Common Ground on the Hill: Traditions Weeks

Hot Tuna Performs at the Common Ground on the Hill Festival.

Traditions Week is run by Common Ground on the Hill every summer at McDaniel. Artists, musicians, and others come from around the country and even around the world to perform, teach, discuss, and learn about traditional arts, expanding the experiences and views of the people that attend. The best part for McDaniel students: you can get credit for attending. An information session will take place on Thursday, April 24, 2014 from 4 to 5pm in Hill 104.

This year’s Tradition Week offers classes on how to play the fiddle, banjo, harp, and more, along with classes on songs and songwriting, dance and movement, and the creation of various forms of art. There are opportunities to observe canoe construction, discuss race and war, and attend concerts, all right on campus. There are two Traditions Weeks, one from June 29-July 4 and the second from July 6-11.

Common Ground originated when Walt Michael returned to McDaniel after touring the world as a folk musician for 25 years in order to “give back” to the community. For him, Common Ground is a program that has too many aspects to pick a favorite, but the “main engine is Traditions Week and the Common Ground on the Hill Festival,” both of which take place on campus in July.

“McDaniel students should attend to broaden and deepen the spectrum of their academic experience. They will meet and learn from blues, jazz, Latino, Celtic, bluegrass and jazz musicians, Native American, Appalachian, Scandinavian and Russian artists, and on and on….Many would say that the best part of the day are the late-night informal jam sessions,” said Michael.

Michael said many students enjoyed “fir[ing] the Cherokee pottery that they made during the week,” or attending lectures and writing classes that were different than any classes at McDaniel.

Anyone interested in Traditions Week or the Common Ground Festival on July 12-13 can visit and/or attend an interest meeting on Thursday, April 24 from 4 to 5pm in Hill 104. You can also visit the Common Ground offices in the basement of Thompson Hall.


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