Winter School 2021

Carla Gover low resBIG NEWS!  The Cowan Community Action Group and CCMMS Artistic Director Carla Gover are making big plans for our first Cowan Creek Mountain Music WINTER SCHOOL.  You can look forward to 12 weeks of live online classes for all levels starting January 4, 2021.  Tuition is only $50 and young folks age 18 and under attend FREE!  We are very grateful to the Berea College Appalachian Fund’ s new Folk Arts Program for giving us this opportunity to brighten the winter darkness with joyful Kentucky tunes and storytelling!


Story Threads from the Appalachian Mountains:

The Storytelling Classes’ videos are here and accessible to all!  Each Sunday at 7:00pm a new video will be added to the CCMMS You Tube site. The series explores the diverse cultures which have shaped mountain life.  Share these with a young person in your life and enjoy them yourself.

Sunday January 3rd- Angie DeBord tells a story from Scotland. Click here
Sunday January 10th-  Octavia Sexton shares a folktale from her Rockcastle County grandparents.  Click here
Sunday, January 17th-  Connie Owens shares stories from the African-American mining camp of Lynch, Kentucky.  Click here
Sunday, January 24th-  Jimmy Vincent Mongiardo tells about Italian immigrants and their stonemasonry in east Kentucky.  Click here
Sunday, January 31st-  The Dawahares of Syria make their way as pack peddlers through the early coal fields.  Click here
Sunday, February 7th-  Ronnie Patrick searches for his Cherokee ancestors.  Click here

Meet our Winter School 2021 Faculty!


Jesse WellsJesse Wells (Advanced Fiddle  Sorry, Jesse’s class is fullfrom Johnson County, Kentucky first learned fiddle from his father Jamie.  He graduated with a degree in guitar performance from Morehead State University and now teaches at MSU’s Kentucky Center for Traditional Music.  Jesse is a versatile multi-instrumentalist who has played in a number of old time, bluegrass and rock bands; currently he plays bluegrass with the Wooks and tours with singer/songwriter Tyler Childers.

Blakely BurgerBlakeley Burger (Intermediate Fiddle) has studied fiddle, guitar and mandolin for 15 years. She has performed at venues including the Kentucky Center for the Arts, the Norton Center for the Arts, the Lexington Opera House, the Brown Theatre and the Country Music Hall of Fame.  Blakeley made her international debut in 2018 when she performed as part of a Bluegrass trio at La Universidad del Bosque in Bogotá, Colombia.  She tours with the Tin Whiskey Sisters and performs locally with Yapa! and Hollow Bone.

nathan kiserNathan Kiser (Beginning Fiddle) from Carter County, Kentucky is a multi-instrumentalist who teaches for  MSU’s Center for Traditional Music.  With MSU’s Mountain Music Ambassadors he has performed as near as Appalshop and the Carter Family Fold, and as far as China.  Nathan has also appeared on PBS’s Song of the Mountains, Red Barn Radio and the Woodsongs Radio Hour. He performs with the New Beckham County Ramblers.


36427085_1853296518063096_6993387508822179840_nJohn Haywood (Advanced Banjo) is an artist and banjo player from Floyd County, Kentucky.  He attended the Old Regular Baptist Church with his papaw, where he heard him sing the old unaccompanied songs of Zion.  He was a Kentucky Folklife apprentice to Knott County banjoist George Gibson.  John has performed with the Lee Sexton Band, the Traveling Snakes, Rich & the Po’ Folk, and the Golden West Cowboys from the Golden West.

Local HoneysMontana Hobbs (Beginning/Intermediate Banjo) grew up in Lee County, Kentucky amid a community which instilled an early love of music and storytelling.  She studied string music and songwriting at MSU’s Center for Traditional Music, and graduated with a BA in traditional music in 2015. Montana performs widely with Linda Jean Stokley as the Local Honeys. Their latest recording on JuneAppal is The Gospel.


Linda Jean Stokely (Flat Pick Guitar  Sorry, Linda Jean’s class is full) is a native of Woodford County, Kentucky and is a versatile multi-instrumentalist. She is a graduate of Morehead State University, where she earned both a Bachelors of Music in Jazz Studies and in Traditional Music.  As the Local Honeys she and Montana have performed widely at music festivals in the US and Europe.

MOUNTAIN DULCIMER (Sorry, Sarah’s class is full.  DUE TO POPULAR DEMAND we have started an overflow list for this class, and if we get sufficient numbers of interested students, we will do our best to add another. If you’re interested in being added, please send an email to with the subject line DULCIMER.)

Sarah MorganSarah Kate Morgan (Mountain Dulcimer) is a native of East Tennessee.  At 18, Sarah placed 1st at the 2012 National Mountain Dulcimer Championships held in Winfield, KS. In 2019 she graduated from MSU with degrees in Traditional Music and Appalachian Studies. She is Folk Arts Educator for the Hindman Settlement School were she coordinates the Pick & Bow afterschool music program.


Randy WilsonRandy Wilson from Leslie County, Kentucky, is a talented multi-instrumentalist, dance caller and story teller.  He recently retired after decades of engaging public school kids in Leslie and Knott Counties with traditional and home made music, storytelling and dance.  Randy has also taught at Hindman’s Family Folk Week.


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