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Weekend Full of Bluegrass Music Workshops Scheduled for FreshGrass

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MASS MoCANorth Adams, MA -- The FreshGrass Festival at Massachusetts Museum of Contemporary Art’s (MASS MoCA) workshop program expands in 2013 with two kinds of offerings: instrument-specific intensives focused on playing hints and techniques, and seminars featuring conversations between performers, participants, and industry professionals. Workshops will be held throughout the FreshGrass festival weekend, September 20-22, on the campus of MASS MoCA.

Members of the Berklee College of Music's American Roots Program and FreshGrass performers will lead workshops. All workshops are space-limited and will require reservations, which can be made by ticket-holders on the day of the event at the MASS MoCA box office.

Returning FreshGrass performer and Compass records co-founder, Alison Brown, notes her appreciation for aspects of the festival geared specifically toward up-and-coming musicians, something she looked forward to in her formative years on the bluegrass circuit, "I think the FreshGrass folks are really on to something in revitalizing this important vehicle for young players to polish their craft. I'm delighted and proud to be a part of it." Compass Records is a partner in promoting and producing FreshGrass.

A full roster of workshops is released, with a detailed schedule forthcoming.

Mandolin Seminar, Saturday, September 21st
Special guests will join Joe Walsh, mandolin principal of the American Roots Music Program at Berklee College of Music. Walsh's FreshGrass credentials are unquestionable. He has toured with The Gibson Brothers and plays regularly with Darol Anger. Participants are encouraged to bring instruments.
From Africa to FreshGrass: a History of the Banjo with Bill Evans, Saturday September 21
Bill Evans traces the history of the banjo from its African roots through 19th-century minstrelsy, early 20th-century ragtime, folk, bluegrass and more. He'll perform on original period instruments. No instruments are required.
Bluegrass Band Rhythm, Saturday, September 21st
John Reischman will demonstrate how instruments work together in a bluegrass ensemble, from the ground up.
What Makes a Band Work (day to be announced)
Dave Hollender, a Professor in the Ensemble program at the Berklee College of Music who has worked with Bela Fleck, Tony Trischka, and other bluegrass greats will explain how different elements come together to make a band jive. Says Hollender, "I try to help [students] learn how to practice and develop good technique, big ears, high standards, and open minds. With that they can learn to play any music they choose."
Fiddle Seminar (day to be announced)
Matt Glaser, the Artistic Director of the American Roots Music Program at Berklee College of Music will teach the techniques of the fiddle for bluegrass. He'll be leading this seminar with some FreshGrass friends. Participants are encouraged to bring instruments.
They Call It Music Theory (day to be announced)
This workshop focusing on music theory will break down the rhythm, harmony, melody, structure, form, and texture of bluegrass music. No instruments are required. Matt Glaser will teach this workshop.

FreshGrass is a wonderland of bluegrass and roots music, rich in both traditional and cutting-edge bluegrass, and presented in a wide array of venues tucked appropriately into a 19th-century-factory-turned-21st-century-museum in the Berkshires of western Massachusetts.

FreshGrass is also one of the best values in the festival world. Festival passes are available for $78 for adults and $68 for students, $38 for kids 6-16, and free for children 5 and under. Museum members receive a 10% discount. Day passes will be available closer to the event.

Tickets are available through freshgrass.com and massmoca.org or by calling the MASS MoCA box office at 413-662-2111 x1. The Box Office is located on Marshall Street in North Adams, and is open from 10am to 6pm every day through September 2, 2013. After Labor Day the Box Office will be open from 11am to 5pm, closed Tuesdays. Festival-goers are welcome to bring chairs, blankets, and cushions to sit on but should leave coolers and picnic baskets at home. The festival will be held rain or shine.

Exhibitions on view during FreshGrass include, among others: Xu Bing: Phoenix, a monumental display of sculptural phoenixes, each stretching nearly 100 feet in length and weighing over 20 tons in all; One Minute Film Festival, featuring over 600 micro-films; Life's Work, focusing on two artists, Tom Phillips and Johnny Carrera, who have spent their entire careers making art from - and about - single books; Love to Love You, a show of artists who explore the essence of being a fan in today's popular culture; and two solo exhibitions, one of New York-based painter Joseph Montgomery and the other of Paris-based sculptor Guillaume Leblon. MASS MoCA also houses a collection of long-term sound art installations including Glenn Kotche's Fly on the Wall, Bruce Odland & Sam Auinger's Harmonic Bridge, and Christina Kubisch's Clocktower Project.

MASS MoCA is one of the world's liveliest (and largest!) centers for making and enjoying the best new art of our time across all media: music, art, dance, theater, film, and video. Hundreds of works of visual and performing art have been created on the museum's renovated 19th-century factory campus during fabrication and rehearsal residencies, making MASS MoCA perhaps the most fertile site in the country for new art. MASS MoCA is an open platform that thrives on presenting art and learning experiences that are fresh, engaging, and transformative.

MASS MoCA's galleries are open from 10am to 6pm every day through September 2, 2013. After Labor Day MASS MoCA's galleries will be open from 11am to 5pm, closed Tuesday. Gallery hours are often extended on evenings featuring performing arts events. Gallery admission is $15 for adults, $10 for students, $5 for children 6-16, and free for children 5 and under. Members are admitted free year-round. For additional information, call 413-662-2111 or visit www.massmoca.org

MASS MoCA is an independent 501(c)(3) whose operations and programming are funded primarily through admissions and commercial lease revenue, corporate and foundation grants, and individual philanthropy. Except for a construction grant from the Commonwealth, and competitive program and operations grants from the National Endowment for the Arts and the Massachusetts Cultural Council, MASS MoCA is privately funded: 90% of MASS MoCA's annual operating revenues come from earned revenues, membership support, and private gifts and grants.

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