Lets Jam!:
Keith Yoder

Guitar 101:
Kayla Hotte

Sing and Strum:
Jenny Lester

Intermediate Flatpicking Guitar:
Greg Blake

Advanced Flatpicking Guitar:
Craig Young

Beginning Bluegrass Banjo:
Max Heineman

Intermediate/Advanced
Bluegrass Banjo:
Patrick Sauber

Intermediate Old Time
3 Fingers Style Banjo:
Jason Romero

Advanced Clawhammer Banjo
Chris Coole

Intermediate/Advanced Bass:
Mark Schatz

Intermediate/Advanced Dobro:
Sally Van Meter

Intermediate Bluegrass Fiddle:
John Mailander

Advanced Bluegrass Fiddle:
Blaine Sprouse

Intermediate Old-Time Fiddle:
Gabrielle Macrae

Advanced Old-Time Fiddle:
John Showman

Intermediate Mandolin:
Matt Hotte

Advanced Mandolin:
John Reischman

Lead and Harmony Singing:
Pharis Romero

Adventures in Band Lab:
Anne Louise Genest

Songwriting:
Mark Simos

Intermediate Ukulele:
Steve Roy

Lets Jam! with Keith Yoder

Lets Jam! This class is open to all instruments:  guitar, banjo, mandolin, fiddle, dobro and bass, for the strong beginner and up.  This will be a perfect fit  if you know your way around your instrument, but don't have much experience playing with others.  So many folks practice all year long on their own at home, and just need time playing with others in a supportive environment. This is a great way to improve quickly. Keith is a multi-instrumentalist and fantastic teacher, and will have everyone on the same page in no time!

Keith Yoder is a talented instructor and musician with an unconventional approach to music education.  Self-taught, he first picked up a guitar in high school and has since added numerous other instruments to the inventory he plays.  He has played for 35 years (and counting!) and has taught full-time since 1994.  Keith teaches and equips students on guitar, banjo, mandolin, fiddle, resophonic guitar, bass, and drums.  An Iowa native, Keith loves time with his family, jamming with friends (old and new), watching documentaries on Netflix, eating the famed White Castle or Krystal burgers, and cheering for his sweet Minnesota Vikings.

Keith currently teaches private lessons in Knoxville, Tennessee and via the world wide web.  He has recorded several outstanding CDs and educational materials.  He has also taught at a vast array of camps including Steve Kaufman's Acoustic Camp, Colorado Roots Music Camp, Merlefest Jam Camp, and Walker Creek Music Camp, and is well loved at NimbleFingers (Yeah!).  Keith would love to meet you and pick some tunes!

Keith Yoder

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Guitar 101 with Kayla Hotte
 

In Guitar 101, we'll focus on both the bluegrass and old time genres of music. We'll work on playing chords, as well as learning how to pick out simple, melody-based solos. We're going to learn about our roles while jamming, playing in bands, and accompanying singers. This class will delve into the often under-appreciated art that is rhythm guitar playing, and there will be lots of singing throughout.

To get the most out of Guitar 101, you are encouraged to be able to play the G, C, and D chord shapes and be able to switch between them somewhat fluently. Capos are recommended.

 

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Edmonton, Alberta, based Kayla Hotte is certainly one of the fresher faces of bluegrass music. But don't let her age and innocence appearance fool you - this girl is a force to be reckoned with.

A graduate of Grant MacEwan University's music program, as well as the IBMA's Leadership Bluegrass program, Hotte is a singer, songwriter and multi-instrumentalist who plays guitar, mandolin and fiddle.

Hotte's love of music was born at a young age and she's been performing for almost as long as she's been walking and talking. "I grew up playing bluegrass music. My whole family plays," she explains. Her musical career began with playing in a family bluegrass band and, as soon as she was old enough to do so, she started up her own group called Bluegrass Angels. That band eventually morphed into another called Shortgrass, then Kayla and Erin Show then Kayla Hotte and Her Rodeo Pals. Currently, Kayla has been playing in a duo with her brother and musical partner, Matt Hotte. 

Kayla and Matt Hotte


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Sing and Strum with Jenny Lester

Wondering about timing, tuning, being in the right key, projection, tone, memorizing words, remembering chord progressions and building a repertoire?  Relax and have fun bringing your voice and the guitar together for a confident delivery.  We will bring to light some of the good questions to ask our selves as we are taking the time to build a discerning ear.  Together in a group we will study a repertoire of bluegrass songs and rhythm guitar techniques, plus each participant can offer an individually prepared song to for constructive peer to peer feedback.  

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Jenny Lester is a dynamic Canadian Bluegrass performer and recording artist who has established herself as an important singer/songwriter and multi-instrumentalist. Her original songs are carefully crafted in the bluegrass convention while at the same time displaying a contemporary freshness and vitality that breathes new life into the fabled "high lonesome" sound.  Jenny is a veteran stage performer, beginning on the fiddle at age eight with her family's Driftwood Canyon Family Band out of Smithers, B.C. After nearly a decade of touring West Coast festivals, Jenny won a musical scholarship to South Plains College in Texas, graduating with honours and three Golden Reel awards. The journey moved in the 1990s through Dark Horse based in Colorado, the Australian trio performing at Leo Foo Village in Taiwan, John Reischman and Bluegrass Signal in Vancouver, BC, and the Jenny Lester Trio. In 1998 Jenny released the internationally acclaimed debut album Friends Like You. The turn of the millennium brought together world touring, Yukon-based band, Hungry Hill.  Her love of music has been paralleled by her love of horses and Jenny currently devotes her life to both while living nestled in the Comox Valley on Vancouver Island, Canada.

Jenny Lester

 

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Intermediate Flatpicking Guitar with Greg Blake

 

In Intermediate Flatpicking Guitar we'll build on playing simple melodies and fiddle tunes by learning how to:

- incorporate slides, hammer-on's  and pull-offs
 - include simple 'cross-picking' patterns around basic chordal shapes
 - choose notes within the chordal scale as 'pick-up' and 'grace notes
 - utilize a handful of tasty 'riffs' and 'lics' as a foundation for improvising

Maybe we'll do some singing, too!

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Greg Blake was born in southern West Virginia and, from there, acquired his love for bluegrass and mountain-flavored music. With many musical influences such as Johnny Cash, Merle Haggard, George Jones, the Louvin Bros., Doc Watson, Bill Monroe, Flatt & Scruggs, Tony Rice, Doyle Lawson, J.D. Crowe, Greg began playing and singing at age seven.
While in Kansas City, Greg joined up with The Bluegrass Missourians. He was a member of that band for nearly 15 years, having the opportunity to open for great bluegrass acts such as Bill Monroe, The Osborne Brothers, Jim & Jesse McReynolds, J.D. Crowe, Doyle Lawson and Ricky Skaggs. He also traveled with a Kansas City based male gospel quartet (“The Harvest Quartet”) for 3 years. Greg is a Kansas State Flatpicking champion and, at one point in his career, was selected Bluegrass Guitar Performer of the Year 5 years in a row by the Society for the Preservation of Bluegrass Music in America (SPBGMA). He was nominated for that honor a total of 9 times, as well as being nominated twice for Traditional Male Vocalist of the Year. Greg now lives in Conifer, CO. It is there he founded the Colorado-based group, Mountain Holler, before joining Jeff Scroggins & Colorado in 2011.  Greg also performs with KC Groves in the duo Blake and Groves.

Greg Blake Music
Jeff Scroggins and Colorado
Video - Ramblin' Feels Good

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Advanced Flatpicking Guitar
with Craig Young

 

In this Advanced Flatpicking Guitar workshop we'll be looking at the finer points of flatpicking, concentrating on lead lines and improvisation, learning how to insert "bluesy" licks and riffs in traditional bluegrass and country using the stylings of Tony Rice and David Grier. We will work on building solos, learning how to take a melodic idea and use and reuse in a solo of a song or a fiddle tune.  Looking at the right hand techniques of crosspicking and alternating picking, and finding the right balance between technique and feel. Lots of discussion and examples of scales and chords,  and how to incorporate in a solo.

As an electric player for many years, I have learned how to incorporate double stops into flatpicking and will also be discussing and demonstrating this in length. We will also learn some great exercises that have come to me over the years, and use them to help improve timing, speed, and tone. 

Students should have some knowledge of basic flatpicking and should be able to play a standard fiddle tune or two, and have a basic understanding of the neck of the guitar and chords. Students should have some experience in playing in a group setting. Be ready to jam! Make sure to have a capo, tuner,  along with your trusty Dreadnought. A good idea to have some sort of recorder as well, either audio or video is fine with me for future reference. I will be using tablature for teaching, so it would be a good idea to be familiar with that system. I look forward to questions, because I love to talk about guitar, so feel free to bring up anything concerning the guitar.

 

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Craig Young hails from the southwest coast of Newfoundland and Labrador. He's been playing the guitar since the age of seven, and started playing in the church youth choir band at the age of 12, then then played in his 1st rock n' roll and country band at the age 14!

Young has lots of experience in backing up songs and singers, as well as using the guitar as a solo instrument. Living in Nashville TN for nearly a decade, gave Young experience in bluegrass and country music both with the electric and acoustic. During this time (1999-2009) Young worked as a sideman, but focused on the flattop guitar and writing songs.

 Craig has won four CCMA awards for The Canadian Country Music Association All Star Band- Guitarist category. His album “Back Home” won the 2011 MusicNL(Newfoundland and Labrador) Country Album/Artist of the year. His most recent album, titled "Black Diamond Strings"  won the MusicNL award for Country in 2013. Following was a collaboration with guitar slinging Gypsy Jazzer Duane Andrews titled "Charlie's Boogie" which won ECMA (East Coast Music Association Traditional Instrumental Album of the Year 2014, and MusicNL Instrumental Album of the Year (2014). 

Craig now lives and performs Country and Bluegrass music in the St. John's Newfoundland area, and teaches at a school in Paradise, called New Wave Music.

Video - Duane Andrews & Craig Young - Charlie's Boogie

 

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Beginning Bluegrass Banjo
with Max Heineman

As the the title of this workshop indicates this class will be for beginners and whether that means you have had a banjo for five years collecting dust or you’ve just been bitten by the bug and gotten your first banjo we will work on the fundamentals. Starting with the basics, adjusting your strap for proper playing height, tuning, where to place your right hand, how to do hammer ons, pull offs, pinches, chokes, slides, chord shapes, playing in different keys and of course rolling. The banjo is a rhythm instrument and in accordance we will spend a lot of time working on our right hand technique to achieve good timing. This is essential for playing with others and jamming, a key goal of this class. Bluegrass banjo is a style developed by Earle Scruggs and perfected in his time playing with Bill Monroe and later with his group Flatt and Scruggs.

You can take the techniques you learn in this class and apply them in many different musical genres. We will learn to play a number of standards including Scuggs’ Cripple Creek and Foggy Mountain Breakdown. Bluegrass is an oral tradition and we will be developing our ability to learn by listening, however I will provide tablature and recording of the class is encouraged.

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The child of two musicians, Toronto based Max Heineman has been singing since he can remember, and started playing bass at age twelve. He played, sang and recorded with groups throughout his youth in and around the Toronto area.  He joined the Foggy Hogtown Boys in 2006 and in 2008, formed old time trio The Lonesome Ace Stringband with fellow FHB members John Showman and Chris Coole.   Max has toured in the U.K., Ireland, Israel, Australia, the U.S. and Canada with FHB, Lonesome Ace Stringband and with Canadian roots/oldtime band Annie Lou.  He has taught workshops at music camps throughout Canada since 2006 and has recorded vocals and bass on numerous Canadian recordings.  Max is highly respected as an intuitive and seasoned bass player; he also plays both Scruggs style and clawhammer banjo and rhythm guitar, which inform his overall understanding of the unique rhythms of Bluegrass, Old Time and Country music. 

 

Lonesome Ace Stringband
Foggy Hogtown Boys
Max Heineman

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Advanced Bluegrass Banjo with
Patrick Sauber

 

In this class we will explore the subtleties of playing Scruggs style banjo in a band or jam situation. Topics covered will include, but are not limited to:

  •  Playing with good tone, and how it relates to right hand technique and setup.
  • Developing good timing through critical listening and practice methods.
  • Backup ideas behind vocals and other instruments.
  • Soloing and backing up slow songs.
  • Playing in the keys D, E and F without a capo
  • Alternate tunings

The class will be taught by ear, so feel free to bring a recording device.

 

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The son of master old time musician Tom Sauber, Patrick Sauber grew up surrounded by traditional southern music. Equally adept at banjo, mandolin, and guitar he is an in-demand instrumentalist and singer. Patrick has played or recorded with many musical greats including: Doc Watson, Curly Seckler, David Grisman, Peter Rowan, Roland White, John Fogerty, Herb Pedersen, Alice Gerrard, Tim O'Brien and many more. Patrick was also a cast member of the Christopher Guest movie "A Mighty Wind". He can be seen on the road with Laurie Lewis and the Right Hands, Peter Rowan, the John Jorgenson Bluegrass Band and John Reischman and the Jaybirds.

 

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Intermediate Old Time 3 Finger Style Banjo with Jason Romero

We will be learning a three-finger style of banjo playing, focusing on the old-time repertoire of tunes and songs.  I realize an argument can be made that the fathers of bluegrass music were actually old-time musicians, but at this point - to help keep the peace at camp, we'll wait to discuss this during class.  Through the banjo we will explore the differences between the two styles that have developed over the years.  We will learn, work though and discuss the reasons for using several different tunings, and will learn obscure and familiar tunes in each of the tunings.   We'll work on playing with others in a band situation, playing solo and singing with the banjo.  We will also spend time learning some super practical scale patterns, and listening to really great three-finger style old time banjo players.  

This will be an intermediate to advanced class and I strongly advise that students should be comfortable with fingerpicking patterns, making chord shapes and other left hand fingering techniques like slides, pull-offs and hammer-ons

Please feel free to contact me anytime before the class for a more detailed description at jason@romerobanjos.com

From California before settling in BC, he lives with Pharis, his partner in music, business and life, in tiny Horsefly. When not on the road playing music or running after two small kids, he runs the highly acclaimed J. Romero Banjo Co. They’ve put hand built banjos in the hands of Martin Simpson, Allison de Groot, and possibly your neighbor.

Together Pharis and Jason have released four duo records, with a brand new one out in May 2018. They won a Juno Award in 2016, and have performed across North America and the UK, on A Prairie Home Companion and toured with CBC's The Vinyl Cafe. They are passionate teachers and believers in many things folk, and their heartbreakingly harmonic live show is an ever-evolving and never-ending quest for good songs and beautiful sounds.

Pharis and Jason Romero
Romero Banjos
Video - Sweet Old Religion

 

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Advanced Clawhammer Banjo with
Chris Coole

 

Each day of this workshop will focus on a specific topic. They will be...

Chords - How to use them in back-up playing, as well as how to incorporate them into your tunes. We'll look at useful inversions and alternate strumming patterns.

Song Back-up - Learn some tricks and principles that will help make you better at backing yourself (or others) up once the singing starts. 

Ghost Notes, Bass Lines, Skip Beats, Not-So-Basic Strums, and Explosion Licks! - I'll show you a bunch of little tricks that I use all the time in my playing, and how to apply them to yours. 

How to Learn Tunes by Ear - We'll look at how to methodically build your own arrangments of tunes by ear. Starting with a recording of a tune, and build up several arrangments by adding techniques. We'll look at how this approach applies to learning tunes on the fly in a jam session. 

An overview of each of these topics (including tabs, and recordings) will be provided for each of these topics. Participants will have everything they will need to go live in a cave on an isolated island, study, and eventually emerge as the next clawhammer Jedi. 

Participants will be given a couple simple tunes to work on in advance that will help facilitate a super week of musical education! 

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Chris Coole is a Toronto based musician who specializes in bluegrass and old-time music. He has recorded ten critically acclaimed cd’s with Arnie Naiman, Erynn Marhsall, The Banjo Special,The Foggy Hogtown Boys and Ivan Rosenberg. Over the years, Chris has performed at festivals and led workshops across North America, Europe and Israel.

His first solo album “Old Dog” was released in 2010 to warm reviews and drew attention to his intimate songwriting style. In 2016 he released “The Tumbling River”, a follow-up of highly narrative story songs featuring seven more originals, firmly establishing his reputation as a unique, and grounded songwriter. This is evidenced by the fact that his songs have been recorded by artists such as The Sweet Lowdown, Megan Lynch, Bill Evans, Jenny Whiteley, and Riley Baugus. 

Coole is a sought-after teacher of both banjo and guitar at workshops and festivals across Canada and the U.S.  His teaching approach is featured in the instructional DVD “The Elements of Clawhammer Banjo” (Woodhall Music).

Apart from his own albums, Chris can be heard as a sideman and/or producer on over 150 recordings by artists such as Sylvia Tyson, Jim Cuddy, Natalie MacMaster, Cara Luft, John Reishman, April Verch, Justin Rutledge, The Slocan Ramblers, and David Francey. 

Chris is a well loved NimbleFingers Instructor. Welcome back, Chris!

Chris Coole
Video - I Know Your Wandering Heart
Lonesome Ace Stringband
Foggy Hogtown Boys

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Intermediate/Advanced Bass
with Mark Schatz

 

 In this class we will expand the skills and range of folks who already have a good working knowledge of the bass. We will work on scales and positions in the left hand. We will learn exercises to increase dexterity, accuracy, and speed in the right hand. We will explore arco (bowing) technique for those who have interest in such. We will work on adding color, variation, and shape to bass lines, and look at how to approach soloing. We will work on slap bass, walking bass, and delve a bit into some different grooves including funk and latin. Don’t be intimidated – I will tailor the class to the skill levels of those attending! We’ll have fun – may even so some hamboning to work on our rhythm and groove skills which of course, is where it all begins!

 

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Mark Schatz  is a prominent figure in the new acoustic music scene. Twice named IBMA Bass Player of the Year, and currently nominated every year since, he has worked and/or recorded with an impressive variety of artists including Bela Fleck, Jerry Douglas, Maura O'Connell, Tony Rice, John Hartford, Emmylou Harris, Linda Ronstadt, Tim & Mollie O'Brien and Nickel Creek. He also acts as Musical Director for the internationally-acclaimed Footworks Percussive Dance Ensemble, which showcases his other talents - clawhammer banjo and Southern Appalachian clog dancing.

He has two solo recordings, Brand New Old Tyme Way & Steppin' in the Boilerhouse, both on Rounder Records. He's also released two instructional bass videos on Homespun.

Claire Lynch Band

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Intermediate/Advanced Dobro with
Sally Van Meter

 

The Heart of Good Soloing.

I am excited to be back at Sorrento again, and have a helpful class for all you intermediate into advanced level of Dobro players! For this week, the focus will be on improving soloing skills, how to take them further with your own ideas and bring out the desired lyricism in your playing. This class is designed for players who are fairly comfortable playing songs and tunes by ear- familiar or not- who want to learn to create good melodic soloing ideas and improve your technique. We’ll work with getting to make your more of the fretboard accessible and how to put those ideas you have in your head into solos that make sense to you and connect to the heart of the song. It will be a fun and intensive week learning about creating solid solos, and achieving depth and clarity in your playing. This class will be a hands-on class participation class, so prepare to be asked to try soloing on songs you might not be familiar with. No pressure, just fun and learning! This class will be taught primarily by ear, and some tablature will be provided. Also within this week, we will work on tone production, technique, access to more ways of practicing scales that feel more musical, and a strong focus will be improvisation in a few different styles of music (it’s easier than you might think). The outcome is that I want you all to learn what your playing can become: confident, full of melody, lyricism, tone, and control over your choices in what you decide to play.

Students should feel comfortable with creating simple melodic solos, and understand simple melodic solo form, hammer-ons and pull-offs, and at least two fretboard positions for playing basic major/minor scales. Bring a properly set-up resophonic guitar, a good tone bar, extra picks, strings, recording device, note pad, and a few questions about how to improve on what you already know how to do and what you would like to leave camp with!

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For the last four decades. Sally Van Meter’s Dobro and slide guitar work has graced the live stages and recording studios, performing with prominent and talented artists including David Grisman, Jerry Garcia, Tony Rice, Jorma Kaukonen, Chris Hillman, Jerry Douglas, Taj Mahal, Mary Chapin-Carpenter, Alison Brown, Peter Rowan, Laurie Lewis, Russ Barenberg, Stuart Duncan, Kathy Kallick, The Nashville Bluegrass Band, Gerry O'Beirne, Maura O'Connell. Sally’s newest offering from the studio Tre Mistiche-A Small Congress of Weissenborn, Ballad and Waltz is the recipient of the Best Weissenborn Recording of 2015 award in the United Kingdom, a Weissenborn slide duo project. She has been an IBMA Finalist Nominee for Dobro Player of the Year from 1990-1997 and in 1994 won two IBMA awards for Best Instrumental Recording and Recorded Event of the Year, (The Great Dobro Sessions).  In 1994 Sally was awarded the NARAS GRAMMY for The Great Dobro Sessions. In 1996 Sally was invited to record on a special studio project with David Grisman and Jerry Garcia  ‘The Songs of Jimmie Rodgers--A Tribute’ produced by Bob Dylan for Columbia Records. Sally’s music has been featured on television shows such as CBS’ Northern Exposure. Before switching gears to the studio and independent music work, from 1977 to 1996, Sally was a member of the Good Ol' Persons, a much-beloved band based in the San Francisco Bay Area.

            Sally currently resides in Colorado, and along with freelance filmmaking, music performing and studio production, her love of teaching music since 1990 keeps her a mainstay at music workshops & camps throughout the US/UK and Europe. She looks forward to being at Nimble Fingers, “a spectacular place to work on your musical skills!”

 

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Intermediate Bluegrass Fiddle
with John Mailander

Intermediate Bluegrass Fiddle - We will explore foundational techniques and ideas related to bluegrass fiddling in a band or jam session setting. We'll learn new tunes, and talk about the theory and unique techniques contained within that can be applied to many other musical situations. We will work together on playing by ear, simple improvisation on standards, kick-offs, fills and more. Looking forward to spending the week with you!

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San Diego native John Mailander is an acclaimed multi-instrumentalist and graduate of the Berklee College of Music in Boston, MA. As an accomplished performer, composer, teacher and recording artist, John has become known for his soulful voice on the fiddle, mandolin and various other stringed instruments.

John has shared the stage with renowned artists including the Alison Brown Quartet, Victor Wooten, Tim O'Brien and Christopher Guest. He was one of sixteen musicians selected to participate in the Savannah Music Festival's Acoustic Music Seminar in both 2012 and '13. John played fiddle in Steve Martin & Edie Brickell's musical, Bright Star, for it's premier run in New York

John currently maintains a busy performance schedule with artists including Molly Tuttle, Tony Trischka, Front Country, John Reischman, Laurie Lewis, Darol Anger and many others. As an instructor, John has taught at events including the Puget Sound Guitar Workshop, Augusta Heritage Center Bluegrass Week, Walker Creek Music Camp and CBA Music Camp. He is a dedicated private instructor, teaching students all over the country in person and over Skype. 

So happy to have you back again, John!

John Mailander

 

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Advanced Bluegrass Fiddle with
Blaine Sprouse

Workshop description coming soon!

 

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"If You’re Gonna Play In Texas (You Gotta Have a Fiddle in the Band)” proclaims the 1984 Billboard Hot Country Single #1 song. So who did supergroup Alabama call upon to fiddle the memorable chart topper and the entire Roll On album? Blaine Sprouse.

Three years later, Joe Wilson tapped the Kenny Baker protégé for the National Council for the Traditional Arts’ genre-blending Masters of the Folk Violin tour, in which Sprouse was to fiddle alongside Baker. Sprouse was unable to participate due to unforeseen circumstances; sixteen-year-old Alison Krauss stepped in, paving the way for her historic rise.

Sprouse continued to carve an impressive niche, performing with both Grand Ole Opry members and young turks of bluegrass, including those who would pick together regularly at Nashville’s world famous Station Inn: The Dreadful Snakes, The Sidemen, Nashville Jug Band and The Cluster Pluckers, with whom Blaine played for former president and vice-president Bill Clinton and Al Gore.

Blaine's professional career started with Jimmy Martin and continued with James Monroe, Jim and Jesse, the Osborne Brothers, Charlie Louvin and as a fill-in Blue Grass Boy for Bill Monroe.

Sprouse fulfilled a lifelong desire to return to school to complete his education and earn a law degree. But in 2009, music interest resurfaced when his fourth solo recording, Dogwood Winter, was re-issued as Appalachian Mountain Fiddler.

Also a gifted mandolin and guitar player, Sprouse is at home in bluegrass, blues, swing, jazz and folk. With his return to the stage, Blaine’s heart is answering the fiddler’s call. As he stated in a Frets Magazine profile, “Music is my life. I just love to play.”

 

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Intermediate Old-Time Fiddle with Gabrielle Macrae
 

 

I will be teaching a number of tunes over the course of the week, in a variety of keys and tunings, with an emphasis on rhythmic Old Time bowing technique. Everything will be taught by ear, in a call-and-response format, with every phrase broken down to an approachable length and speed. We will talk a lot about bowing patterns and rhythmic devices within the context of learning the tunes. Other things we'll touch on are regional flavors in Old Time fiddling, playing for square dances, using drones and rocking to your advantage, Old Time "groove", playing with another fiddler, and the role of the fiddle in Old Time and Bluegrass.

 

Students who sign up should be at a level where they are able to hear a simple phrase or melody and find the notes on their instrument. We will be going to alternate tunings, so if you've never strayed out of standard tuning before, you may want to check that your pegs aren't frozen in one place and get them serviced if they are. I don't read music and I won't be handing out any notation, so I encourage students to bring a recording device. My approach is more intuitive than theory-based, though I am happy to answer questions about theory if I have the answers. I encourage students to share recordings with each other but I respectfully ask that none of it is posted online. I'd like students to ask as many questions as they want and hopefully spark some discussions, so that the class is fun and relaxed. Like playing music should be. 

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Gabrielle Macrae hails from the Old Time music hotbed and rain capitol of the country, Portland, Oregon. She grew up in a musical family and her earliest musical memories are of singing in the church children's choir which her mother directed and falling asleep under the kitchen table while her parents and their friends played music late into the night. She played a variety of instruments a a child, but didn't become interested in Old Time music until she started going to square dances as a teenager. There she was exposed to Appalachian music and dance at the hands of Foghorn Leghorn and the infamous square dance caller Bill Martin. She started playing banjo at age 17 and fiddle shortly after. This was the beginning of a lifelong obsession which brought her to North Carolina where she lived for several years in her late teens and early twenties while learning from and playing with some of the great local players of the region. She began performing with her sisters in The Macrae Sisters in 2008 after they released their debut album Old Sledge. Since then she has been performing and teaching at camps, festivals and venues across the US and the UK . While on tour in England with her sisters in 2012 she met Liverpudlian Barry Southern of The Loose Moose Stringband. The two began playing music together and formed The Horsenecks. They now split their time between Liverpool, England and the second rainiest city in the country, Astoria, Oregon. Gabrielle can be seen playing fiddle with The Horsenecks and Hook and Anchor, banjo with The Macrae Sisters, and guitar with The Waysiders. 

The Horsenecks

 

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Advanced Old-Time Fiddle with John Showman
 

Woops! We had the wrong workshop description up for a couple of days. Here's the right one. #somanydetails

Advanced Old-Time Fiddle In this class I’ll help students get really comfortable with cross-tunings, all with a special emphasis on bow groove and timing. We’ll learn some fun tunes and look at a few different ways to play them that capture some of the different styles of Old-Time fiddle music, from Appalachia to Texas.

 

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Classically trained in violin since childhood, Toronto based  John Showman has folded the sheet music, and emerged as one of the most dynamic, original, and exciting fiddlers in bluegrass music today. John also has the rare ability to understand the subtleties of old-time fiddle as well: which is why he won 1st place in the 2011 Fiddle Contest in Clifftop, West Virginia. He has been instrumental on the Canadian roots and bluegrass scene, notably for his involvement in two stylistically contrasting Toronto-based bands - the Foggy Hogtown Boys ( these boys won 2 Junos in 2011) and the Creaking Tree String Quartet. Most recently, John is the main thrust behind the alternative country band New Country Rehab, which Exclaim Magazine calls "One of the most exciting Folk-Rock acts in Canada."   John also is here with us this week as a member of Toronto's awesome old-timey group The Lonesome Ace Stringband.

We're excited to have John back at NimbleFingers!

Lonesome Ace Stringband
The Foggy Hogtown Boys

The Creaking Tree String Quartet

 

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Intermediate Mandolin
with Matt Hotte

This class will dive into to wonderful world of mandolin and it’s role in a bluegrass band. We will dive into back up, licks, tricks, solos and songs. We will study the greats of mandolin past and present with an emphasis on Bill Monroe. This class is perfect for expanding your traditional bluegrass mandolin horizons!

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Adrossan, Alberta born and raised Matt Hotte began playing fiddle at 4 years old and mandolin at 10 - and he's never looked back! He's always been a lover of traditional bluegrass music and music history. Matt started touring with a band called the Liberty Bluegrass Boys from Texas when he was 15 on banjo, and later a stint with The Gillis Brothers and then on to tour with Lost Highway from California on fiddle for 2 years. 

He's an extremely talented musician and teacher, and we're always glad to have him back. Matt also plays with sister Kayla Hotte.

Kayla and Matt Hotte

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Advanced Mandolin
with John Reischman

Advanced Mandolin -  In this class we will work to improve your playing in all aspects of bluegrass mandolin.  We will focus on everything from creating a strong rhythmic chop, to clean single note fiddle tune style playing, to double stops that work well in bluegrass songs.   We will also add to your repertoire by learning some bluegrass standards like Bill Monroe's Cheyenne, David Grisman's Dawg's Bull, as well as some of my originals including Salt Spring and The Eighth of February. 

As one of the acoustic worldʼs top-ranked mandolin players and composers, Vancouver based veteran artist John Reischman is renowned for his exquisite taste, tone and impeccable musicianship. His mastery of the instrument is showcased today in the powerful bluegrass band John Reischman and the Jaybirds, and his melodic Latin/jazz instrumental duo with highly regarded acoustic guitar stylist John Miller.

A familiar figure at bluegrass, folk and jazz festivals, John is also a highly-regarded workshop leader and participates in music camps (including NimbleFingers!) and workshops throughout North America and England.

John Reischman
John Reischman and The Jaybirds

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Lead and Harmony Singing
with Pharis Romero

Lead and Harmony Singing The beautiful joy of bluegrass, old time, and early country singing.  First off, let's take time every day to build up your singing skills in tone, breathing, projection and range.  These skills will help you find new freedom and confidence to explore and develop your own voice while we build up a solid repertoire of songs from the old recordings and songbooks.  We'll delve into harmony singing early on, learning the practical and the intuitive sides of the art.  This is a class for all levels of singers, from the novice to the more advanced. We'll find plenty to excite and challenge you at all levels. 

 

Pharis Romero has been called a "historical treasure" by the BC Folklore Society, and rightly so. On stage from a very young age with her family's country band, classically trained and country schooled, she’s imbues her singing, songwriting and guitar playing with years of listening to, studying and playing old roots music. She lives in Horsefly, BC with her partner in music, business and life Jason, and two beautiful little kids. Pharis works in the J. Romero Banjo workshop when not on the road or teaching. She’s also the Artistic Director for Voice Works, a music camp for all things voice.
 

Together Pharis and Jason have released four duo records, with a brand new one out in May 2018. They won a Juno Award in 2016, and have performed across North America and the UK, on A Prairie Home Companion and toured with CBC's The Vinyl Cafe. They are passionate teachers and believers in many things folk, and their heartbreakingly harmonic live show is an ever-evolving and never-ending quest for good songs and beautiful sounds.

Pharis and Jason Romero
Romero Banjos

Video - Sweet Old Religion

 

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Band Lab with
Anne Louise Genest

This comprehensive Adventures in Band Lab workshop for intermediate players will focus on repertoire and skill development for solo and ensemble playing. Working with material from both bluegrass and oldtime traditions, we’ll take songs and tunes and workshop them from A to Z. How do we choose repertoire? What makes a song resonate with us? How do we interpret it and make it our own? How do we develop it for performance, whether it’s for the stage or for the living room? What are the roles of different instruments in the context of ensemble playing? How do we communicate with each other and work effectively in a band context? How does a solo player deliver “the goods”? What to do when there are three guitars and no mandolin? These are some examples of the ideas we’ll focus on as we play together. We’ll form bands within the class and focus on particular songs, working them up from start to finish and sharing with each other in a safe and supportive “band lab” context. The week will also include a series of mini-workshops to give you tools to develop your skills as a solo and ensemble player, such as lead and vocal harmony, solo and backup playing on different instruments, stagecraft, working the mic, and more! 

If you’re ready to try something a little different at NimbleFingers, and want to apply and develop your musical skills in a broader context than single instrument study this workshop is for you.

Vancouver Island based Anne Louise Genest, who performs under the stage name Annie Lou, has been touring major festivals and stages nationally and internationally for several years. Drawn to the haunting flavours of old time mountain, bluegrass, and traditional country music, her original songs are steeped in these influences and chronicle the hard-hit, hard-won victories of everymen and women. Her latest recording, Tried and True, includes collaborations with some of the best of Canadian acoustic musicians and showcases her ongoing evolution as an artist, with deep nods to the older music and a modern feel that connects the past to the present.

A Juno and multiple Canadian Folk Music Award nominee, Anne Louise is becoming a familiar face at many music workshops across the country, where she has taught vocals, guitar, songwriting, and clawhammer banjo. She loves to teach, and to learn, and shares that joy with her students in an accessible and supportive environment. 

Annie Lou
Video - Tried and True


 

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Songwriting with Mark Simos

At Berklee, I’m privileged to teach talented, focused aspiring songwriters, most of whom are oriented toward contemporary popular styles. I love diving deep into song craft and form. Yet I also love traditional music, and songwriting in and inspired by those traditions. I know profound musical and soul mysteries lie beneath the surface of songs and tunes that sound deceptively “simple” on first listen. In our week together, I will seek to unite these loves—for craft, and for tradition. Each morning we’ll explore a classic song, old or new, out of the Celtic, old-time, bluegrass, or related traditions. Listening with fresh ears, as songwriters, we’ll “steal fire”: draw out specific tools and techniques—of melody, chords, imagery, storytelling—we can adapt in new songs. In the afternoons, we’ll apply these techniques in writing challenges, collaboration, and workshopping your own songs.

I have found this format works well in a camp setting, where songwriting can be more difficult to “self-level” than instrumental classes. I welcome any who also love old songs heard new, new songs chiming ancient tones—whether you’re an experienced writer, or are newly inspired to try your hand and voice at it. Come with a songwriting journal, a “song you wish you’d written” to share and study, and a song of your own to work on with the group, if you’re ready for that. Let’s steal some fire and light up!

 

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Mark Simos is a respected songwriter, fiddler, accompanist, tunesmith and composer, teacher and author, whose work combines grounding in varied traditional styles with a continuing willingness to explore, innovate, and stretch musical boundaries. More than 150 of Mark’s songs and instrumentals (“traditional tunes from imaginary countries”), with his distinctive signature of surprising turns of melody and harmony and intricately crafted lyrics, have been recorded by roots, Americana, and bluegrass artists including Laurie Lewis and Tom Rozum, Alison Krauss and Union Station, Ricky Skaggs, the Del McCoury Band, and the Infamous Stringdusters. Fellow songwriter and teacher Bob Franke describes Mark as “an artist who has spent enough time with traditional music to learn its spiritual as well as its musical lessons, and to use that learning to forge an art at once timeless and utterly contemporary.”

Mark founded Berklee’s Appalachian Old-Time Ensemble, and is proud to have mentored many next-generation roots musicians in songwriting and tunewriting, including: Maeve Gilchrist, Maya de Vitry (Stray Birds), Sierra Hull, Molly Tuttle, Courtney Hartmann (Della Mae), Bronwyn Keith-Hynes (Mile 12), Jenna Moynihan and Màiri Chaimbeul, and Allison de Groot (Molsky’s Mountain Drifters). As lead faculty facilitator for Berklee’s Songs for Social Change initiative, Mark is also committed to inspiring and empowering songwriters to lend their artistic voices to issues and causes they believe in most deeply.

Mark Simos - Devachan Music
Mark Simos - Berklee College of Music

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Intermediate Ukulele
with Steve Roy

This workshop assumes that you already know some of the most common ukulele chords  - C, F, G, etc  We'll get used to reading chord charts and singing along while playing, explore different strumming patterns, and also try plucking out melodies and reading tablature.. We'll also talk about a little bit of music theory,  see how chords fit into the common keys, and how to use a capo.  we'll be focusing on songs and tunes from the bluegrass and old-time  repertoires so that you'll be able to fit right into the NimbleFingers jamming scene!

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Steve Roy is a multi-instrumentalist from the New Hampshire Seacoast. Known primarily as an upright bass player, but also a fantastic Ukulele player, he has performed and toured internationally with a myriad of bluegrass's top artists, including Laurie Lewis and Tom Rozum, Darol Anger, Joy Kills Sorrow, Frank Solivan and Dirty Kitchen, Hit and Run Bluegrass, Chris Stuart and Backcountry, Spring Creek Bluegrass, The Brakemen, and many more.. He also leads the exploratory jazz group Jazzputin and the Jug Skunks, and performs around New England with a wide variety of bands, including Erica Brown and the Bluegrass Connection, the Stowaways, Grassputin, Steve and Dave Play Dead, High Range, Spinal Tarp, and many others. 

He is a faculty member at 317 Main St. Community Music Center in Yarmouth, ME and at the Portsmouth Music and Arts Center in Portsmouth, NH, teaching bass, mandolin, fiddle, guitar, and ensembles. Steve has also been featured as an instructor at many of the top bluegrass and music camps (including many years at NimbleFingers!)  in the US and Canada. Just to add a wee bit of icing on the proverbial cake, Steve is also a professional archaeologist with field experience in the Northeast US and Central America. Dude!

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