2015-16 Folklife Apprenticeship Award recipient
Ann Porcella is a fixture in the Mid-Atlantic’s old-time and country music scene. She is a powerhouse vocalist and a rock-solid country and old-time bass player. Ann’s father was a preacher; growing up, she learned gospel music from him. Her deep, resonant voice adapts well to many different traditional styles, though harmony singing is her first love. She has performed solo and with a variety of ensembles, including the Blue Moon Cowgirls, and as a duet with her husband, Bill Schmidt.
In 2016, Ann received a Folklife Apprenticeship Award from Maryland Traditions to apprentice under master artist Francis Riale, a stalwart of the old-time and country music community in Cecil County, Maryland, and a contemporary of the late trailblazing singer-songwriter and banjo player Ola Belle Reed, another Cecil County resident. Francis’s family came to Maryland from Kentucky and Virginia, like so many in that part of the state, and they brought their music with them; to this day, Cecil County is known for its Appalachian music legacy. While Ann had been learning old-time bass for some time, this apprenticeship gave her the opportunity to hone her skills under a strong female old-time musician.