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flamenco.jpgThe Statewide Outreach Initiative broadens the impact of folklife programs by reaching diverse audiences around the state through a variety of formats: 

Folk Artist Residency Program

The Lee Boys

The Florida Folklife Program is pleased to present The Lee Boys as part of our Folk Artist Residency series in Tallahassee November 3-4, 2016. As one of America’s finest African-American sacred steel ensembles, The Lee Boys will conduct a series of master classes that will culminate in a free concert at the historic Lee Hall Auditorium at Florida A&M University (FAMU) on November 4, 2016 at 7:00 p.m.

The Tallahassee-based Heather Gillis Band will open with their energetic blend of blues, rock, and soul music setting the stage for The Lee Boys who will be joined by the FAMU Concert Choir directed by Dr. Mark Butler. This collaborative performance will showcase the multi-generational aspects of the sacred steel tradition while highlighting its sacred and secular roots. Expect an electrifying, hand-clapping, and foot-stomping good time!

About the Artists

The Lee Boys, comprised of brothers Alvin, Derrick and Keith Lee and their nephews Roosevelt Collier, Alvin Cordy Jr., and Earl Walker, are one of America’s finest African-American sacred steel ensembles. “Sacred steel” is a type of music described as an inspired, unique form of gospel music with a hard-driving, blues-based beat. The musical genre is rooted in gospel, but infused with rhythm and blues, jazz, rock, funk, hip-hop, country and ideas from other nations. This music form was totally unknown to the world outside of the church until the mid-1990s, when folklorist Robert Stone attended House of God services and recorded the music, as well as its history, contributing the name “sacred steel.” The Lee Boys are part of the fourth generation of musicians performing in this faith and tradition.

The Heather Gillis Band is comprised of Heather Gillis on vocals and guitar, Nyan Feder on saxophone; Kyle Chervanik on bass guitar, and Marlon Williams on drums. Heather Gillis hails from Tampa, but currently attends Florida State University. She is the complete package as a guitar player, lap steel player, singer, and songwriter. At 21 years old, Heather has not only formed a following at a local level, but has played alongside and befriended members of the Allman Brothers, Col Bruce Hampton, Matt Schofield, North Mississippi All-Stars, The Lee Boys, and many more. In addition to her performances with her band, Heather is a full-time member of Butch Trucks’ current band “Butch Trucks and the Freight Train Band.” The Heather Gillis Band’s live shows are energetic and consist of original music as well as rock, blues, and soul standards.

Click here to view Concert Flyer (PDF)

Click here to view Artist Residency Flyer (PDF)

These programs are made possible by a grant from the National Endowment for the Arts, Folk and Traditional Arts Program and with support from the FAMU Department of Music and Institute for Research in Music and Entertainment Studies.

About the Folk Artist Residency Program

The Florida Folklife Program hosts annual Folklife Artist Residencies in Tallahassee featuring Florida's outstanding traditional artists and performers. Residencies consist of free public performances, school presentations, and master classes designed to bring folk and traditional arts into the classroom and to broader audiences. Funded in part by a grant from the National Endowment for the Arts, the Folklife Artist Residency Program began in 2012. Through local partnerships, the program has featured master traditional artists such as Afro-Cuban batá drummer Ezequiel Torres, Afro-Cuban drum ensemble Eru Chambo, dancer Neri Torres, Flamenco guitarist and dancer Paco & Celia Fonta, and master steel pannist Michael Kernahan.

Florida Folk Forums

2016 Folk Forums

The state's official tourism group, VISIT FLORIDA partnered with Florida Folklife Program to host a series of Folk Forums across North Florida. Each program included presentations by local folk artists and cultural workers including Karen weaver Eh Doh Paw, cultural sustainability specialist Amber Dodge, folklorist Merri McKenzie and Janet Moses of the Florida Quilt Trail, arts advocate Robin Reshard and dancer Nielah Black and folk artist and festival organizer Danny Sylvester.

In partnership with the South Florida Folklife Center, Viernes Culturales, and Blick Art Supplies, the Florida Folklife Program presented a showcase of Miami traditions in Little Havana, including Haitian music by Papaloko and Loray Mystik, Puerto Rican music by Plena Es, salsa dancing, painting and tres building demos by Oscar Montes and Leandro Rojas.

About the Folk Forums

Modeled, in part, after the Folklife Program's past Folklife Institutes, the Folk Forums are day-long programs that presents local tradition bearers and teaches community members to identify and utilize traditional cultural resources in their own regions. Participants are recruited from local cultural, historical, and educational organizations; interested individuals are also invited to participate. The Folklife Program holds Folk Forum sessions at libraries, museums, state parks, and related institutions throughout the state. Sessions are intended to teach community members to recognize and locate traditional cultural resources and contacts in their own communities, so that they can document, preserve, and present their local cultural heritage through programming at community venues. Each Folk Forum includes presentations by local tradition bearers, cultural specialists, and folklorists.

More Information

For more information, contact Amanda Hardeman at or 800.847.PAST