GREENWOOD FURNACE — Music was a way of life in the Steinbeiser family.
Growing up without electricity and running water, Leo, Cletus and Skip Steinbeiser, along with their 10 other siblings, wanted to follow in their father’s footsteps and practice their musical abilities.
All three brothers were honored as Pennsylvania Heritage Musicians for this year’s Greenwood Furnace Folk Gathering. The brothers, at times joined by their other siblings on stage, shared songs and stories about their father, folk musician Albert Steinbeiser, to a roaring crowd in the church near the Greenwood Furnace State Park.
The award was designed to honor a unique musician or musicians to help the audience better understand rural Pennsylvania folk musicians. Albert Steinbeiser, who was said to be able to play “everything,” but best known as a fiddler, also received a posthumous award.
Cletus Steinbeiser said there never was any other option than to learn to play music and follow in his father’s footsteps — that’s just the way it was.
“We played music, and we played it as a family,” the harmonica player said. “That’s the way we were raised.”
The brothers play regularly in front of crowds with monthly trips to the Huntingdon Hootenanny and Tipton Hoedown, but Cletus Steinbeiser said he liked playing in front of the packed folk gathering.
“The people enjoy the music, and we enjoy playing it,” he said.
Jeff Miller said he always enjoys attending the festival because he likes to listen to folk music and watching and participating with talented musicians helps his own violin playing.
“I will probably always come as long as they have this,” he said.
The weekend festival concludes tomorrow with events including hymn singing, West African drumming, Civil War songs and jamming.
The festival will conclude following the group jam session at 1:30 p.m.
Matt Morgan can be reached at 235-3928. Follow him on Twitter @MetroMattMorgan