Rebekah Rolland is a singer, multi-instrumentalist, and songwriter based in Tucson. Early immersion in Arizona’s old-time and Bluegrass scene fueled her love for the tradition of storytelling through music, prompting her to study literature and music at the University of Arizona before setting out on several national tours with Tucson-based band, Run Boy Run. Five years on the road as a lead vocalist, fiddler, and primary songwriter for the group have taken her to stages across the country, from the prestigious Telluride Bluegrass Festival to American Public Media’s A Prairie Home Companion.

Characteristic of some of the most forceful and compelling voices in folk music, Rolland’s writing succeeds in building worlds of dust and clay, worn pages and weathered pearls, highways and high rises, the faces and hands, the trials and triumphs that make up the stories of the past and the present. Her sweet and resonant vocals serve as a striking counterpart to original songs that paint a gritty, though beautifully honest and captivating picture of the human experience.

Selected as an artist-in-residence for the National Park Service Centennial, Rolland spent several weeks at the Homestead National Monument working on what is her first solo release—an album of original songs based on Willa Cather’s Prairie Trilogy and the stories of early homesteaders in the U.S. The album was released in 2018.

Singing Immersion for all levels, and Singing & Accompanying yourself on your instrument for Novice to Intermediate levels

This is a vocal course that will focus on the elements of good vocal technique and its application in the singing and songwriting of Bluegrass and Americana music. The class is designed for vocal students of all levels, from those just becoming acquainted with their voices to those hoping to take singing to the next level. We will work on a variety of songs and exercises meant to build confidence, strength, control, and expression in their vocal development. We will also learn to apply the principles of vocal harmony, blending, and dynamics through a number of group-singing activities.

Additionally, in keeping with folk tradition, students will explore the styles of past and present icons who have come to define traditional styles of singing–from the high, lonesome sound of Bill Monroe to the soaring melodies of Joan Baez to the smooth and soulful croons of Tim O’Brien.

Although you do not have to play an instrument to be in this course, you may receive greater benefits if you do. If you are more interested in playing and singing (and have basic playing skills) please see Playing & Singing Level 1 (novice-intermediate–course description coming soon) but you may also “mix and match” courses by taking both at different times.