Logo: Susquehanna Folk Music Society
Presenting fine traditional arts in Central Pennsylvania since 1985

Folk Arts Center Calendar

Upcoming Events

Sat, June 29 - Folk Artists Gathering

Folk Artists Gathering Folk Artists Gathering Hershey
The Susquehanna Folk Arts Center is hosting a get-together for people who practice or enjoy traditional arts. That term includes playing traditional music, singing in a church choir, making quilts or rugs or wood-carvings, cooking from grandma’s recipes, learning Balkan dances — the list is endless! Please join us for networking with other folk arts practitioners, or just to take a peek into the kaleidoscope of local traditional arts, on Saturday afternoon, June 29 at Hershey Public Library. MORE

This listing only includes our "Folk Arts Center" events. Please explore our complete SFMS events calendar! 

Past Events

Sat, February 3 - Writing an Apprenticeship Grant

Writing an Apprenticeship Grant Online
Learn how to apply for a grant from the PCA’s “Apprenticeships in Folk and Traditional Arts” program. These grants support artists in teaching OR developing their artistic skills/repertoire. An informative online workshop presented by our Susquehanna Folk Arts Center. Live on Zoom on Saturday, February 3. MORE

August 6, 2023 - Apprenticeship Celebration

Apprenticeship Celebration Apprenticeship Celebration Apprenticeship Celebration Harrisburg
As part of our “Bringing It Home” series, we enjoyed performances, demonstrations, and stories shared by this year’s SFMS/PCA Traditional Arts apprentices and the master artists who mentored them.
Mary-Kate Spring Lee (top) honed her skills on Irish harp with the renowned Gráinne Hambly.
Aron Rook (middle) studied with local woodcarver Jim Hiser, learning skills to create the expressive carved wooden masks used in traditional Korean Talchum theater.
Mary-Grace Autumn Lee (bottom) sought help from musician Lexie Boatwright to find an authentic Irish voice on the hammered dulcimer.
The end of the afternoon featured a rousing session of Irish music led by Grace and Mary-Kate.

May 2, 2023 - Arts In Education Workshop

Arts In Education Workshop Arts In Education Workshop Online
This FREE virtual workshop shared tools and resources to help artists incorporate their artistic work into educational experiences for children and/or adults. It was presented by our Susquehanna Folk Arts Center in partnership with BrightNow! and the Capital Area Intermediate Unit.

Local musician Lenny Tepsich was a featured presenter. He is an original member of the Steelton, PA-based Balkan music group Sviraj! which is spotlighted in our Folk Artists Gallery. Lenny has worked as a teaching artist in local schools for so long that he is known locally as Mr. Music®.

Summer 2022 - BRINGING IT HOME... In Person!

Our BRINGING IT HOME series of Folk Arts Center events showcases artists who practice the amazing variety of traditional arts found in our region. With the return of in-person programming, we were delighted to present a variety of traditional arts at the 2022 Susquehanna Folk Festival.

August 13-14, 2022 - Bringing It Home at the Susquehanna Folk Festival

An illuminating window into Central PA folkways opened with the compelling African-influenced drum rhythms of Puerto Rico, performed by Pedro Antonetty and Raimond “Buron” David Sr. with members of Harrisburg's BombaRiquenos and Philly's Los Bomberos De La Calle.

Nelsy Acosta (from Colombia) and Betty Itunga (from Keyna) talked about how foods and cooking remind them of home and connect them with their cultural heritage.

A series like this couldn't leave out music. Seamus Carmichael & friends demonstrated a traditional Irish tune session, and Batida (Mônica Teles and Chelsea Caroline) performed Brazilian and American songs.

Music means dancing! Steelton's irrepressible ensemble Sviraj played tamburasi music for International Folk Dancing. We also experienced the spellbinding intricacy of Bharatanatyam dance performed by Rachita Nambiar, who is passing that tradition down to her daughter and many other students.

Rev. Moses Jackson and his son Anthony also talked about passing traditional practices from one generation to the next, performing Black gospel music together with Harrisburg's Spiritual Messengers Warriors for God.

In another fascinating story session, creative muralist Aron Rook (pictured at left), rug-hooking artist Julie Smith and Jewish cultural practitioner Susan Leviton offered their perspectives on "keeping it real."

The series wrapped up with an open jam session, welcoming all kinds of musicians to share all kinds of music.

Summer 2021 - BRINGING IT HOME... Virtually!

Our BRINGING IT HOME series of Folk Arts Center events showcases artists who practice the amazing variety of traditional arts found in our region. Launching this series during the COVID pandemic required some creativity!
As part of our "Endless Summer 2021 Susquehanna Folk Festival," which was almost entirely virtual, we hosted two events that brought together local artists for an evening of focused conversation. We loved the intimacy of these virtual events, and invite you to check them out on our YouTube channel.
This innovative programming, created during the height of the COVID pandemic, was made possible by CARES Act funding from the National Endowment for the Arts.

Wed, June 23, 2021 - Bringing it Home: The Power of Song

 Bringing it Home: The Power of Song Archived

Three local singers — klezmer, gospel and tamburaši — chat about the powerful role that songs play in our lives. Singing can affirm our beliefs, soothe a restless child, heal a wounded heart, unite a community, and move people to dance with joy. Visit our YouTube channel to see the archived video of this virtual conversation: The Power of Song.

Wed, Aug 11, 2021 - Bringing it Home: Beautiful Gestures

 Bringing it Home: Beautiful Gestures Archived

A classical Indian dancer, an African American quilter, and an artist of hooked rugs: what do they have in common? Three local women featured in our Folk Artists Gallery chat about women's art and the many ways we make meaning with our hands. Visit our YouTube channel to see the archived video of this virtual conversation: Beautiful Gestures.

2020-2021 - ARTIST TO ARTIST Virtual Residencies

Our ARTIST TO ARTIST series, during our challenging 2020-2021 season, created four day-long virtual "artists residencies" in which we paired local traditional artists with nationally and internationally-known performers for a full day of workshops and performances.
This innovative programming, created during the height of the COVID pandemic, was made possible by CARES Act funding from the National Endowment for the Arts.

Sun, Dec 6, 2020 - Artist to Artist Residency: Jewish Musical Traditions

Artist to Artist Residency: Jewish Musical Traditions Artist to Artist Residency: Jewish Musical Traditions Artist to Artist Residency: Jewish Musical Traditions Artist to Artist Residency: Jewish Musical Traditions Artist to Artist Residency: Jewish Musical Traditions Archived

Four FREE workshops exploring Klezmer, the mesmerizing musical tradition of the Ashkenazi Jews of Eastern Europe. Five groundbreaking female Klezmer musicians from around the country joined in this full-day virtual artists' residency. Sessions are archived on our YouTube channel!

  • The Klezmer Awakening brought together violinist Cookie Segelstein and clarinetist Ilene Stahl to explore the revival of Klezmer music in the US.
  • Sing Out! explored several traditional and newly-composed songs with Jewish singers Susan Leviton and Lauren Brody.
  • Klezmer Suffrage, moderated by trumpeter Susan Hoffman Watts, was a fascinating conversation with these women who have crafted lives in the male-dominated world of Jewish music.
  • Whose Song Is This? delved into the wonders of song migration, followed by finale performances by all five artists.

Sat, Feb 27, 2021 - Artist to Artist Residency: Gospel Traditions

Artist to Artist Residency: Gospel Traditions Artist to Artist Residency: Gospel Traditions Artist to Artist Residency: Gospel Traditions Artist to Artist Residency: Gospel Traditions Archived

Two very different gospel music ensembles came together for a full day of exploration and collaboration, performances and presentations in a FREE virtual artists residency. Sessions are archived on our YouTube channel!

  • It's All About the Rhythm featured the Harrisburg area contemporary Gospel ensemble Spiritual Messengers Warriors for God talking about creating fellowship through song.
  • Can You Feel It? featured The Campbell Brothers, a world-reknowned "Sacred Steel" gospel group, talking about the Sacred Steel gospel tradition and what it was like growing up into that tradition.
  • Amazing Grace brought both groups together to discuss intention and innovation in gospel music, and to demonstrate their different approaches to creating music.
  • In Concert showcased The Campbell Brothers (with their full band) performing from their studio in Rochester, NY, and The Spiritual Messengers onstage at Penn State Harrisburg's Kulkarni Theatre.

Sun, Oct 17, 2021 - Artist to Artist Residency: Songs of Ireland

Artist to Artist Residency: Songs of Ireland Artist to Artist Residency: Songs of Ireland Artist to Artist Residency: Songs of Ireland Artist to Artist Residency: Songs of Ireland Artist to Artist Residency: Songs of Ireland Archived

In a FREE all-day artists residency subtitled “Lamentations and Laughter,” ALTAN members Mairéad Ní Mhaonaigh and Dáithí Sproule joined local Irish singer Seamus Carmichael and SFMS's own folklorist Amy Skillman to explore the vibrant traditional songs from the region of Ulster in the North of Ireland. Some sessions are archived on our YouTube channel!

  • Welcome brought all of the artists together into one virtual space.
  • Tragic Little Stories featured Mairéad Ní Mhaonaigh talking about the Gaelic song tradition of her home in County Donegal and about growing up singing in Gaelic. She sang a few of her favorites and taught one phonetically.
  • Comic Songs and Singing featured local Irish singer Seamus Carmichael showing the wryly humorous aspect of Ulster's song tradition, demonstrating how to draw audiences in and make them laugh.
  • Guitar Accompaniment for the Songs of Ulster featured Dáithí Sproule illustrating classic Ulster songs that have become American folk songs, and showing the beauties and common pitfalls in presenting the old songs in this way.
  • Traditional Singing Session brought all three artists together at the end of the day to trade songs and the stories about them.

Sat, Dec 4, 2021 - Artist to Artist Residency: Women’s Music

Artist to Artist Residency: Women’s Music Artist to Artist Residency: Women’s Music Artist to Artist Residency: Women’s Music Artist to Artist Residency: Women’s Music Artist to Artist Residency: Women’s Music Archived

In this FREE virtual artists’ residency, three singer songwriters and came together to tell stories, play songs, and share their experiences. The genre of “Women’s Music,” which all of them have helped to create, literally saved their lives by supporting and empowering them to be their best selves.

Central PA’s own Bobbi Carmitchell (second photo) joined Jamie Anderson (first photo) and Barb Barton (third photo), along with guest moderators (and longtime women's music proponents) Kay Turner and Debra D’Alessandro and SFMS folklorist Amy Skillman, in a day of thoughtful, playful and informative workshops. Sessions are archived on our YouTube channel!

  • Meet the Artists brought all six presenters and participants from near and far into one virtual space.
  • Venues, Views & Pews revealed how Women’s Music creates a culture of support, both for artists to express themselves and for listeners to see themselves in the music.
  • Driving the Message Home illustrated the use of comedy, story and emotion in songs that build a sense of identity and, one neighbor at a time, change the world.
  • Rounding Out the Sound spotlighted some tricks of the singer-songwriter trade: guitar techniques, open tunings and use of rhythm to give songs power and interest.
  • Round Robin Song Circle echoed a beloved tradition from Women's Music festivals: a space to listen, share and honor one another's music.