Lets Jam!:
Keith Yoder

Guitar 101:
Anne Louise Genest

Intermediate Old Time
and Country Rhythm Guitar:
Karen Celia Heil

Intermediate Swing Guitar:
Jeff Dill

Intermediate Flatpicking Guitar:
Craig Young

Advanced Flatpicking Guitar:
Rick Faris

Intermediate Bluegrass Banjo:
Miles Zurawell

Advanced Bluegrass Banjo:
Greg Cahill

Clawhammer Banjo
Chris Coole

Advanced Clawhammer Banjo
Luke Richardson

Intermediate Bass:
Joe Dejarnette

Advanced Bass:
Dan Eubanks

Intermediate Bluegrass Fiddle:
Miriam Sonstenes

Advanced Bluegrass Fiddle:
John Mailander

Intermediate Old-Time Fiddle:
Greg Canote

Advanced Old-Time Fiddle:
Joseph Decosimo

Beginning Mandolin:
Steve Roy

Intermediate Mandolin:
Nick Dumas

Lead and Harmony Singing:
Jenny Lester

All Levels Ukulele:
Jere Canote

Eli West

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 several years at NimbleFingers (Welcome back, Keith!).  Please view the full list of camps and events - Keith would love to meet you and pick some tunes!

Keith Yoder

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Guitar 101 with Anne Louise Genest


In Guitar 101,  we will work on building your skills as a guitar player for bluegrass and old time music. We’ll look at strumming patterns, chords, bass runs, scale patterns, and introduce you to flatpicking and the fundamentals of playing a melody based solo. We’ll also focus on dynamics that will help you in a jam or band context, with some tips on how to play when the speed of the jam is a little faster than you are used to. We will work on self-accompaniment, so we’ll be doing a lot playing and singing! To get the most out of our week together, you should come to camp with some basic skills: be familiar with at least the G, C, and D chords and be able to change these chords slowly with some fluidity. It would also be helpful if you have some experience using a flatpick. Our main goal will be to play a lot and to have a lot of fun playing, and send you home with inspiration and the tools you need to keep on playing through those long winter nights.

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. 

This will be Anne Louise’s eighth year as a workshop leader in Sorrento. She loves to teach, and to learn, and shares that joy with her students in an accessible and supportive environment. We love having you too, Anne Louise!

Annie Lou
Video - Tried and True

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Intermediate Old Time and Country Rhythm Guitar with Karen Celia Heil

Intermediate Old~Time and Country Rhythm Guitar:  a hands~on workshop to hone your boom chuck skills, add to your bass run inventory, improve ergonomics and tone. Be open to trying some new techniques, and challenging yourselfI'll choose some fun fiddle tunes, a couple of songs, and we will explore the possibilities. Maybe even work on a little guitar break. We will work on the aesthetics of chord choices, crooked tunes, and more! My goal is that you go home with inspiration, enthusiasm and lots of stuff to work on!



One of the finest guitarists on the Old Time scene and beyond, Karen Celia Heil lays down a driving foundation for The Bucking Mules to work their magic. Her singing brings the Mules' performances emotional richness and depth. Cutting her teeth in California's rich traditional music scene, she began making pilgrimages to Southern fiddler’s conventions, eventually finding herself in the living rooms of the region's master musicians.  A fun and skilled teacher of fiddle and guitar, Karen is an esteemed instructor in the Bay Area and has taught at the finest music camps and festivals. Her performing experience includes being cast in the award winning production of the musical “Fire On the Mountain” (2015) and the Kate Weare Dance Company production and recording of “Brightlands” (2011).


The Bucking Mules

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Intermediate Western Swing Chord
 Guitar with Jeff Dill


Come spice up your playing repertoire with some guitar swing chords!  They're great for backing up texas style fiddle tunes and classic Western Swing songs from the likes of Bob Wills and The Texas Playboys, Lefty Frizzel, Gene Watson, and of course Red Knuckles and The Trailblazers!  Using some classic songs as templates we will go through some standard chord progressions, so the 6-2-5-1 can be as familiar to you as the Nashville 1-4-5. We will talk about some of the rhythmic nuances that give this genre its infectious groove. We will look at some cool chord inversions that can lead to bass lines up and down the big E string, or playing all the chords while barely moving your hand. We will explore how the diminished chord and extended chords can be your friends. If there is time we can get into some improvising with chords or other licks and tricks over some standard songs.

Hopefully, students will have already tried some closed 4 note chord shapes like G6 or Am7 or D7. I will provide some song and chord shape handouts. Be open to a little theory, but it won't be too cerebral, we can build a couple more concepts on what you already know. In most cases it will be showing how something you already know can be applied somewhere else. Let's Swing!


Jeff Dill began music at a young age, singing in his school choir and playing piano and trumpet in his school jazz ensemble. His earliest performance memory is singing a solo in Old Paint with his choir at age 6. As a teen he taught himself to play guitar, and formed his first band, playing original songs and rock covers. He has spent the last ten years immersed in the Victoria bluegrass and old-time scene playing rhythm and lead guitar. With a strong passion for traditional bluegrass and western swing, he performs regularly with fiddler Miriam Sonstenes and is a founding member of Flash In The Pan. He has also spent time studying celtic guitar accompaniment, and even did a stint playing klezmer guitar with the Yiddish Columbia State Orchestra. His musical travels have taken him to Ireland, North Carolina, Louisiana, and across Canada on VIA Rail's Artists on Board Program. He is a member of Victoria's Riverside Bluegrass Band, and enjoys teaching bluegrass and western swing guitar, most recently at Vancouver Island Music Workshop.

Miriam and Jeff


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Intermediate Flatpicking Guitar
with Craig Young

In this Intermediate Flatpicking Guitar workshop we'll be looking at the right hand technique of flatpicking. We’ll be learning how to insert "bluesy" licks and riffs in traditional bluegrass and country, and finding the good color notes that make a simple idea turn into an interesting idea. 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, also for the left hand- hammer ons and pull offs and slides 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. And of course, lots of playing with songs and some basic fiddle tunes from Russ Barenberg’s 20 guitar solos.


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.

We're happy to welcome Craig back to NimbleFingers for two weeks this year!

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


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Advanced Flatpicking Guitar
with Rick Faris


There's nothing quite like playing guitar. It can smooth out a song in a soft and tender moment lyrically or power drive the attitude home during a banjo solo. You can lend so much colour and depth to a song someone's singing or overall band sound. In this Advanced Guitar Class you will learn to practice effectively, expand your understanding of melody and the solo building process. You'll also learn how to push up the fretboard into the unknown, construct complex licks, solos and rhythm ideas.

Rick Faris is known in the world of bluegrass music as an award-winning guitar player. Born in Illinois, raised in Arkansas and Missouri, Rick and his family moved to Kansas in 1991, and he started playing with the Faris Family Bluegrass Band in 1998. Although guitar was his first instrument (he began playing when he was 7 years old), Rick also plays dobro, banjo and mandolin. The Faris Family band toured extensively throughout the USA and Canada and was awarded Traditional Bluegrass Group of the Year, Instrumental Group of the Year, Vocal Group of the Year and Entertaining Group of the Year several times by the Society for the Preservation of Bluegrass Music in America (SPBGMA). Rick was awarded the SPBGMA Midwest Guitar Performer of the Year in 2005 and 2008. He was one of the first teachers at the Americana Music Academy in Lawrence, Kansas (where he remained a teacher of guitar and dobro for five years). When not on the road, Rick spends his “spare time” as an excellent luthier, building guitars (there is a two-year waiting list). Rick became the Special Consensus mandolin player in 2009 and appeared on the 2010 band recording “35,” on the 2012 Grammy-nominated band recording “Scratch Gravel Road” and on the 2014 International Bluegrass Music Association (IBMA) award-winning band recording “Country Boy: A Bluegrass Tribute To John Denver” (all released by Compass Records). In 2015, Rick moved to the guitar player position (playing the guitar he built for himself) and he made his recording debut as the Special Consensus guitar player on the 2016 Compass Records band recording “Long I Ride,” which also received an IBMA award.

Special Consensus



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Intermediate Bluegrass Banjo
with Miles Zurawell


In the Intermediate Bluegrass Banjo class, we’ll cover practice techniques, applying light music theory, the role of the bluegrass banjo including backing up other instruments and constructing our own solos. We’ll study a vocal tune to learn how to derive solos from a melody line, and also a fiddle tune or two. This will involve mixing together ideas from the three major banjo styles (Scruggs, single-string, and melodic). Other topics may be covered depending on level of the participants and specific areas that the class may want covered. It’s recommended that participants have an understanding of Scruggs-style roll patterns and can play them fluidly up to speed. Learning will be mostly by ear with some TAB for assistance. Recording devices will be allowed. I’m excited to pick with ya’ll and spread the love of the bluegrass banjo far and wide!



Miles Zurawell is an up-and-coming banjo and dobro accompanist hailing from Ardrossan, Alberta. He has performed throughout western Canada with his current project Nomad Jones, as well as the Greg Blake Band. Performances include the Sooke River Bluegrass Festival, Blueberry Bluegrass Festival, Shady Grove Bluegrass Festival, NimbleFingers Bluegrass and Old-Time Festival, and Wide Cut Weekend. Miles discovered bluegrass and the banjo while studying biology in university. Since the he bought his first banjo and heard Earl Scruggs for the first time, he has developed a passion for the genre that runs deep and has studied the masters intensely ever since. 


Nomad Jones
Video - Let Me Fall & Back to the Barrooms

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Advanced Bluegrass Banjo
with Greg Cahill


The primary goal of this class will be to have fun playing the banjo while learning about various styles and concepts to help us grow as players. Discussion topics will include an overview of Scruggs, melodic and single string styles and how to integrate and interchange them in your playing; how to connect the basic chord positions over the fingerboard; finding the melody and creating solos around the melody in different keys; playing backup (down-the-neck and up-the-neck) behind vocals and other instruments; learning basic scales and how to create licks from scales; how to interchange licks and passages for improvisation; and basic concepts for transposing solos from one key to another. Tablature handouts will be provided and we will include concepts for learning by ear as well.

Our secondary goal is to have everyone leave camp smiling, with more tools to play with confidence and to share the joy of playing the banjo with the world!   



Chicago born and bred, Greg Cahill has been playing bluegrass banjo since the early 1970s. He co-founded The Special Consensus in Chicago in 1975 and has continued to tour nationally and internationally with the band ever since. In 1984, he created the Traditional American Music (TAM) Program to introduce students of all ages to bluegrass music. He has appeared on all 17 of The Special Consensus recordings, on numerous recordings by other artists and on many national television and radio commercial jingles. Greg has also released three recordings: “Lone Star” (1980, with guests Jethro Burns and Byron Berline); “Blue Skies” (1992, with Chicago mandolinist Don Stiernberg); and “Night Skies” (1998, with Don Stiernberg and guests Sam Bush, Glen Duncan and Tom Boyd). He has also recorded and toured European countries with the ChowDogs (Slavek Hanzlik, Dallas Wayne and Ollie O’Shea).

Greg has released four banjo instructional DVDs and two banjo tablature books, and he teaches banjo at festival workshops and at music camps nationally and internationally. He is a banjo instructor at the Old Town School of Folk Music in Chicago and has been an adjunct faculty member of the music department (teaching banjo) at Columbia College in Chicago. He served on the Nashville-based International Bluegrass Music Association (IBMA) Board of Directors from 1998-2010 (Board Chair/President 2006-2010), became a Kentucky Colonel in 2010 and was awarded the prestigious IBMA Distinguished Achievement Award in 2011. Greg was also appointed to the Board of Directors of the Nashville-based Foundation for Bluegrass Music in 2007, elected President of the organization in 2011 and rotated off that board in 2012. The 2012 Compass Records band recording “Scratch Gravel Road” was Grammy-nominated, the 2014 Compass Records band recording “Country Boy: A Bluegrass Tribute To John Denver” received two International Bluegrass Music Association (IBMA) awards and the 2016 Compass Records band recording “Long I Ride” also received an IBMA award.


Special Consensus


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Beginner/Intermediate Clawhammer Banjo with Chris Coole

Beginning Clawhammer Banjo - This class will introduce (or re-introduce) students to the basics of the right hand technique in the clawhammer style. The "basic strum", "double thumbing" and "drop thumbing" will be laid out and put into the context of some simple (but pleasing) old-time tunes and songs. The student will walk away with everything they need to go home, practice for the winter and then emerge as "the next big thing" at camp next year.


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

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Advanced Clawhammer Banjo
with Luke Richardson


As a banjo player it is important to be supportive and versatile.  Though there are many approaches to the instrument, the subtleties of sound can easily be lost on an inexperienced ear.  In this advanced clawhammer class we will study the sounds of Virginia's Wade Ward, specifically working towards achieving his galloping rhythm.  Since not all tunes call for a galloping rhythm or a melody-centric approach, we will also attempt to make clawhammer resemble the sound of finger style by using sparse melody and more chordal suggestions.  These are the main ideas of the class, but we will carve out plenty of time for tunes and every tuning imaginable.  Please bring a recorder and an open mind!

unnamed 2.jpg

Luke Richardson's music rolls with the arresting and subtle beauty of the hills around his family's farm in Lawrenceburg, Tennessee. With an intuitive ability to match the fiddle, both on banjo and harmonica, Luke pushes the music along with grace, ease, and drive. A practitioner of multiple styles of old time banjo, Luke explores the potential of the banjo in a strikingly creative yet regionally-informed way. His banjo playing has earned him two National Old Time Banjo Championships. His fiddling, ace harmonica playing, and singing bring texture and range into the Mules' performances. A cosmopolitan old time musician who has been a key feature of old time scenes from Brooklyn to the UK, Luke is an in-demand old time performer and teacher.

The Bucking Mules

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Intermediate Bass with Joe Dejarnette

The bass workshop will focus on solid rhythm playing for dancing and concert settings and we will emphasize quality time keeping. I am excited to share my experience, techniques, thoughts, tips and stories about: 

    •    Timing
    •    Tone
    •    Right and left hand techniques and exercises
    •    Performance
    •    Sound reinforcement options
    •    Note choice, runs, ornaments, slap styles and what not to play (don’t be afraid of        open spaces!)

Class will consist of mostly hands -on playing. Topics will be introduced, followed by an immediate application of that concept through playing live in the room with a guitar and/or fiddle.  Bring a bass and be ready to play! Recording devices welcome, I teach by ear, there will be no tablature or chord charts.

Raised in Virginia's piedmont and residing in the Blue Ridge, Joseph “Joebass” DeJarnette brings both rocksteady, driving bass playing and deep experience to the Mules. He has been playing and recording traditional American music for over a decade and knows how to draw audiences into performances of traditional music. As a founding member of The WIYOS, he toured the US, Canada and Europe. The only member of the band to have played dates on a Bob Dylan and Willie Nelson tour, he has connected with diverse audiences from stages at the Newport Folk Festival, to the Lincoln Center, to the Appalachian String Band Festival in West Virginia. Joe's tasteful bass playing, musical acumen, and joyous stage presence put him in a category all his own. A veteran of festivals and camps, he directs the Augusta Heritage Center Old Time Music Week. 

The Bucking Mules

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Advanced Bass
with Dan Eubanks


In this workshop we'll be focusing on bass line construction using standard bluegrass songs to demonstrate very simple lines evolving to more complex lines, while still retaining the core elements necessary to achieve a good groove and support the melodic, harmonic, and rhythmic elements of each piece. We will also be discussing the theory behind these bass lines in order to increase participants’ awareness of the fundamentals of music, improving ability to "think on their feet" and improvise. 



Dan Eubanks grew up in Crystal City and St. Louis, Missouri, and his grandparents began taking him to bluegrass festivals at a very young age in the 1970s. He began playing music on drums, then banjo and guitar, and eventually electric bass at age 12. Dan played in country and rock bands throughout high school and attended college on a music scholarship. His study of jazz bass playing eventually led him to the upright bass and a very diverse musical education that included study of nearly all styles of American music and procurement of a Master’s degree in Jazz Studies from Webster University in St. Louis. In 2003, after many years of teaching at several St. Louis-area colleges and universities as an adjunct professor, Dan’s desire to get back to his bluegrass and country roots prompted his move to Nashville. He has been teaching, performing with various bands and working as a studio session musician since his relocation, and he has appeared on the television show “Nashville” several times as a side musician in bands that support main characters. Dan joined Special Consensus in 2013 and appeared on the 2014 International Bluegrass Music Association (IBMA) award-winning Compass Records band recording “Country Boy: A Bluegrass Tribute To John Denver” and on the 2016 Compass Records band recording “Long I Ride,” which also received an IBMA award.

Special Consensus


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Intermediate Bluegrass Fiddle
with Miriam Sonstenes


Get ready to learn some fun and jam-friendly bluegrass fiddle tunes. We'll learn these by ear, starting with the melody, then adding harmony (twin) parts, and chords so we understand each tune from melody and chord perspectives. This will open the door to improvising, an essential, and sometimes scary part of being a bluegrass fiddler. This might be as simple as embellishing a melody you already know, using blues notes, bowing patterns and rhythmic variations. We'll also get into all the different ways a fiddle contributes to a bluegrass band – playing tunes, backing-up a singer, taking breaks, adding fils, and chopping. And let's not forget some tasty kick off and ending licks. You'll learn tunes, but more importantly skills, in a very hands on setting. Bring a recording device and a notebook – there will be lots to take in and save for later practice.



Miriam Sonstenes is a versatile fiddle player, formally trained in classical violin and well versed in both Old Time and Bluegrass. Growing in up Germany until the age of nine, music was an integral part of her early childhood. Miriam discovered fiddle music while finishing up a classical music degree at the University of Victoria. She found herself drawn to Irish, Appalachian, swing and bluegrass, the roots music which has come to inspire her current playing, projects and compositions. She has spent the last ten years performing, teaching and composing music steeped in folk traditions.

Miriam is a member of the award winning acoustic roots trio The Sweet Lowdown. The group has toured Canada, the US and the UK, and in 2015 was featured on CBC's Vinyl Cafe with Stuart McLean. Recently, Miriam spent time in North Carolina with bluegrass fiddler Bobby Hicks, after receiving a study grant from the Canada Council for The Arts. She is currently performing with partner Jeff Dill, The Sweet Lowdown, and The Unfaithful Servants. When not on the road, she has a full teaching studio at home. Her straight forward approach, infused with a broad knowledge of styles and techniques keeps her in demand at camps and workshops across BC and in the North West Territories.

Miriam has been a popular teacher at NimbleFingers and we're glad to have her back!

Miriam Sonstenes


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Advanced Bluegrass Fiddle
with John Mailander


Advanced Bluegrass Fiddle In this class we will cover many of the essential techniques of playing bluegrass fiddle in a band or jam session setting. Topics will include tone, phrasing, melodic-based improvisation, double stops, accompanying singers, rhythmic techniques and more. We'll work on building confidence, adapting and taking risks, and learn a new tune or two too! We'll have a great time exploring our instruments and making music together this week.


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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Intermediate Old-Time Fiddle
with Greg Canote


We’ll spend some quality time with a handful of beautiful old tunes while we explore the left and right-hand techniques that really make it sound Old-Time. On the left hand we’ll include ornaments, open string drones and double-stops. On the right hand, we’ll take steps toward becoming the bosses of the bows with phrasing, simple patterns, dips and pulses. We’ll take advantage of more relaxed tempos that will allow us to enjoy the internal rhythm and the magical order of notes. Be prepared to have some fun! Bring a working fiddle and a recording device. Not so arcane secrets revealed!


Greg Canote has spent most of his musical life singing and playing fiddle with his twin brother Jere as The Canote Brothers. He has played hundreds of square dances with his brother and with dance icon Sandy Bradley (Small Wonder String Band). While his first love is old-time, over the years, he has also dipped his toes and fingers into Bluegrass (Curly Maple), 1920’s (Volunteer Park Conservatory Orchestra), Ragtime (Bing Bang Boys), Country (El Rancho Cowboys), Swing (Canote Brothers) and Honky Tonk (Honky Tonk Review). For thirteen years, Greg and Jere were the affable, musical side-kicks on National Public Radio’s “Sandy Bradley’s Potluck” out of Seattle, and the two have led a successful, ongoing, stringband workshop there since 1983.

Greg has been on staff at many festivals and workshops in the states, including the Swannanoa Gathering, Augusta Heritage Workshop, Mars Hill Blue Ridge Old-Time Week, Pinewoods, Puget Sound Guitar Workshop, NimbleFingers, The Festival of American Fiddle Tunes, and American Banjo Camp.

The Canotes
Video - Down in the Old Hometown

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Advanced Old-Time Fiddle
with Joseph Decosimo


In this advanced fiddle workshop, we’ll delve into some elements of style that make old-time fiddling powerful and moving, including old school ornamentation, bowing nuance, shadings of intonation, and rhythmic play. We’ll focus on capturing the feel of the music and having some fun with it, discussing how we listen and bring old recordings to life in our own playing. We’ll also consider how to make the best music possible by ourselves, in jams, and for dancers. We’ll explore some compelling fiddlers and captivating repertoires from the American South, tapping into music from better-known fiddlers like Marcus Martin and Clyde Davenport while also exploring less-known gems like Oscar Overturf and Osey Helton. We’ll work in a range of tunings (GDAE, AEAE, AEAC#, DDAD).

Participants will leave with an appreciation for the region’s diverse, beautiful sounds, strategies and ideas for learning on their own, and a nuanced feel for a handful of tunes. To get the most out of the week, folks should have solid fiddle skills, comfort learning by ear, and the ability to play in multiple keys. Recording devices are encouraged.


A North Carolina resident with musical roots in East Tennessee, Joseph Decosimo strives to bring the older sounds and repertoires to life in his fiddling, banjo playing, and singing. As a younger player, he spent time with older fiddlers and banjo players in East Tennessee, learning their music and stories. Drawing inspiration from these relationships and from the region's deep musical well, he injects new life into the old tunes. A sought-after performer and dedicated teacher, he has shared his music at festivals, camps, and venues throughout the country and abroad. His fiddling and banjo playing have won blue ribbons at the most prestigious fiddle contests in the South. His band, the Bucking Mules, has won two blue ribbons at Clifftop and performs around the country. He also plays banjo and fiddle in the Blue Ridge Broadcasters. He served on the faculty in ETSU's Bluegrass, Old Time, and Country Music Studies Program, teaching Appalachian Studies and old-time fiddle and banjo. A trained folklorist, he is completing a dissertation on old-time music.

The Bucking Mules

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Beginning Mandolin with Steve Roy

In this workshop, we'll be working on all of the essentials of mandolin playing.  We'll explore the melodies and chords of some of the great songs and fiddle tunes.  We'll also delve into the mandolin styles of a few of the mandolin masters of the past (such as Bill Monroe!), and learn some licks and ideas that can help you build you own solos.  We'll get used to reading tablature (TAB), and also learn by ear as well.  There'll be a little bit of practical music theory thrown in there to help you understand what we're working on, and we'll explore some right and left hand technique essentials that will get you playing cleaner and faster.  We'll get you acquainted with all things mandolin, and probably have a few laughs while we're at it.  

Coffee Steve.jpg

Steve Roy is a multi-instrumentalist from the NH Seacoast. Known primarily as an upright bass 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 with 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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Intermediate Mandolin
with Nick Dumas

This will be an intermediate friendly class starting with basic techniques such as tone, tempo & timing (the three T's), along with standard fiddle tunes & jam songs focusing on melody and improvisation. We will work with chords and chord structures to the songs and work on unique rhythm patterns to accompany the tunes. If time permits, we will work on appropriate fills and licks that can go in between vocal phrases on traditional bluegrass jam tunes. We will go over correct right and left hand techniques that will help for smoother and cleaner playing, as well as a confident feel with the instrument. I teach mostly by ear but will have tab provided for reference. I'm SO excited to work with everyone who joins the class. We're going to have a great time!"

Nick Dumas grew up in Brier, Washington, and was introduced to bluegrass music at a very young age by his dobro-playing grandfather. He often listened to his grandfather’s country gospel band rehearse and was so inspired by the fiddle player that he started learning to play the violin in his school orchestra class when he was 12 years old. Nick soon began taking private fiddle lessons and then joined the family band The Three Generations, formed by his grandfather, his mother and his aunt. After learning to play mandolin, guitar and banjo and to sing lead and harmony vocals, Nick became a co-founder of the popular Northwest-based bluegrass band Northern Departure. He soon became known as a highly respected mandolin player and singer in the region and co-founded another very popular bluegrass band called North Country Bluegrass, touring both regionally and nationally. In 2015, Nick was very pleased to relocate to Tennessee to become the new Special Consensus mandolin player. He made his Special C recording debut on the 2016 Compass Records band release “Long I Ride,” which received the 2016 International Bluegrass Music Association (IBMA) Instrumental Recorded Performance of the Year Award for the tune “Fireball.”

Special Consensus

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Lead and Harmony Singing
with Jenny Lester

One of the beauties of bluegrass harmony is that there is a solid approach and structure to rely upon that crosses genres and cultures. Together we will learn the melody and work on skills to help strengthen the delivery of each of our unique voices.  Then we’ll learn how to create 2, 3, and 4 harmony parts using feeling and theory.  Be prepared to laugh as we bump around the process and shiver when it all comes together in harmonic beauty.


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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All Levels Ukulele with Jere Canote

If you know a handful of uke chords, and can keep a steady rhythm, you are ready for this class! We'll work on some new strums, and some banjo, & guitar techniques (clawhammer and fingerpicking ) that work well on the uke. We'll also pick some melodies, and explore some up the neck chords. All this while playing the great old time songs of Uncle Dave Macon, Charlie Poole, and Riley Puckett!

Bring a uke or banjo-uke tuned GCEA.


Jere Canote got a Stella guitar for Christmas in his second year of high school. His first song was "On Top Of Old Smokey". He quickly progressed to strumming Beatles songs (when his twin brother Greg saw that playing music was a good way to meet girls!) Over the years, Jere picked up the harmonica, the banjo, the pan pipes, and the ukulele. He teaches at an ongoing weekly stringband class. (29 years!) with brother Greg and friend Candy Goldman. He has played in many bands ( see Greg's bio) from Cajun (humble Swamp Gods) to old time (the Lizella Rockets), and taught guitar, bajno and ukulele at many music and dance camps (see Greg's bio again!) including: Lady of the Lake Camps in Idaho, California Coast Music Camp ,Blue Ridge Old Time Music Week (North Carolina), the Portland Uke Fest, and the Colorado Roots Music Camp. Oh yeah, NimbleFingers too!

Jere says "I love the one man band quality of the clawhammer banjo, and love to teach how to combine melody, chords and rhythmic bounce into one happy sound". 

The Canotes
Video -
Down in the Old Hometown

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with Eli West


Building a song from any level: Starting with fun and explorative creative writing exercises, we will help each other to build on themes.  Approachable conversations around accessibility and authenticity will also help in our creative decision making. 
In addition, listening sessions to older recordings will help us identify cultural appropriation and cyclical meaning, what the listener hears, as well as timelessness. 



Eli West is a Seattle based multi-instrumentalist. With an interest in angular phrasing and non-traditional improvisation within the historic precedents of bluegrass and old-time music, his guitar playing has been called both unique and strong.   He has released a solo record in 2016 including duets with Bill Frisell and John Reischman, and three records as half of the new/old-time duo Cahalen Morrison and Eli West.  He also collaborates with Ben Winship, Joe Walsh, Norwegian fiddler Olav Mjelva, and others.  

Eli grew up on the receiving end of music camps, and so it feels quite right to come full circle, teaching now at camps including RockyGrass, Targhee, Centrum VoiceWorks and NimbleFingers.  

Eli West
Video - Brick in the Road

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