Sisters Folk Festival is celebrating the 2019 Americana Project release along with the completion of 40 hand-made guitars and ukuleles through the Americana Luthier Program.

On Wednesday, June 12, students of the Sisters Americana Project, led by Rick Johnson, will be releasing their 16th full-length record, “There and Back,” with songs written and recorded by students of Sisters High School. The concert is at 6:30 p.m. at The Belfry in Sisters.

In the Americana Project, the educational outreach program of Sisters Folk Festival, Sisters High School students learn to play guitar, write and perform songs, and are introduced to the science and art of audio engineering. The students work with engineer and producer Brent Alan to learn recording techniques, including how to collaborate with friends and fellow musicians. The collaborative nature of music-making has been nurtured through projects in class, and in the Americana Song Academy for Youth, where many of the students perform with peer musicians and students from other schools.

One song in particular, “From You and Me,” was written by California songwriter Keith Greeninger and students in the program at the 2018 Song Academy for Youth. The song demonstrates co-writing as a possibility with guest artists who tour and perform nationally. Greeninger engaged studio musicians to record other musical parts including drums, piano, and guitar, with the students in Sisters finishing the vocal tracks this spring with Alan.

This year’s recording showcases the talent of these young writers and artists. It is both a celebration of their work, and a final send-off for senior students. It also features the artwork of graduating senior Mia Burton, who created the original painting on the album cover. The recording opportunity is designed to teach students how to record, to provide them with experience in a professional studio, and to create a way to share their work publicly.

Suggested donation for the CD Release Concert is $15 for adults, $10 for students (at the door only – no advance sales), with this year’s CD included in the donation. Doors open at 6:30 p.m. and the concert begins at 7 p.m. The Belfry is located at 301 E. Main Ave.

On Monday, June 17, the Americana Luthier Program is celebrating the completion of 25 handmade guitars and 15 ukuleles. The Luthier Program is a collaboration between Sisters Folk Festival and the Sisters School District. The program, which was started in 2006 by then-Breedlove luthier Jayson Bowerman and Sisters High School teacher Tony Cosby, instructs students in the age-old craft of building acoustic musical instruments.

The guitar-building program is still led by Tony Cosby, the engineering and woodworking instructor at Sisters High School, with current support from Ed Fritz, Kerry Bott, and many other dedicated volunteers. The guitars are hand-built from start to finish, with students working on the CNC machine to create their own headstock and rosette designs, which make them individually more distinct.

The ukulele program is taught by Bill MacDonald of Kona Breeze Ukuleles, with support from David Perkins, Marcy Edwards and dedicated volunteers.

“Students learn many life lessons, and the project acts as a challenge in learning patience and resiliency while also learning career-related woodworking skills. The Americana Luthier Project and the recording/engineering program demonstrates why arts programming, coupled with integrated core curriculum, makes Sisters schools special,” said Brad Tisdel, creative director for Sisters Folk Festival.

The Americana Luthier Showcase will be held at 5:30 p.m. in the Sisters High School lecture/drama room and is free to the public.

The Americana Luthier Project and the creation of an annual Americana Project CD are made possible through donations and grants, and the community and artist supported fundraising event My Own Two Hands.

For information on the Americana CD Release Concert, Luthier showcase, Festival tickets, or becoming an SFF volunteer, visit www.sistersfolkfestival.org, or contact SFF at info@sistersfolkfestival.org or 541-549-4979.