Ballads from Home: An Apprenticeship with Bobby McMillon


William Ernest Ritter ()

In 2019, I received the In These Mountains Folklife Apprenticeship to study with highly regarded ballad singer Bobby McMillon. When the Covid-19 pandemic developed, Bobby and I were already working on ways that aging performers with mobility and health issues could still share their work with the wider digital world. In this presentation, I will (1) briefly describe how the apprenticeship allowed me to facilitate the transition of his life's work to the digital realm and (2) perform a short selection of McMillon’s folk songs and Child ballads (eg. "Mollie Vanders," "Look For Me," "Reynard the Fox.")

Part of 22-07 Scotland to NC Mountain Community Values and Fears Inside Out in Literature, Ballads, Black Fiddler Dance Music, and Apprentices and Mentors (with media and music), Tuesday, October 19, 11:15 am–12:45 pm