshops during the week and would like to perform.
Participants can come for the whole week or join in for a half day or a whole day. More details about the schedule and the registration form can be found at https://www.bonnieview.org/worksong-project/. The project is supported by the Vermont Community Foundation, the Pleasants Fund, and Sterling College. There is no charge to register; donations will be accepted at each workshop and event.
About Bennett and Edith: Bennett Konesni has been bringing songs back to fields and dancers back to barns since 2001. Since then he has studied musical labor and collected worksongs in fourteen countries, received a yearlong TJ Watson Fellowship, founded and managed a 117-family CSA and 243-acre educational farm, and begun (and continues to lead) the groundbreaking New York farm crew/band, the Sylvester Manor Worksongers. He has shared his repertoire of over 100 great worksongs at diversified small farms, restaurants, campfires, conferences, and farm festivals from coast to coast.
Edith Gawler grew up a member of Maine’s beloved Gawler Family Band. As a rugrat she slept behind the piano at grange-hall contra dances and later on picked up the fiddle and banjo to join in the fun. Today, she works with Bennett in teaching worksongs and putting them into practice on their own farm and beyond.