Sue Demel, a singer-songwriter from the Old Town School of Folk Music in Chicago, will lead a free vocal improvisational and harmony-building workshop on Saturday, Jan. 10, at the Beaumier U.P. Heritage Center. The event begins at 1 p.m. in 105 Cohodas Hall at Northern Michigan University. It is being held in conjunction with the Beaumier Center's exhibit, "Music in the Pines: A History of the Hiawatha Music Festival."
Demel will share improv tips and tricks for one's live performances, as well as ways to employ improv tools to expand written melodies and harmony building. She has devised an 11-point checklist to take the fear out of leaving the melody and finding new inspiration. Students are invited to bring their own songs for in-class examples. Some principles covered during the interactive class include warm-ups, dynamics, scat, call and response, and tempo.
Though schooled in jazz and sought after as a back-up singer, it is Demel's 20+ years as a folk singer in Sons of the Never Wrong that have shaped her holistic philosophy that all music is accessible when approached with authenticity. Her students vary from veteran recording artists to beginning singer/songwriters.