From the late 1940’s up until just a couple years ago, Roger visited southern Appalachia every year to learn songs and tunes, and to bring them back to the Northeast. He also performed regularly at the festivals at Galax and Clifftop. Roger appeared frequently at folk festivals and musical conventions, including the Philadelphia Folk Festival and the Union Grove Fiddler’s Convention in North Carolina, where in 1970 he was winner of the banjo competition.
His pioneering “progressive bluegrass” repertoire ranges from mountain music, classical, jazz, ragtime, dixie, show tunes, hornpipes and reels, and just about anything you can name.
Roger has performed with such legendary folk musicians as Jean Ritchie and Doc Watson. He has recorded with Guy Lombardo and the Royal Canadians, and he has performed at both Lincoln Center and Carnegie Hall. For many years, he performed with guitarist Hal Wylie and various other musicians as “Roger Sprung, Hal Wylie and the Progressive Bluegrassers.” He still participates in various jams near his hometown of Newtown, Connecticut, and thrives on teaching and sharing his love of music.
Roger teaches banjo based on playing by ear – no tab or sheet music. He utilizes his own system of music theory. He teaches his pupils how to develop a song from the ground up, starting with the fundamental chord changes and basic rolls and adding refinement until the piece is a complete arrangement. His students are equipped with techniques that can be taken to any setting, where they will be able to play solo or in a group with success.