A Brief History
Over a decade ago Dwayne Heisler started a three-day workshop at his home in Pennsylvania’s scenic Susquehanna River Valley. The countryside is home to many Amish farms and more than 20 covered bridges, some of which have picnic areas with tables painted by local artists. Nearby Knoebels Amusement Resort is home to historic carousels, amusement park organs, roller coasters, and other attractions — all for free parking and admission, as you pay only for what you ride! The rural backdrop became a yearly destination to early musicians from up and down the east coast. Bloom’s first instructor was Lisle Kulbach, but numbers grew and Larry Lipnik was added a few years later. As numbers grew even more, other faculty members (including Jody Miller and Phil Hollar) were brought in.
In 2020, Mountain Collegium Early Music & Folk Music Workshop assumed duties to run the Bloom Early Music Workshop after Dwayne Heisler decided he wished to retire from hosting it. The faculty, along with Susan Schwartz, began making plans for continuing the workshop in historic St. Matthew’s Lutheran Church in Bloomsburg, PA. No workshop was offered in 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic, and an effort to return in 2021 was canceled due to another wave of the pandemic. The workshop resumed in 2022 at St. Matthew’s, adding a more formalized finale performance open to the community.
What the Future Holds
The 2023 workshop will continue to be operated by Mountain Collegium. However, Mountain Collegium is currently working with Susan, Larry, and Lisle to establish a separate 501(c)3 entity dedicated to the Bloom Workshop and other early music activities in the Bloomsburg, PA area. This new organization should be ready to take on all aspects of the workshop in 2024 and beyond.