Passing the torch of American roots music to the next generation is an important part of the mission of Sisters Folk Festival (SFF). That effort will fill Sisters High School with music on Friday, September 5, as the 19th annual festival gets underway.
Up to five of the festival's artists and bands will perform in a dual-school assembly on that Friday. For the first time, the festival is bringing middle school students to the high school for the 75-minute music assembly.
"Bringing the schools together is a great way to build cohesion with the students and the staff in celebrating the Sisters Folk Festival," said SFF Creative Director Brad Tisdel.
The day's musical endeavors include in-class sessions, which give students an opportunity to be mentored by nationally touring artists. Tisdel says that the idea is to create "a tangible experience that can inspire students."
It's not just about musical inspiration, Tisdel noted. The artists the festival brings to town have made a commitment to pursue a passion - and that has broad application.
"It shows (students) that they can be themselves and pursue what they're passionate about - no matter what that passion is," he said.
The artists coming to the high school are Devon Sproule; Steve Poltz; Heather Maloney & Darlingside; Phoebe Hunt and Connor Forsyth; and Qristina & Quinn Bachand. Quinn Bachand is high-school-age himself, at 17.
Sara Hickman will perform at the elementary school.
The festival has been doing this kind of outreach into the schools since 2000, and many artists are themselves so inspired by it that they maintain connections over the years with the schools and individual students. And the outreach brings local kids into the folk festival community.
"We have the participation of young people in the Sisters Folk Festival, and that's one of the goals of the organization," Tisdel said.
The 2014 Sisters Folk Festival is sold out. For more information visit www.sistersfolkfestival.org.