Art Of The Singer/Songwriter Workshop Returns To MACC

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

The Art of the Singer/Songwriter, taught this summer by Singer/Songwriter Butch Ross and Vocalist/Instructor/Performance Coach Trish Ferrell Wileman, is being offered again this fall.

Singers and songwriters of various ages and backgrounds came together for six weeks of instruction this summer, culminating in a final event at Cadence Coffee in July. Songwriters Joshua Tryon, John Harr, Fritsl Butler, Derick Anderson and Bruce Franks became a “family” this summer, gaining knowledge and creativity in their songwriting and confidence in their performing skills, said officials.  

Mr. Franks says, “The Art of the Singer-Songwriter workshop was a great experience for me. The atmosphere of the class was laid-back and comfortable for all participants, regardless of their experience in writing or performing. The insight on songwriting from Butch and the guest performers was excellent and provided new inspiration for sharpening my craft. Add the vocal and performance coaching offered by Trish and this course is a great value for songwriters with a variety of goals. I was able to build confidence in my ability as a writer and performer and now have tools to continue improving. I highly recommend this workshop for anyone who wants to grow as a singer-songwriter and have a lot of fun while doing so!” 

Ms. Butler, songwriting participant, proceeded to win the local Singer/Songwriter Shootout at the Camp House the week following her “graduation” from class. She says, “The workshop was a surprise in the best possible sense--I don't know what I was doing or what I was getting into and I got so much out of the experience. The talent hidden in the nooks and crannies of Chattanooga is astounding. I hope they offer a sequel.” 

Mr. Ross and Ms. Wileman are doing just that.  They will team up to teach this "practical and fun" course for the emerging (or already emerged) singer/songwriter.  

The class takes place at 6:30 p.m. at the Mountain Arts Community Center every Tuesday from Sept. 4-October 16. The class will cover the craft of songwriting (various styles welcome), vocal technique, practical application, guest songwriters, field study, and an opportunity to perform in a coffee house concert at the conclusion of the course. The workshop is open to ages 14 and up. Contact the Mountain Arts Community Center for registration and fee information.

Meet the instructors:

Trish Ferrell Wileman has enjoyed a colorful palate of experience in the arts world. Acting and singing from the age of six, Ms. Wileman has played leading roles in theater, opera, oratorio, and musical theater performances from St. Petersburg, Fla. to Washington, DC. Favorite roles include Papagena in the Magic Flute, Marian in the Music Man, Guinevere in Camelot, and concert performances of Sharon in Fininan’s Rainbow and Comfort O’Connell in No Strings. Her directing credits include Arsenic And Old Lace, Tevya and His Daughters, the Music Man, a five-year stint as the director of Destiny in Dayton, and Artisti Affamati’s debut opera Shanewis as well as the film version of Barber’s A Hand of Bridge.  Ms. Wileman is the director of Jim Pfitzer’s one-man show, Aldo Leopold: A Standard of Change, currently on tour across the U.S., and this summer directed the original work Twisted Roots, written by local poet Peggy Douglas.  She has worked in opera production and arts management for Opera America, Chattanooga Symphony & Opera and Sarasota Opera, and is currently assistant director of music at Signal Mountain Presbyterian. She teaches both voice and acting privately, and is a frequent judge for the NAACP vocal competition as well as other vocal contests, is a conductor and flautist, and performs frequently as both a solo and choral singer. 

Mr. Ross has quickly earned a reputation amongst the dulcimer community as one of the most innovative and exciting players on the scene.  He's opened for wide variety of performers from bluegrass comedy artists like Hayseed Dixie and the Cleverlys to folk greats like Small Potatoes, Bill Staines and Jean Ritchie to instrumental masters like Orrin Starr and Jake Shimabukuro, who said, "Now I know what a dulcimer is supposed to sound like." Additionally the dulcimer has found him invited to play festivals and clubs in England, Scotland, Ireland, Sweden, Belgium, Germany and most recently Budapest, Hungary.  A sought-after songwriter, multi-instrumentalist, vocalist, and producer, Mr. Ross serves as lead guitarist for Amber Fults and the Ambivalent Lovers, and has produced several recordings including Moonshiner’s Atlas, A Long Way From Shady Grove, and most currently People, Places, Things. 

For more information and to register, please call the MACC at 886-1959, or Ms. Wileman at 941.330-5547 or visit

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