SongRoutes Asheville - Appalachian Singing Study Camp

Aug 25-30 2019 - Montreat, North Carolina

with Alice Gerrard, Ginny Hawker, Tracy Schwarz, Beverly Smith and Emily Miller

SongRoutes - Asheville will be an intensive six-day Appalachian singing study in beautiful Montreat, North Carolina.

From Sunday August 25 - Friday August 30th we will be staying, eating and singing at Montreat - a stunning retreat center 25 minutes north of Asheville in the Blueridge Mountains.  We will enjoy 4-6 hours of singing classes each day – learning about Appalachian Harmonies, Early Country, Brother Harmonies, Country Gospel, and Shape Note Singing. Overall the focus will be on getting more comfortable with the style, tone, sound and feel of this kind of music.  There will also be the opportunity to sing in small groups – one on a part and learn historical/cultural context. We will also have music listening sessions and a clogging class! There will be time for some hiking/exploring in the area and people may decide to extend their stay and visit Asheville, Nashville or some of the other fascinating places nearby. In the evenings we will enjoy a private house concert by our fabulous instructors, a square dance in the old Montreat barn and a student concert on our final night!

Our instructors are the amazing Alice Gerrard, Beverly Smith, Ginny Hawker, Tracy Schwarz and Emily Miller. See instructor page for more info.

Dates: Aug 25-30 2019

Where: Montreat Centre, North Carolina (25 minutes outside of Asheville)

Teachers: Alice Gerrard, Ginny Hawker, Tracy Schwarz, Beverly Smith and Emily Miller.

Price: $1140 USD + GST (based on double occupancy)

$1450 USD + GST (based on single occupancy)

(price includes entire tuition, 5 nights accommodation, all meals) 


Application Deadline is Feb 16th 2019!


Alice Gerrard

Simply put, Alice Gerrard is a talent of legendary status. In a career spanning some 50 years, she has known, learned from, and performed with many of the old-time and bluegrass greats and has in turn earned worldwide respect for her own important contributions to the music.

Alice is particularly known for her groundbreaking collaboration with Appalachian singer Hazel Dickens during the 1960s and ’70s. The duo produced four classic LPs (recently reissued by Rounder on CD) and influenced scores of young women singers — even The Judds acknowledge Hazel and Alice as an important early inspiration.

Beverly Smith

One of the most respected guitar players in old time music today, Beverly Smith is also in demand as a singer, fiddler, and dance caller. Besides her three highly praised recordings of early country duets with mandolinist Carl Jones, her guitar playing has been featured on recordings of fiddlers Bruce Molsky, Rafe Stefanini, Tara Nevins and Brad Leftwich, and her singing with Mick Moloney, John Doyle, Laurie Lewis and others.  Along with June Drucker, Rose Sinclair and Tara Nevins, she was a founding member of The Heartbeats Rhythm Quartet.   She has taught guitar, fiddle and dance at music camps including Ashokan Southern Week, Augusta Heritage, Swannanoa Gathering, Blue Ridge Old-Time Music Week, Festival of American Fiddle Tunes and Summer Acoustic Music Week as well as Sore Fingers UK; Haapavesi, Finland; and La Fuente del Musica in Spain.  She has been a featured guest on A Prairie Home Companion, ETown, Mountain Stage and Voice of America, has toured extensively in both the US and the UK, and has played concert halls and festivals all over Europe, Canada and the US. Her guitar playing was featured in the October 2000 issue of Acoustic Guitar Magazine. Besides her duo with John Grimm, Beverly currently plays and tours with Alice Gerrard, the indisputable Queen of Old Time Music.

Ginny Hawker and Tracy Schwarz

Ginny Hawker and Tracy Schwarz's strong, soul-stirring singing makes you feel their devotion to the place from which their music springs. As they wrap their songs in stories of the people and the places of the music, audiences are transported to another time when life was more real and families were held close. Their harmonies are hair-raising and representative of the finest American traditional music.

Home for Ginny and Tracy is the small village of Tanner, West Virginia in the heart of Appalachia. Ginny is a native of Halifax County, Virginia where she grew up in a large extended family of singers and musicians. Tracy grew up in New jersey and New England where his strongest memories are of days spent on the neighbors’ farm in southern Vermont. Ginny and Tracy met in 1988 when both were on staff at the Ashokan Fiddle and Dance Camp near Woodstock, NY. They soon discovered that, despite their differing childhoods, they shared a deep understanding of and love for the music of the rural south. It was Ginny’s birthright and Tracy’s lifetime devotion.

Ginny’s father, Ben Hawker, was her mentor growing up. Together, they taught the beautiful old singing of his Primitive Baptist Church for ten years at the Augusta Heritage Workshops in Elkins, WV. He went with her to the Smithsonian, the Chicago Folk Festival and the Vancouver Folk Festival where their family harmony left an indelible memory with their listeners. Ben also introduced her to early Bluegrass harmony through the oral tradition. Ginny continues to honor his style and grace with her singing and storytelling.


When they met in 1988, Tracy had already spent 26 years as a member of The New Lost City Ramblers, the traditional stringband responsible for introducing urban audiences to southern rural music in the 60’s and 70’s. He was also deep into Cajun music, playing accordion, fiddle, guitar, and always singing in such a soulful way that many people worldwide were drawn to the music he represented so well. The Ramblers have twice been nominated for a Grammy.

For over 20 years, Ginny and Tracy have appeared in concerts and festivals throughout the United States, Canada, and England. Each summer they teach southern traditional singing at several music camps introducing people to the music they love. Recently they have started teaching students in their West Virginia home.

In concert, Ginny and Tracy will cover everything from the beautiful unaccompanied ballads of the south to early Bluegrass duets to the songs of The Carter Family. You’ll hear fiddle tunes, gospel songs as done in rural families, even some classic country songs. What their concerts will lack is “fillers.” Every song they do means something special to them and will invite you to join them in the celebration of your heritage.

Emily Miller

Emily Miller photographed by Stephen Schauer at Deep End Ranch

Emily was born in Kansas and raised in Hong Kong, but her family's house was always filled with American old-time and country music. After performing with many different groups in her teenage years (most notably Northern Harmony, with whom she toured all over the US and Europe), Emily formed the honky-tonk country band The Sweetback Sisters in 2006 with fellow singer Zara Bode. They have recorded three full-length records and have performed their renegade retro style of country music in barrooms and concert halls around the world. Emily has appeared several times on national radio programs, including A Prairie Home Companion and Mountain Stage. Emily also performs old-time music as a duo with her husband, Jesse Milnes. They recorded their first duo record together in January 2015 and have toured across the US and Australia. Emily is also musical director for the Davis & Elkins College Appalachian Ensemble's string band in Elkins, WV, which recruits talented instrumentalists and dancers from around the country for a high-level student performance ensemble. She and Jesse make their home in Valley Bend, WV.


Schedule and Classes

Sunday Aug 25th -Friday Aug 30th 2019

Sunday Aug 25th - Everyone arrives in Asheville and we travel on to Montreat, settle into our home for the week, enjoy a dinner all together and dive into some singing right away!

Monday Aug 26th-Friday Aug 30th - classes, activities, concerts, dances, jams! We will spend 4-5 hours in singing classes every day, enjoy practice time, listening sessions, clogging, concerts etc. We will eat three meals a day at Montreat Center and there will be some free time to hike around and explore the Blueridge Mountains and the beautiful nearby town of Black Mountain. Thursday night will be the student performance on the giant front porch of the Galax House - performance is optional but is a great chance to sing something that you learned over the week.

Friday Aug 30th - we will finish up with breakfast, morning classes, class shares and last shared lunch before people head off to their next adventure...Asheville, Nashville, Appalachian trail...

Accommodations, Venue and Contact

We will be staying in the Montreat Center - nestled in the famous Blueridge Mountains - 25 mountains outside of Asheville!

We will be staying in the Assembly Inn and will have the Galax House for house concerts and informal get togethers! We will be eating all of our meals at the Montreat Dining Hall.



If you have any questions, you can contact Karla Mundy  - email karla @