Youth Music Programs


2016 mandolin students performing on stage at the Page-Walker Arts & History Center Garden; at the end of one song, the students jumped, and some appear to be in mid-air in this photo. Foreground: audience members seated in cloth lawn or camp chairs.Kids and people of all ages square dancing in the dance tent at the 2013 Wide Open Bluegrass StreetFest; in the foreground, a girl and boy doe-si-doe - the girl's face is visible, her right arm hooked through a boy's right arm; his back is to the camera. In the background, kids and adults  of varying ages dance, smile, and appear to enjoy the music and festivities. 
Left: Mandolin students perform with instructor Charles Pettee at the culminating concert for the
2016 Bluegrass Camps at the Page-Walker Arts & History Center Garden (photo credit: Brainard Photo) 

Right: Kids learn traditional dance at the 2013 Wide Open Bluegrass festival (photo credit: News & Observer)

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Upcoming Youth Jam Dates

PineCone has a Youth Council to help the next generation find meaningful ways to participate in and build an appreciation for traditional and roots music. Sign up for PineCone's weekly e-mails to keep up with upcoming music programs, or become a PineCone member and have the information mailed to you once a month via PineCone's monthly newsletter, The Traditional Reivew! You can also sign up to receive updates about programs and opportunities for youth musicians!

Calling all youth musicians (fiddle, guitar, mandolin, banjo, & bass) - you are invited to jam with your peers, other kids in the area who enjoy playing the same types of music you do! Songs will be determined depending on the skill levels of the students who come to the event. More experienced music students have the option to come prepared with a song to lead, either an instrumental or a singing song where they sing the verses/chorus, preferably with only 3 or 4 chords throughout (for simplicity in teaching) - this is not a requirement to participate.

These youth jams include some skill building while learning a featured song at the beginning of each jam, followed by playing a variety of tunes together like a regular jam. Participants are also encouraged to bring a prepared song to sing and/or play with the group. The jam room will be open for people visiting Marbles to stop by and listen, but this is a JAM, first and foremost, not a performance.

Marbles will also have a “build your own instrument” station with recycled materials for some younger or non-music-playing kids who might stop by and be interested, so they have a way to participate, too.

Songs played at past youth jams have included:


  • Angeline the Baker (D)
  • Arkansas Traveler (D)
  • Soldiers Joy (D)
  • Whiskey Before Breakfast (D)
  • Liberty (D)
  • Old Joe Clark (A)
  • Cripple Creek (A)
  • Salt Creek (A)
  • Cherokee Shuffle (A)
  • Blackberry Blossom (G)
  • Billy in the Lowground (C)

Songs with Lyrics:

  • Bury Me Beneath the Willow
  • Nine Pound Hammer
  • Long Journey Home
  • I'll Fly Away
  • My Home's Across the Blue Ridge Mountains
  • In the Pines

Newer songs the group has worked:

  • Rabbit Where's Your Mammy (featured song in January 2018)
  • Jingle Bells (featured song in December 2017)
  • Cripple Creek (featured song in November 2017)
  • Old Joe Clark (featured song in October 2017)
  • St. Anne's Reel (featured song in April 2017) - Key of D
  • In the Pines (featured song in March 2017) - Key of G
  • Clinch Mountain Backstep (featured song in Feburary 2017) - Key of A
  • Nine Pound Hammer (featured song in January 2017) - Key of A, Key of C
  • Hot Corn, Cold Corn (featured song in December 2016) - Key of G
  • Down the Road (featured song in November 2016) - Key of A
  • Meet Me By the Moonlight (featured song in March 2016) - Key of G, Key of E
  • (A) Worried Man Blues (featured song in February 2016)
  • (D) Swallowtail Jig
  • (G) June Apple
  • (G) Long Journey Home ($2 Bill)
  • (G) Red Clay Halo

We look forward to continuing to expand PineCone's youth programs to include opportunities year-round!

Performance Opportunities

The Carolina PineCones are a youth bluegrass band whose members (ages 13-17) met through PineCone's summer Jam Camp and year-round youth bluegrass jams. This band rehearses and performs throughout the area. The Carolina PineCones rehearse at least once a month, and often jam together as well. The group is made up of students ages 13-18. All participants are expected to sing lead, sing harmony, lead instrumental material, practice the group's list of around 30 songs, and attend band rehearsals. Let us know if you would like more information about the Carolina PineCones!

Important Dates for 2018 Bluegrass Camps in Cary:

  • Feb. 5, 2018: Pre-registration begins for PineCone members and Cary residents
  • Feb. 19, 2018: General registration begins
  • May 15, 2018: Scholarship application deadline
  • June 18-22, 2018: Beginner and intermediate fiddle; beginner and intermediate songwriting; guitar; mandolin
  • July 30-August 3, 2018: Jam Camp

Scholarships are available, thanks to the Ray Bilger Memorial Scholarship fund. Download the 2018 Scholarship Applicationor contact PineCone at 919-664-8333 x103 or e-mail PineCone to have the form sent to you.

PineCone members who live outside of Cary should contact Theresa Dolan, who can be reached weekdays between 10 a.m.-5:30 p.m. at 919-460-4963. PineCone members can sign up over the phone or in person at Page-Walker beginning Feb. 5, 2018. Theresa will be happy to guide you through the process.

NEW THIS YEAR: The Town of Cary is offering 1-hour supervised lunch for students taking part in half day camps at the Page Walker Arts & History Center. Campers using any part of the supervised lunch pay for the full week. Campers enrolled in full-day camps do not need to enroll in supervised lunch. Campers will not be escorted to or from other facilities. Campers must provide their own lunch. Cost for the week: $15 (PineCone members, Cary residents) or $18 (general).

Registration can be completed online via the Town of Cary's EZWeb registration system; in person at Page-Walker; by phone at 919-460-4963; or by mailing forms and full payment to:

Program Registration
Cary Parks, Recreation & Cultural Resources
PO Box 8005
Cary, NC 27512-8005

PineCone members who are NOT Town of Cary residents must speak directly to Theresa Dolan in order to redeem those benefits—they will not be able to do so by web, by mail, at any other facility, or at the Page-Walker when Theresa is not present. They need to call 919- 460-4963 or come in to the Page-Walker to speak with Theresa during her regular hours – Monday-Friday, 10 a.m.-5:30 p.m. (PineCone will provide the Town of Cary with a list of current members' names.) PineCone members who ARE Town of Cary residents can register through any of the normal registration outlets, and do not need to speak with Theresa.

R=Cary Resident; N=non-Cary Resident; T1 & T3 refer to Wake County track-out schedules

Beginning Bluegrass Fiddle - 8 spaces available
Mon-Fri, Jun 18-22, 2018; 9 a.m.-noon       T1

For campers who have studied violin but are not comfortable with tuning, bowing and finding notes on a fingerboard. Helpful if student can already play a simple song or two. Topics covered include basic bluegrass style and bowing tips and tricks. We will prepare a tune or two for the performance.
Instructor: Pattie Kinlaw
Fees: $93(R or PineCone members) $121(N) (5 classes)

Bluegrass Mandolin - 5 spaces available
Mon-Fri, Jun 18-22, 2018; 9 a.m. - noon p.m.               T1

This camp will challenge both beginner and more experienced mandolin students.  Helpful if campers already know at least G,D, and A chords and can play a simple song.  A great opportunity to learn and improve mandolin technique. We will prepare an arrangement or two for final performance.
Instructor: Charles Pettee
Fees: $93(R or PineCone members) $121(N) (5 classes)

Intermediate Bluegrass Fiddle - 3 spaces available
Mon-Fri, Jun 18-22, 2018; 1-4 p.m.               T1

For campers who have mastered basic fiddle skills (can tune their instruments, keep time, play the principal scales) and already play a few tunes with confidence. Class will challenge campers at their own skill level. We will prepare a bluegrass arrangement or two for the final performance.
Instructor: Pattie Kinlaw
Fees: $93(R or PineCone members) $121(N) (5 classes)

Bluegrass Guitar - FULL - waiting list available
Mon-Fri, Jun 18-22, 2018; 1-4 p.m.       T1

Learn some new tunes this summer! Whether you are starting to explore the guitar or have played for a while, this camp will inspire you. Improve your guitar technique alongside peers with a similar interest in bluegrass music. We will work up a bluegrass arrangement or two for performance.
Instructor: Charles Pettee
Fees: $93(R or PineCone members) $121(N) (5 classes)

Bluegrass Songwriting - Morning and afternoon tracks
Mon-Fri, Jun 18-22, 2018; 112789; 9 a.m.-noon              T1 - FULL - waiting list available
Mon-Fri, Jun 18-22, 2018; 112790; 1-4 p.m.                     T1 - 5 spaces available

Campers will learn about song craft by listening to bluegrass songs, generating song ideas, developing lyrics, and exploring melody and chords to create and arrange an original group song for final performance. Students with songwriting experience will be encouraged to think critically about technique. For all levels of songwriting experience
Instructor: Lynda Dawson
Fees: $93(R or PineCone members) $121(N) (5 classes)

**Each June class is limited to 12 students between the ages of 8 and 16. Students must provide their own instruments. Pen, paper, and a recording device are recommended as well.**
NEW THIS YEAR: LUNCH SIGN-UP - 20 spaces available

The Town of Cary is offering 1-hour supervised lunch for students taking part in a half day camps at the Page Walker Arts & History Center. Campers using any part of the supervised lunch pay for the full week. (Campers enrolled in full-day camps do not need to enroll in supervised lunch.) Campers will not be escorted to or from other facilities. Campers must provide their own lunch.

Instructor: Page-Walker Staff
Fees: $15(R) $18(N)
112807                Mon-Fri                Jun 18-22            12-1 p.m.            T1


Bluegrass Jam Camp (age 10-17) - 16 spaces available
112802          Mon-Fri                       Jul 30-Aug 3         9 a.m.-4 p.m.   T4

For intermediate fiddle, banjo, mandolin, guitar, and upright bass students looking to take their bluegrass music to the next level while learning to jam with others. Learn jam etiquette, back-up, lead, harmony, and improvisation. We’ll jam for friends and family on the final day. Students provide their own instruments.
Instructor: Lynda Dawson/Pattie Kinlaw/Charles Pettee
Fees: $250 (R) $280 (N)         (5 classes)


Scholarships are available to students who could not otherwise afford to attend, thanks to the Ray Bilger Memorial Scholarship. Download the 2018 Ray Bilger Memorial Scholarship application, or contact PineCone at 919-664-8333 x103 or e-mail PineCone to have the form sent to you. 

PineCone would also like to thank Lori and Joanne Bilger for establishing this scholarship to help students participate in future camps. Please contact PineCone at 919-664-8333 or by e-mail if you would like more information or if you would like to contribute.
In 2013, the North Carolina Recreation and Parks Association presented their Arts & Humanities Award to the Town of Cary for the bluegrass summer camp program presented in partnership with PineCone. The bluegrass camps are offered at the Page-Walker Arts & History Center in downtown Cary. Building on the success and popularity of the first three years of the camps, PineCone and the Town of Cary completed our largest camp to date in 2014, and in 2015 expanded the camps to include a separate weeklong jam camp for students ages 10-17. Also in 2015, the PineCone Bluegrass Camps were nominated for an IBMA Momentum Award in the Festival/Event/Venue category.
We are excited to continue to grow youth programming to help the next generation learn about the musical roots of their home state!

PineCone and The Town of Cary Parks, Recreation, and Cultural Resources Department are committed to an inclusive approach to recreation and encourage individuals with and without disabilities to participate together. In order for individuals with disabilities to participate as fully as possible, reasonable modifications will be provided in accordance with the Americans with Disabilities Act. If you have specific questions, please contact Judy Newsome, Specialized Recreation & Inclusion Specialist, by phone at 919-462-2027; or contact Judy Newsome by e-mail.

About the 2018 PineCone Bluegrass Camp Instructors

Mandolin & guitar bluegrass camp instructor; Shady Grove Band founder Charles PetteeCharles Pettee started playing guitar and mandolin at an early age. His approach to the traditional arts of flatpicking and folk singing began during his childhood in Asheville, NC. His distinctive mandolin style, voice, and original compositions are an essential part of the Shady Grove Band, which he co-founded 30 years ago. Pettee has hosted workshops on both guitar and mandolin technique at some of the most prestigious music festivals in the US and Europe (including MerleFest in Wilkesboro, NC and the Walnut Valley Festival in Winfield, KS). He also performs with Iron Mountain Messengers, and Charles Pettee & Folkpsalm, who released their fourth album, Dove on Distant Oaks, featuring all original songs by the group, released in 2014; it's also Pettee's 13th full-length recording project. Pettee also presents school programs called "Hear the Sound," which share the history of southern string music with audiences of all ages and cultural backgrounds. Either solo or in other musical incarnations with The Shady Grove Band or Iron Mountain Messenger, Pettee has performed more 5,000 shows in his many years as a professional musician. Mr. Pettee lives in Chapel Hill, NC with his wife and two boys. Pettee will be the instructor for both the guitar and mandolin camps in June, as well as one of the 2017 PineCone Bluegrass Jam Camp instructors.

Beginner & intermediate fiddle instructor Pattie Hopkins; PineCone Bluegrass Camp

Pattie Hopkins Kinlaw began playing the violin at age four and received her Bachelor's degree in Violin Performance and Suzuki Pedagogue Certification from East Carolina University, studying with Joanne Bath and Ara Gregorian. Kinlaw is an extremely versatile musician with a tremendous talent for fiddling as well as classical violin. She has studied with fiddling legends Bobby Hicks and Mark O'Connor. She is passionate about the education of young fiddlers, and she is certified in the Mark O'Connor American Violin Method. She resided in Asheville, North Carolina and Nashville, Tennessee playing regularly on Broadway while helping to start the Bluegrass Underground Project in McMinnville, TN. Kinlaw has made appearances at a variety of music venues on the East Coast, and she has made special guest appearances with famous and talented musicians including Don Helms, Bobby Osbourne, and Charlie Daniels. She currently holds two private studios in North Carolina and is frequently invited to teach workshops throughout the United States for both fiddling and classical instruction. She performs regularly in the Eastern United States and is currently a member of multiple ensembles including the Trent River Chamber Players; The Long Bay Symphony in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina; bluegrass and Americana projects the Lynda & Pattie duo and The Kickin Grass Band; and Hank, Pattie, & The Current in Raleigh, North Carolina. Kinlaw will be the instructor for PineCone Bluegrass Fiddle Camps, as well as one of the 2017 PineCone Bluegrass Jam Camp instructors.

PineCone Bluegrass Camp Songwriting instructor Lynda DawsonLynda Dawson showcases her true-to-life songwriting, distinct vocals, and tasteful guitar with multiple Raleigh, NC-based bluegrass and Americana projects, the Lynda & Pattie duo, the Kickin Grass Band and her family music project, Little Root. Dawson has been described by PopMatters as writing "distinctive originals…with an ear for a catchy melody as well as interesting turns of phrase," and by Nashville Public Radio as a "truly gifted songwriter who writes intelligently crafted lyrics married to unforgettable melodies." In addition to being a mainstay of the Kickin Grass Band's five albums since 2002, her songs have been recorded by Valerie Smith and Becky Buller, aired on nationally syndicated PBS's Song of the Mountains and NPR's CarTalk, and licensed for various North Carolina-based projects. She's performed at countless festivals, music series, and venues across the U.S. and in Europe, teaches songwriting camps and workshops for kids and adults, was a featured songwriter at the International Bluegrass Music Association Songwriter Showcase in both 2007 and 2012, and was honored to be a judge for the Chris Austin Songwriting Contest at MerleFest in 2013. Dawson also has a passion for bringing music to young children. She performs original and traditional music at schools and kid-centric venues, coaches young adults in songwriting, has taught Music Together classes for children ages 0-5, and she dabbles on the clawhammer banjo and ukulele in her kitchen with her young daughter, Claire. When not playing and writing music she loves to knit, cook for her family and friends, and enjoy rare moments of quiet family time with her husband (and mandolin player) Jamie and their daughter in their 1843 North Carolina farm house just outside the Raleigh city limits. Dawson will teach the songwriting sessions at the 2017 June camp, in addition to being one of the instructors for the 2017 PineCone Bluegrass Jam Camp.


A PineCone member, whose son participated in the guitar track of the inaugural PineCone Bluegrass Camp, wrote of her son's experience,

"My son...attended Bluegrass Camp at the Page-Walker House via Cary Parks & Rec. He enjoyed his experience greatly and developed appreciation for bluegrass under Charles Pettee's wonderful instruction. He is an avid classic rock drummer, guitarist, & trivia buff, and we are so happy with his entrée into this pre-cursor to rock."

And, during the family's summer vacation soon after the camp, her son was picking on the back porch, and when she asked, "Do you now have bluegrass in your blood?" He replied, "Yes, ma'am," then followed up with a nice riff on his acoustic.