At the North Carolina Folk Festival in downtown Greensboro Sept. 9-11, one of the most exciting events is the “Not Your Average Folk Contest” that allows local artists to audition for a spot on one of the festival’s main stages.
Last year, a UNCG School of Music faculty group won the contest – the Lorena Guillén Tango Ensemble, led by musicologist Lorena Guillén. This year, several Spartans are in the running. Four finalist groups have advanced to the final round, and two of them have strong UNCG connections.
UNC Greensboro School of Music students Anna Vtipil, Gracie Zielinski, Hanna Fishastion, UNCG alumna Lora Mouna, and UNC Asheboro’s Clara Lampkin have made it to the finals as a group.
The group performs Vtipil’s original music throughout the Greensboro area. Vtipil studies composition under Professor Mark Engebretson. She says her music explores the vulnerability of fully expressing oneself through intimate lyrics, and harmonically rich and rhythmically flowing textures.
This locally prominent folk and string band includes alumni Dan Clouse, Mark Dillon, and Christen Blanton Mack. Dillon and Mack are both School of Music faculty members, and Mack directs UNCG’s Old-Time Ensemble. Their traditional and original music explores the old-time, early bluegrass, blues, and folk music traditions of the North Carolina Piedmont.
The third finalist is Discount Rothko, a duo that blends American, Irish, and British folk with contemporary and experimental music. The fourth competitor is the Travis Williams Group, which creates music with the traditional Arabic musical instrument known as the oud.
Voters can watch all their audition performances and cast their votes here. Voting closes at Noon on Friday, July 22.
The NC Folk Festival will run September 9-11 and features performers with styles from all around the world. They will perform on stages around downtown Greensboro.
The NC Folk Festival launched the “Not Your Average Folk Contest” in 2021. It promotes a variety of musical genres and artists from across the state. See last year’s winners in the Lorena Guillén Tango Ensemble in the video below.
Learn more about the School of Music
Long recognized as one of the top music institutions in the United States, the UNCG School of Music offers the only comprehensive degrees in music education and music performance in the State of North Carolina, from the undergraduate level through doctoral study. Our outstanding facilities, world-class faculty, and numerous ensemble experiences foster an environment of artistic and academic success.
Story by Janet Imrick and Susan Kirby-Smith, University Communications
Photography courtesy of Anna Vtipil and The Zinc Kings
Videography by Grant Evan Gilliard; interviewing by Susan Kirby-Smith, University Communications