By Leilani Rapaport

The Bulletin / @leilanirap

A man sings softly as people walk by, attempting to overcome his fear of performing in public. Two young women review the elements of a song they’re working on. A trio of professional musicians practice a set before getting on stage. More than 100 people are participating in the Americana Song Academy, which runs Sept. 2-5 at Caldera Arts Center near Sisters, where Sisters Folk Festival performers lead workshops and private mentor sessions with students of varying musical backgrounds.

Brad Tisdel started the Americana Song Academy in 2002 with 12 participants and four instructors. He says the energy from the program makes the Sisters Folk Festival “profoundly more moving emotionally and spiritually because [the artists have] been here and they’ve been able to ground down. They’ve been able to collaborate musically. So a lot of cool collaborations happen at the festival that wouldn’t happen if it wasn’t for this.”