(Posted December 3, 2001)

HUNTINGDON. Pa. -- The folk music group Simple Gifts will perform a series of workshops in area schools both for students and for the general public, starting with a workshop for the general public at 7 p.m. Dec. 4 at the Shirley Township Elementary School.

The general workshops are free and open to the public.

"We encourage adults interested in the general workshops to bring instruments, but if people don't play an instrument that's OK, too," says Linda Littleton, one of the members of Simple Gifts. "If there aren't many people with instruments, we will probably have a jam session that is interactive with the audience, where we talk about the music and encourage participation."

The group workshops, sponsored as a Huntingdon-area outreach program by the Juniata College Artist Series, will continue Dec. 5 at 9:05 a.m. at Shirley Township Elementary School and at 10:45 a.m. at Rockhill Elementary School.

Simple Gifts and storyteller Charlotte Blake Alston will perform as part of the college's Artist Series at 7 p.m. March 16, 2002 in Rosenberger Auditorium in Oller Hall.

Two members of Simple Gifts, Littleton and Karen Hirshon, will run the workshops. The workshops intended for students will include a jam session and participation with various percussion instruments. Adults interested in the general workshops are encouraged to bring instruments to the event.

The group will return to area schools to give workshops for the general public at 7 p.m. Feb. 12 at Juniata Elementary School. On Feb. 13, the group will stage workshops for students at 9 a.m. at Huntingdon Area Middle School, followed by another workshop at Juniata Valley Elementary School at 10:30 a.m.

Simple Gifts is a three-woman folk music group specializing in a variety of ethnic folk music, including such styles as klezmer, Gaelic, gypsy and Balkan traditions. The band members are: Linda Littleton, Rachel Hall and Karen Hirshon. Between them, the three women play 12 instruments, including fiddle, concertina, mandolin, banjolin, recorders, hammered dulcimer, guitar and piano.

Contact April Feagley at feaglea@juniata.edu or (814) 641-3131 for more information.