From those who have zero experience with folk music to those who are pros, PennWest Clarion’s Folk Music Weekend, free and scheduled for Oct. 21-23 in the multipurpose room of Gemmell Student Center, will advance knowledge of folk music.


Last year, Brian Hoover, assistant director of Leadership and Involvement for PennWest, received an email from Amy Esterhuizen, then director of grants and special projects for Clarion, sharing that the Sharp Grant was available through Pennsylvania Humanities to fund projects that support humanities programming for communities.


“I worked with Amy and Linda Littleton from (award-winning folk/world music ensemble) Simple Gifts, to write a grant request,” Hoover said. “Our idea was to have a folk music experience this year at PennWest Clarion that was open to our community and beyond, and to explore the possibility of making the Folk Music Weekend a yearly event.”


The grant request was approved and, with the help of people both from the campus and the community a great weekend is planned. Folk Music Weekend is open to anyone age 10 or older, regardless of music background or experience.


“Any skill level is welcome,” Hoover said. Each time slot has a session for beginners and another for intermediate/advanced musicians.


Folk Music Weekend kicks off from 6 to 8 p.m. Oct. 21 with a beginners session that provides a chance to try a variety of folk instruments, including ukulele, 6-string banjo, bowed psaltery, autoharp, mountain dulcimer and hammered dulcimer. Intermediate/advanced attendees are invited to bring any folk instrument and join for a jam session. The schedule runs from 10 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Saturday. Sunday begins with 1 p.m. rehearsals for a 3 p.m. concert featuring both groups, plus a performance by Folk Music Weekend instructor Hillary LeFay and Simple Gifts.


The weekend is free, but preregistration is required. For a full schedule and to register, visit