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Dear Old Illinois: Clawhammer Banjo Workshop with Smith Koester

Learn how to strike a balance between maintaining the highly melodic integrity of Illinois fiddle tunes while upholding the rhythmic style of claw-hammer banjo. Workshop will focus on repertoire by Illinois fiddlers like Otis Reynolds, Harvey “Pappy” Taylor, Noah Beavers, as well as prolific composer and traditional Illinois old time conservator, Garry Harrison.

Originally from Shawnee Mission, KS, Smith Koester started playing clawhammer banjo in 1998 after relocating to Illinois to pursue advanced degrees in music theory and composition. In 2002, Smith placed 2nd in Old-time Banjo at the Official Kentucky State Old-Time Fiddlers Contest. Smith and Genevieve had back to back 1st place finishes at the 2006 and 2007 Midwest Fiddle Contest held at the Chicago Folk and Roots Festival. In 2008, Smith earned 1st place in the Traditional Band contest at the Appalachian String Band Festival with the band The New Mules and released the album Pride of America in 2009.

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