Woody and Marcia McKenzie have been playing together since they were married in 1983. They met in the White Mountains of Arizona, where they were introduced through their music. Long-time residents of the New River Valley (Virginia), they moved to Lynchburg in the fall of 1998, bringing with them their unique blend of contemporary and original folk, traditional music of southern Appalachia and the British Isles, children’s music, funny songs, and even some swing and jazz standards. Over the years this husband-wife duo has provided music for square dances and contra dances and has performed for weddings, coffeehouses, restaurants, schools, libraries, festivals, conferences, retirement homes, and private parties. Outside of Virginia, they regularly play in North Carolina and have also performed for audiences in West Virginia, Kentucky, Pennsylvania, New York, Arizona, Wyoming, and even Denmark!
Marcia, originally from Ithaca, New York, grew up playing the oboe in public school, but it wasn’t until after college that she began to explore more traditional forms of music. After teaching herself to play the mandolin, she later picked up guitar and clawhammer banjo. Over the years, she has added rhythm piano, bodhran (a hand drum), concertina, a little ukelele, and various whistles. But her favorite, and most powerful, instrument is her voice.
Woody was born in the coal country of southern West Virginia and grew up in a musical family. However, he didn’t become interested in music himself until he moved away from home and missed hearing his folks play. He is accomplished on guitar, tenor banjo, and concertina, but his greatest love is the fiddle.
The McKenzies’ variety of styles and instrumentation, their strong individual and duet vocals, and their repertoire of lively tunes, unique original songs, familiar ballads, inspiring sing-alongs, and humorous novelty songs, all come together to create an energetic brand of entertainment that appeals to young and old alike. Former members of two clogging groups, they sometimes even incorporate a little “flat-footing” into their performances.
In addition to performing, Marcia is gifted at teaching and calling novel yet simple circle, square, set and contra dances and particularly enjoys working with beginners. Over the years, she has introduced many inexperienced dancers to these fun community-building dances at weddings, family reunions, birthday parties, summer camps, corporate picnics, conferences and festivals. You might want to add dance to your next event!
Woody likes to build instruments in his spare time. Since he is left-handed, it began as a way to produce instruments he could play, but through the years he has made both left- and right-handed instruments, including several guitars, mandolins, fiddles, dulcimers, and even a xylophone! By day, he teaches at Lynchburg College and maintains his own website there.