Mac Traynhamfiddle, clawhammer banjo, rhythm guitar
Mac Traynham is an accomplished fiddler and banjo player as well as a fine guitar player and singer. Influenced by well known and obscure musicians of the past, Mac has developed a hard-driving style of playing which keeps the rhythm going strongly and delights dancers! He teaches at numerous music camps and has won many ribbons from various Fiddler’s Conventions.
Born and raised encircled by the rich history of mountain music traditions of the Blue Ridge, Jamie Collins carries tradition forward with her own fresh take on bluegrass, old-time, and country music.
“My teaching philosophy is centered around the student. I believe that we as teachers have a responsibility to teach students how to build their self esteem and feel ready to enjoy their learning process. Through teaching music, I have the gift of teaching self confidence, self expression, team building, perseverance, and appreciation for the arts and cultural diversity. Music is a universal language that bridges gaps of diversity. Students and families can experience joy and make memories through cultural experiences that are provided through The Handmade Music School, and I am so thrilled to be a part of that!
Jamie teaches guitar, bass, and beginner to intermediate fiddle with The Handmade Music School. She has worked with children of all ages since graduating from East Tennessee State University in 2012; receiving a Bachelors Degree in Education, and a minor from the Bluegrass Old Time and Country Music Studies.
“I grew up in a musical family and my early memories include spending time with my family and enjoying music. I still very much enjoy that same experience, and through teaching I experience that with other families. Our rich culture here in the Appalachian mountains is something that I feel is worth celebrating and persevering for our future generations.”
Gina has been steeped in the traditions of the music from the Southwest to the Southern Appalachians since she was a young child. Raised in a family of musicians, she developed an affection for the bright, energetic music of these traditions.
Kari Thomas Kovick moved to Floyd in 1999 with her husband and 2 daughters to follow her bliss: to share her favorite children’s music in a community setting where she could grow up alongside kids and their parents. She created Heart of the Child Music Education, a joyful, interactive music program, and has watched it grow organically and persistently since the year 2000. Heart of the Child Music Education began by serving one classroom of Floyd Head Start preschoolers. It now serves as many as 33 classrooms (over 750 children) a year in public and private school settings all over Floyd. Its mission is to not only deliver high quality music education, but also to offer consistent, positive connection for its students’ social and emotional lives as long as they live in Floyd. It uses research based trainings in Music Together®, Education Through Music and Orff Schulwerk to inform its music programming. Heart of the Child Music Education has many fans in the thousands of students, parents, teachers and administrators it has served, and Kari enjoys Rock-Star status when she runs into her 5 and under students in the local grocery store. Kari’s CD, It’s You I Like, was released In 2017 and features the highest quality musicianship for young ears. It’s a fun, eclectic mix of styles for the whole family and teaches awareness of social-emotional awareness about feelings and self regulation. It can be found at The Floyd Country Store and on all online platforms.
Currently performing on mandolin and singing lead and tenor vocals with the Lonesome River Band, Jesse Smathers is an accomplished mandolinist, guitarist, and singer from Eden, North Carolina. Heavily influenced by the music that runs in his family, Jesse has found inspiration and takes pride in his musical family lineage. His grandfather, Harold Smathers, and grand uncle, Luke Smathers, recorded for June Appal and were awarded the North Carolina Folk Heritage Award in 1993 for their contributions to North Carolina Folk Music with the Luke Smathers String Band. In 2009, Jesse won the guitar championship of the Virginia Folk Music Association. He also has won at the Charlie Poole Festival and placed 3rd in guitar at The Old Time Fiddlers Convention in Galax. Jesse began his career as a touring musician with the James King Band in 2010, playing mandolin and singing tenor and high baritone, and later rejoined the band performing guitar and vocals. In 2013, High Voltage, featuring Jesse as guitarist and lead vocalist, won first place in the bluegrass band category at the Galax Old Time Fiddlerʼs Convention. Jesse joined Nothinʼ Fancy and was also inducted into the music fraternity Phi Mu Alpha in 2014. The Lonesome River Band welcomed him to the group as a mandolin player and lead and tenor vocalist in 2015 and Jesse won the 2017 IBMA Momentum Award for Vocalist of the year. He now resides in Floyd, Virginia.
Jason Wheeler has been playing banjo and guitar for over 15 years. His traditional approach to the bluegrass banjo has allowed him to play professionally with Chosen Road, Avery County, and numerous other regional bands. Coming from a musical family, Jason has been surrounded by a variety of music his whole life and wishes to instill a love, as well as and understanding of music into his students. As a professional educator, Jason brings a variety of educational perspectives to teaching the banjo, in the hopes of allowing his students to discover their own style to the bluegrass banjo. Jason now works and resides in Floyd, VA with his wife and three kids.
Stephanie Wolf has been dancing for decades and is excited to offer private, semi private, and small group dance lessons through the Handmade Music School. She is teaching Country/Texas Two-Step, other styles of Two-Step, Cajun, Zydeco, and Waltzing. These lessons will be FUN and ATTAINABLE for all.
“I took my first Waltz class in 1995 and I was hooked! Next came Swing dancing, Square dancing, Contra dancing, Two Step (several styles) Cajun Two Step, and Zydeco dancing. I learned every style I had access to! Dancing is a consistent place of joy and my favorite exercise.”( Yes, it’s great exercise!)
I was a dancer first, and musician second. Playing music gives me an even deeper sense of the rhythm associated with different dances. In my classes I pass on, and emphasize, the importance of hearing the beat in the music. Dancing and music go hand in hand!One of my great joys is to see people laughing, smiling and enjoying exercise that doesn’t feel like exercise! Learning to connect to one another, and the rhythm of the music, through dance is an innate part if our humanity.
Andy has played clawhammer banjo and sung in church since childhood. He has performed and recorded with Mac and Jenny Traynham, the Reed Island Rounders, and the Wolfe Brothers, and has taught at numerous workshops. His music is rooted in the playing of Wade Ward, Abe Horton, and Harold Hausenfluck. Andy teaches both fretted and fretless banjo in traditional Blue Ridge clawhammer and thumb lead styles.
Sophie Moeckel grew up surrounded by music in the Blue Ridge mountains. She fell in love with the community aspect of old time music as a Floyd JAMs (Junior Appalachian Musicians) student, where she later taught fiddle and dance and served as assistant director. She’s been a part of the Handmade Music School team since its beginning, serving in many roles throughout the years including Director of Operations and fiddle teacher and is passionate about passing along Appalachian music and dance traditions. She loves sharing the joy of music by playing for dancers at the Friday Night Jamboree at The Floyd Country Store, jamming and dancing with friends, and most of all teaching and inspiring young people. Sophie has extensive experience teaching music and working with children both in classroom and after-school settings. Sophie is currently pursuing studies in Environmental Education, Craft, and Traditional Music at Warren Wilson College and plays with the Southeastern Western North Carolina Ramblers.
Corbin Hayslettbanjo, old time fiddle, guitar, mandolin, voice
Traditional music has been the mainstay of my from my earliest memories. My Dad taught me to love and sing like The Stanley Brothers while I was in a car seat and my mom sat me on the front-row pew during choir rehearsals. The music of Virginia’s mountains has been passed down in my family for nine generations. I’ve had the honor of playing mountain music in three hemispheres and on stages ranging from the Floyd Country Store to the Grand Ole Opry at the Ryman Auditorium. It is my honor to share my love of our music through the Handmade Music School. Lessons offered in banjo (clawhammer, old-time finger styles, bluegrass), old-time fiddle, guitar (lead and rhythm), mandolin, voice, hambone, jaw harp, general shenanigans and tomfoolery.
Jared Boyd grew up in the small community of Laurel Fork in Carroll County, Virginia and spent the early years of his life surrounded by old-time music on both sides of his family. He learned clawhammer banjo from Ray Chatfield through the Junior Appalachian Musicians (JAM) program as well as from his grandfather Jimmy Boyd, co-founder of the Franklin County, VA old-time dance band, The Dry Hill Draggers. His playing has also been influenced by local players of past and present such as Kyle Creed, Tommy Jarrell, Brien Fain, Emily Spencer, and Eddie Bond to name a few. Jared has won 1st place in clawhammer banjo competitions at all of the fiddlers conventions around the Galax and surrounding areas, including winning the blue ribbon four times at the Galax Old Fiddlers Convention and Best All Around Performer at the 2022 and 2023 Galax conventions. Jared currently plays with the Twin Creeks Stringband, 1st place winners of the Old-Time Band competition at the 2022 and 2023 Galax Old Fiddlers Convention.
Jared is only available on a case-by-case basis for lessons with intermediate and advanced players. Please reach out to (540) 251-2571 or email@example.com before booking.
Jason Dilgmandolin, fiddle, bass, clawhammer banjo
Jason is a respected interpreter of Appalachian dance tunes and ballads. He played banjo in the winning band in the traditional band contest at the Appalachian String Band Festival in Clifttop W.V. in 2009; he took first in banjo and third in fiddle the Fiddles and Folklife Festival at Warren Wilson College in the spring of 2005; and played guitar behind fiddler David Bass in the first-place old time band at the Tazewell County Fiddlers Convention in the summer of 2006. He was a member of Colorado’s favorite old-time band High on the Hog, and served as an adjunct faculty banjo instructor for Naropa University. In 2023 he played bass in the 4th-place band at Clifftop, and mandolin in the 7th-place band at Galax. Jason also serves as the managing editor of the California Bluegrass Association’s monthly publication, the Bluegrass Breakdown.