18th Annual Woodchopper's Ball

Western Reserve Folk Arts Association welcomes

18th Annual Woodchopper's Ball

Sat, December 8, 2018

Doors: 6:00 pm / Show: 7:00 pm

$30.00 Advance & $34.00 at the Door

18th Annual Woodchopper's Ball
18th Annual Woodchopper's Ball
Nine of the best finger-style guitar players in America come together at The Kent Stage for the 18th Annual Woodchoppers Ball. The Woodchoppers Ball is a benefit for the Northeast Ohio Coalition for the Homeless. All seats reserved.

Participants include some of the best acoustic guitarists in the World including

Muriel Anderson
Suzi Brown
Michael Kelsey
Christie Lenée
Bill Russell
Mark Sganga
Jesse Smith
Kelly Zullo
and the founder and producer of the event - Brian Henke!
Michael Kelsey
Michael Kelsey
Michael Kelsey brings a free-flowing improvisational style to the guitar that involves every inch of his instrument. From his funky, percussive playing style that conjures an image of a one-man version of STOMP to lush instrumentals reminiscent of Michael Hedges/Phil Keaggy, his performance blends multiple musical genres and vocals along with some techno fun to create a sound all his own. He is the winner of Guitar Center’s “Guitarmageddon”. Chosen from among 3,000 entrants the singer-songwriter performed at Eric Clapton’s Crossroads 2004 where he shared the stage with many legendary guitarists. Through out a performance Michael may make use of technology, his improv skills, objects in the room, and audience interaction to make music for the ears but more importantly a musical experience for the senses..

“Michael uses an arsenal of electronics, his Taylor 615, and his voice to create layers of sonic adventures that challenge the limits of acoustic guitar music.” -Taylor Guitars
Muriel Anderson
Muriel Anderson
One of the world’s foremost fingerstyle guitarists and harp-guitarists, Muriel Anderson is the first woman to have won the National Fingerstyle Guitar Championship. An engaging performer, her obvious joy of music, humor, and facility across musical genres is revered by guitarists and audiences worldwide. She has recorded with country legend Chet Atkins, performed in New York with Les Paul, at Chicago’s Orchestra Hall with the Chicago Symphony and in Tennessee with the Nashville Chamber Orchestra. She is host and founder of Muriel Anderson’s All Star Guitar Night®, the premiere music event at the semi-annual NAMM music trade shows, and also the founder of the Music for Life Alliance charity. She is a prolific composer of music on guitar and harp guitar, and tours year round in North America, Europe and the Far East.

Her unique approach to the instrument virtually transforms the guitar into a lyrical choir, then a marching band, then a Japanese koto, then a Bluegrass band, one minute launching into a Beatles tune and the next, Chopin’s Minute Waltz. Recently she has teamed up with Germany’s top guitar duo, TIERRA NEGRA, adding a new dimension and excitement to her music.

Muriel Anderson enjoys giving guitar workshops, sponsored by her new GHS Signature strings. She has released numerous books and instructional DVDs published by Hal Leonard, Mel Bay, Truefire, and Zen-On in Japan, and was a bronze level winner of Acoustic Guitar’s 2009 reader’s choice award for “best classical guitarist.” She received a degree in music from DePaul University and went on to study with classical virtuoso Christopher Parkening and with Nashville legend Chet Atkins.
Brian Henke
Brian Henke
Brian Henke composes and performs his music like a painter putting images on canvas, a kind of sonic shaman, drawing his inspiration from the world around him. An avid hiker, he often brings his guitar along to create a spontaneous response to his outdoor settings. Mother Earth (Terra) as artist has given an immense living gallery from the humbling spectacle of her natural wonders to the simple, beauty of a treetop against a blue sky. Her majestic legacy and the magical feeling of awe and peace inspire the compositions of this award winning virtuosic fingerstyle/harp guitarist/ singer songwriter

Brian’s seven instrumental solo guitar CD’s, “Many Waters”, “Love Song for Terra”,”Force of Nature”, “The Nature of Light”, “Tree of Life”, “A Child’s Garden” and “Seven Magic Spells” are a cornucopia of sonic vistas. He celebrates the seasons, a Grand Canyon sunset, the fireside magic of an American shaman, playful waterfalls, the color of the wind and the light of dreams to name a few.
He has just released his first vocal album “Sun and the Moon and the Stars” and will be also working on his next instrumental guitar album “Treehouse in the Stars”.

He recorded “A Crown of Stars” with Blue Feather, Dunlap and Henke, a CD that made it into the top 10 in June of 2007 on the International New Age Radio Charts and is the producer of “The Woodchoppers Ball”, a double CD featuring 26 of the worlds best acoustic guitarists released to benefit Northeast Ohio’s homeless and is the promoter of the annual benefit concert of the same name, having recently celebrated it’s 14th year.

His unique guitar style has been called everything from Folk to New Age to Neo-Classical to Pastoral or as Brian likes to call it “a big stewpot of everything, stirred up, simmered and served to taste.” His music appeals to anyone who likes their music lyrical, thought provoking and performed with virtuosity. Through it all is an undercurrent of spirituality and mysticism that Brian says is very much a part of the creative process. Because of this he has received radio air play all over the world on shows as varied as WKSU’s “Folk Alley” and John Dilberto’s “Echoes”. He has also shared the bill or performed with acts as diverse as “Yes”, “The Strawbs”, “ Bill Frisell” “Linda Ronstadt”, “Glass Harp”, Wendy Rule, Steve Morse”, Yngvie Malmsteen”, “Robin and Linda Williams”, “Richie Havens”, “John Prine” Christine Lavin”, “Dar Williams” ”The Kingston Trio”, ”Alison Brown, ”Adrian Belew”, ”Spiro Gyra, Dar Williams, and many of the best acoustic guitarists in the world including “Andy McKee”, “Pete Huttlinger”, “Phil Keaggy”, ”Alex DeGrassi”, ”Stephen Bennett”, ”John Doan”, ”Beppe Gambetta”, Doug Smith”, ”Dan Crary”, Laurence Juber and many, many others.

A winner of many acoustic and electric guitar awards, he has also been a finalist in the prestigious National Fingerstyle Contest in Winfield, Kansas, the National Guitarmageddon regional finals in Boston and in New Age Reporters Top 10 for 2006 and 2010.
“Brian’s fretwork is masterful, elaborate and he makes every note count…His compositions are harmonious, sometimes complicated, but always engaging…Brian Henke’s music is organic, mesmerizing and best of all magic.” – RJ Lannon New Age Reporter

Contact Brian Henke at brianhenke9@att.net or visit www.brianhenkeguitarist.com
Mark Sganga
Mark Sganga
Mark Sganga's finger style guitar weaves a rich tapestry of beautiful melody, dynamic rhythm, & imaginative improvisation. Fusing influences from South America & around the world, Mark creates an entrancing travelogue, as an instrumentalist and a singer/songwriter.
The 2009 winner of The Int'l Finger Style Guitar Championship, Mr. Sganga has enthralled audiences from Stockholm to Kuala Lumpur. He recently headlined at the Cape May Jazz Festival in New Jersey, & at the Thredbo jazz festival in Australia. Mark has appeared in NYC at Iridium, Dizzy's Club Coca Cola, & S.O.B.'s, to name just a few. Sganga has toured & recorded with Indian violin virtuoso Dr. L. Subramaniam (alongside Larry Coryell & Herbie Hancock.) Mark's performed all over the US, including a Santa Cruz, CA concert opposite the legendary Taj Mahal.
Kelly Zullo
Kelly Zullo
Cleveland based musician Kelly Zullo has been around the world playing music since the late 90's. Moving briefly to NYC, Europe & Nashville, as well as experiencing great wanderlust, this lyricist and guitarist molds the gypsy-esque mantra with philosophical bite over a riotous acoustic guitar.
Not often has a more energetic acoustic music emerged which features a female guitarist shredding acoustic guitar riffs over a percussive bang. Recently winning the International Acoustic Music Award for "Best Female Artist, comparisons from Ani Difranco to Kaki King are drawn.
Jesse Smith
Jesse Smith
Hear what fingerstyle guitarist Jesse Smith has to say about his Bob Thompson guitar. Jesse's guitar of choice is a BTO size Thompson; a guitar that's quickly become known as a "little guitar" with a big sound! Find out more at www.bobthompsonguitars.com
Suzie Brown
Suzi Brown is a well traveled and accomplished singer/songwriter, acoustic instrumentalist, and session musician based out of Harrisburg, PA. Having worked as a studio artist, singer/songwriter, and touring musician in many foreign nations she gained experience in connecting and communicating to a diverse crowd. Suzi's guitar work can be found and heard throughout the world on several different projects.



An innovative unconventional approach to the guitar is a signature trademark to Suzi's live performance. Suzi is constantly reinventing her style and approach to playing the guitar. From the gained skills she has had as a session player, Suzi has learned how to accompany other artists not only in volume and control but in musical input for live and recorded accompaniment. Having also studied music abroad, she brings her ethnomusicology background into her melodic riffs, creating versatility in her sound.


Suzi began her independent career in the United States after coming off of a band tour from the East coast of Australia. Immediately she took on working as a session player backing other artists in the studio, and also developing her own craft as a singer/songwriter and performer. Her career has truly developed, as her hard work has paid off with the high profile gigs she has been now landing.


Open, honest, creative, authentic and genuine describes the approach that Suzi has to her live performance, as well as the character qualities she has when working with other industry professionals. Inspired by singer/songwriters as well as storytellers Suzi's performances are very personal and memorable, as she remains vulnerable and truthful for each performance. Suzi will take you around the world and even to your own backyard to where you are presently with her memorable melodies and truthful lyrics.


Setting herself apart from most singer/songwriters and performers, Suzi is taking the unconventional and creating the conventional when it comes to venues. Suzi has been found playing in a gay bar in Bangkok Thailand as a venue to playing out on the sunny beaches of Byron Bay Australia, to playing in a prison in Central Pennsylvania. As a musician she has truly set herself apart in taking music where no other musician has ventured to go!
Bill Russell
Bill Russell
William Henry Russell is an award winning classical / fingerstyle guitarist, conservatory trained classical musician, and an established composer and arranger. He is the 2009 Gamble Rogers Fingerstyle Guitar Champion, the 2018 Indiana Fingerstyle Guitar Champion, and the third place finalist at the 2018 International Fingerstyle Guitar Championship held in Winfield Kansas “Bill” received a Bachelor’s Degree in Music from The Boston Conservatory and a Master’s Degree in Music from Florida State University. Performing in countless churches, cafes, concert halls, and festivals he has honed his craft while entertaining audiences for almost 40 years. Bill has perfected his own distinctive solo guitar style that bears a deeper understanding of the music conveyed through an impeccable classical technique. He enters into every performance with this J.S. Bach quote in his heart and mind: “The aim and final end of all music should be none other than the glory of God and the refreshment of the soul.”
Christie Lenee
Christie Lenee
2017 International Fingerstyle Guitar Champion Christie Lenée is a captivating performer with a devoted following among instrumental, folk-pop and rock band audiences. Combining guitar mastery, contemporary singer/songwriter and a passion for storytelling, she thrives on bringing people together through the language of music

Christie’s unique guitar work and profound instrumental compositions are well described as ‘Michael Hedges meets Joni Mitchell and Dave Matthews.’ Among the vast community of Fingerstyle and tapping guitarists, her niche is the integration of melodic pop lyricism with catchy hooks that excite both modern commercial listeners and classic purists. With a menu of percussive and sonic effects, and larger than life sounding instruments, her solo shows embody layers of orchestral elements with a wide array of dynamics and harmonic textures.
Venue Information:
The Kent Stage
175 East Main
Kent, OH, 44240
http://www.thekentstage.com/