Charles Pettee - Hear the Sound

Charles Pettee - Hear the Sound

Charles Pettee, guitar and mandolin-wielding songwriter from Asheville, NC, loves sharing not only the catchy rhythms of NC Bluegrass and Folk music, but also the segregation-defying stories behind this culturally diverse tapestry of sounds. Transitioning from fronting Chapel Hill, NC’s world-traveling Bluegrass band The Shady Grove Band for over 25 years, Mr. Pettee has become an accomplished teaching artist and music educator whose programs and residencies are in high demand throughout North and South Carolina. In addition to in-person programs, he is excited about using digital platforms to carry his musical message to an even wider audience. Pettee offers several age-adjusted presentations that align with NC Essential Standards for both Music and Social Studies for grades preK-2, 3-5, 6-8, and 9-12, as well as adults. He performs at festivals and special events with some of NC’s finest acoustic musicians, including his son, guitar player Jackson Pettee, under the name Slippery Hill. Pettee’s group FolkPsalm performs beautifully arranged settings of Pettee’s original Psalm settings. That group now boasts four full length albums. Pettee has logged over 6,000 performances over the course of his career, and has recently begun work on his 14th CD/album.


  318 Burris Place, Chapel Hill, NC 27516



Bluegrass Stomp (Grades 3-5)

Program description

Charles Pettee’s “Bluegrass Stomp” (grades 3-5) is a romp through the musical styles from around the world that make up North Carolina Folk and Bluegrass music.. This informative and interactive show combines Charles Pettee’s experience in over 5,500 performances from all over the US and Europe, with his blazing skills on the mandolin, guitar, banjo and harmonica, to delight students and teachers alike with a whirlwind review of musical styles from Africa to Europe to our own back yards! Addressing both Music and Social Studies Essential Standards, Mr. Pettee’s stories and anecdotes about the cultures and places of origin of the various instruments he plays make an excellent complement to the study of NC history. Students will hear Irish Jigs, Spanish Flamenco, Gospel, Southern Blues, as well as Bluegrass, as Pettee demonstrates each instrument in turn. Call-response singing, clapping on beat, Q & A, and making up a chorus are some of the many ways Mr. Pettee involves his audience in the show. The topics of immigration, slavery, and the Civil War make up the some of the social factors behind the amazing tapestry of music we call Bluegrass, and Charles Pettee weaves this information into his presentation with grace and humor. All are invited to “own” a portion of this unique NC style of music! “What a wonderful way to experience the many cultural influences of our southern heritage!” (Norma McDonald, Principal, N. Duplin Elementary)

Booking / scheduling contact

Charles Pettee

   (919) 623-1438

Program detail
Artistic discipline: Music
Cultural Origin: African, American, European
Program type: Assembly/Performance, Out-of-School-Time, Virtual/Online Program, Workshop
Population served: Grade 3, Grade 4, Grade 5
Subject: History, Music, Social Studies / History
Bilingual: No
Available dates:

Year-round on a first-come, first served basis

Available times:

At the convenience of the presenter, first-come, first served basis

Length of program: 45 minutes (generally)
Space / technical requirements:

10′ by 15′ performance space, one six-foot table, general stage lighting, (when possible). Artist brings complete sound system included in the fee.


Gym, cafetorium, multi-purpose room, music room, classroom, library – any space determined by the presenter to be adequate for the audience

Fees / Ticketing:

One show = $550.00 (including sound system and travel)
Two shows, same location = $850.00 (including sound system and travel)


NC Standard Course of Study:

R6: “Assess how point of view, perspective, or purpose shapes the content and style of a text. ” Throughout his presentations, Mr. Pettee strives to offer examples of how a culture’s music and history, (be it West African, European, or American), cause the music to sound the way it does. (example: the Guitar, a Spanish musical instrument has a certain sound that supports Flamenco dance. Appalachian clog dancing calls for a different style and rhythm, which the guitar, played with a flat-pick, accomplishes nicely as well). SL4: “Present information, findings, and supporting evidence such that listeners can follow the line of reasoning and the organization, development, and style are appropriate to task, purpose, and audience.” In his presentations, Mr. Pettee demonstrates a variety of musical styles from around the world that combined in the US to provide the ingredients for NC Bluegrass music. By the end of a program or residency, many students will be able to “hear” how, for example, sounds from West Africa played on a banjo, have been carried over to the harmonica or guitar to make what are now known as “blues” music. Mr. Pettee also describes how these “blues” sounds form the basis for Bluegrass, Jazz, and Rock. L3: “Apply knowledge of language to understand how language functions in different contexts, to make effective choices for meaning or style, and to comprehend more fully when reading or listening.” Regarding music as “language” please see the SL4 and R6 above. Regarding song lyrics as language with different meanings and uses, every program contains a variety of songs, whose lyrics express either historically significant moments (e.g., the Civil War, or the Underground Railroad), tell stories (e.g., “The Lollipop Tree” song), or simply provide clever, catchy rhythms and rhymes (e.g., ‘Old Joe Clark” or “Ain’t No Bugs on Me”)

NC Essential Standards:

* 3.ML.1.2 Execute the performance of major scale tones using the voice. * 3.MR.1.4 Identify the sounds of a variety of instruments and voices, including many orchestral instruments, instruments from various cultures * 3.CR.1.1 Exemplify how music is used by various groups for artistic expression within the local community. * 4.ML.3.2 Create compositions and arrangements using a variety of traditional and nontraditional sound sources. (Residency only) * 4.MR.1.1 Illustrate perceptual skills by moving to, answering questions about, and describing aural examples of music of various styles and cultures. * 4.CR.1.1 Understand how music has affected, and is reflected in, the culture, traditions, and history of North Carolina. (And other southern states, in the case of performances in SC, VA, GA,TN, etc.) * 5.ML.3.2 Create compositions and arrangements within specified guidelines. (Residency only) * 5.CR.1.1 Understand how music has affected, and is reflected in, the culture, traditions, and history of the United States. Social Studies Connections: *3.C.1.2 Exemplify how various groups show artistic expression within the local and regional communities. *4.C.1.2 Explain how the artistic expression of various groups represents the cultural heritage of North Carolina. *5.C.1.4 Understand how cultural narratives (legends, songs, ballads, games, folk tales and art forms) reflect the lifestyles, beliefs and struggles of diverse ethnic groups.


Conducts educational programming for 2 or more years: Yes
Performs criminal background checks on staff with youth contact: Yes
Three letters of recommendation / references available: Yes
Provides study guides for teachers and or students: Yes
Connects to State and or Common Core Curriculum Standards: Yes
Provides tools to assess student learning (workshops and residencies): Yes
Provides scholarship and reduced fees: Yes
Conducts ongoing assessments of program quality: Yes
Cancellation Policy

Artist will make every effort to reschedule program if necessary. If it is impossible to reschedule, and the program must be cancelled, 50% of fee is due, if the program is cancelled more than 30 days before the date of engagement. If cancelled within 30 days of the date of engagement, 100% of the fee is due. Cancellation fees are due no later than the originally scheduled date of engagement.