Making American Music

SUMMER 2018

AN ARTIST IN RESIDENCE PROGRAM

With the support of the Ella Fitzgerald Foundation and the John M. Hammond Performance Endowment, the National Museum of American History is pleased to have begun its first artist in residence program and music internship program, “Making American Music.” The program seeks to assist and encourage young musicians and enrich the experience of thousands of people visiting the Smithsonian in person and online.

The pilot program has begun in spectacular fashion, offering our four interns a great opportunity to explore American music through the Smithsonian and Library of Congress collections under the guidance of our celebrated artist in residence and Smithsonian experts. It has also allowed our visitors to benefit from performances that explore various music traditions celebrating the diversity of the United States.

The Artist

Inaugural Artist in Residence, Dom Flemons, is a Grammy winner as well as a founding member of the celebrated Carolina Chocolate Drops. Flemons is known as “The American Songster” since his repertoire of music covers nearly 100 years of American folklore, ballads, and tunes. He is a music scholar, historian, record collector and a multi-instrumentalist (Banjo, Fife, Guitar, Harmonica, Percussion, Quills, and Rhythm Bones). Flemons is currently creating two albums for Smithsonian Folkways Records.

Program Details

The interns have the incredible opportunity to work with renowned artist Dom Flemons for a full 5-hour day twice weekly, during which he directs the group on developing repertoire, performance styling and presentation standards.  They are identifying music, arranging and rehearsing music, and developing contextual frameworks to present it to the public.   Additionally, guided by curator John Troutman, they are researching the National Museum of American History Archives Center, the American Folklife Center at the Library of Congress, and the archives at the Smithsonian’s Folklife Center, and the catalog of Smithsonian Folkways Records.  The group recently received a guided tour of the National Museum of American History and Culture’s music exhibition led by curator Dwan Reece.

The interns, now known as the First Ladies,  have developed repertoire focusing on Hawaiian songs, African American folksongs, work songs, abolitionist songs, women’s rights and woman suffrage, Appalachian fiddle music, and a-Capella ballads of Anglo and African American origin. The group is also developing an ensemble interpretation of Ella Fitzgerald’s, “A Tisket, A Tasket”

Meet the Band

The Artist

Inaugural Artist in Residence, Dom Flemons, is a Grammy winner as well as a founding member of the celebrated Carolina Chocolate Drops. Flemons is known as “The American Songster” since his repertoire of music covers nearly 100 years of American folklore, ballads, and tunes. He is a music scholar, historian, record collector and a multi-instrumentalist (Banjo, Fife, Guitar, Harmonica, Percussion, Quills, and Rhythm Bones). Flemons is currently creating two albums for Smithsonian Folkways Records.

The Interns

Hannah Baker is a senior in the American Roots Music program at the Berklee College of Music in Boston. She plays guitar and fiddle and is a skilled singer-songwriter with a recently-released debut EP and a passion for historic music research. Her current topic of study is the role of race in American roots music.

Kelly Bosworth is a graduate student in the Ethnomusicology program at Indiana University. She plays guitar and is a singer-songwriter as well as an educator – teaching harmony, folk singing, and guitar. Kelly’s research interests include vernacular music, community music-making, and social justice.

Rose Rodgers is a senior at the University of California Santa Cruz. She plays flute, sings and is proficient in historical research with primary documents. Her research is currently focused on the role music has played in building communities against social inequality while providing a voice for marginalized peoples.

Libby Weitnauer is a graduate student in the Music Performance program at New York University. She plays violin and sings. She hopes to one day create a music program that combines her passion for Appalachian fiddle music with research into displaced populations throughout American history and how they have used music to connect to each other.

NMAH Staff

Program Lead – James Zimmerman

Creative Director – Chris Wilson

Curatorial Research Advisors – John Troutman and Theodore Gonzalves

Program Manager – Carrie Heflin

Lead Education Aide – Alex Piper

Social Media Manager – Erin Blasco

Video Production – Sarah McCoy and Alex Piper