Video by Jim Nuttle

Wisdom of the Elders

Sonny Ochs first created the Wisdom of the Elders program at a NERFA conference. In 2013 it spread to both the Folk Alliance International Conference and to SERFA. Wisdom of the Elders provides a structured opportunity for us to learn from and about our senior leaders and for the elders to share their experiences with each other. Wisdom of the Elders has rapidly become an essential feature of our Folk Alliance gatherings. Elders over age 70 participate in a panel with questions posed by SERFA historian Art Menius, each other, and audience members.

Folk music is a stream into which we are called to float along for all or part of our lives. The folk music community values tradition while using our art to push for social change. We appreciate in the folk community that we stand on the shoulders of our predecessors whether they were known internationally or worked in obscurity.

Past Elders at SERFA

  • 2019: Nancy and Norman Blake, David Wilkes

  • 2018: Jim Rooney, Billy Edd Wheeler, Ginny Hawker and Tracy Schwarz

  • 2017: Doug Orr, Reggie Harris, Patrick Sky

  • 2016: Peggy Seeger, Lowell "Banana" Levinger, Freebo

  • 2015: Ken Irwin, Bill Nowlin, Marian Leighton-Levy, Alice Gerrard, Si Kahn

  • 2014: Alice Gerrard, Margo Blevins, John McCutcheon

  • 2013: Sonny Ochs, Ralph Lewis