Friday, August 12, 2022

Registration Opening SOON!

Howdy, friends! 

Just a quick note to let you know that the Florida Gulf Coast Dulcimer Retreat will return to Homosassa Springs in 2023! More details to follow, obviously, but we wanted you all to know that it's a GO! 

Stay tuned for more, registration will open August 31st, so GET READY for some fun!

Tuesday, January 11, 2022

Details and Options For 2022

Here are some details for refunds on registrations and reservations:

If you decide to opt-in and roll-over your 2022 retreat registration to 2023, please contact either Bing ( or Jae ( so we can record that info into our spreadsheet.

The Florida Cracker Riverside Resort will NOT be charging for room cancelations.  If you're planning on coming to Homosassa regardless, and want to stay in your room, your original rate applies.

If you're planning on staying, and want to still make a little music, Sharrie's info below will help you decide if you'll want to join us for the cruise:

We’re all disappointed not to see you all for the Retreat in Homosassa, but if you are interested, the Castaway Music Cruise is still an option if you have the dates available.

You can book a cabin for the prices below and pay $200.00 now and the balance by the 28th of January. Royal Caribbean is offering a “Cruising with Confidence” guarantee that says you can cancel up to 48 hrs before sailing and get your full amount paid as a “future cruise credit” that can be used within 1 year of our sail date. (They will refund if you have documentation from a doctor stating that it is not safe for you to sail, but they would review your cancellation first)

Cruising out of Tampa, FL aboard the Brilliance of the Seas for 5 nights, sailing to Nassau, Bahamas, and CocoCay, RCCL's Private Island.  Leaving Monday, Feb 28th, Returning Saturday, March 5th, 2022.

Prices as of Today:
Interior Cabin for 2 People starts at $729.52 total includes taxes and port fees - everything but gratuities which is $14.00/day/person)
Ocean View Cabin for 2 People starts at $791.52 total includes taxes and port fees - everything but gratuities which is $14.00/day/person)
Balcony Cabin for 2 People starts at $1283.26 total includes taxes and port fees - everything but gratuities which is $14.00/day/person)

These fares include all your meals, so if you compare that to what you would have been paying for the Retreat, the cost may be similar. Also, we are not charging for any workshops or jamming on the cruise. We are doing limited workshops by request and private lessons as available. But we will be doing daily activities and get-togethers with everyone, starting with Tai Chi at 6:30 am with Guy on Los Lobos Deck!

Royal Caribbean has taken many steps to make the cruises “safe and protected” for us all amid the new “Keep Safe from Covid” era.

1. All ships are sailing at a reduced capacity to ensure that social distancing can be maintained when inside the ship. (You may have heard the stories of ships that have returned home with folks testing positive, but there are plenty of ships sailing that the media don’t talk about because everyone is safe and testing negative.)

2. Only vaccinated individuals with proof of vaccination will be allowed to board the ship, and a negative test is required within 48 hrs of boarding. 

3. The crew are all required to have the same vaccination and tested each time they sail.

4. They are constantly sanitizing surfaces all over the ship as well as your cabin each day, something we saw happening the last time we all sailed in 2020 (we were on one of the last ships to cruise before the pandemic)

5. Masks are required for everyone when you are moving about the ship or in any area where social distancing is not possible unless you are seated or eating or drinking. 

6. We have 2 large conference rooms where we can jam, teach, and gather until 9 pm at night without any worry about distancing. (Very large rooms)

As hosts of the Castaway Music Cruise, Bing, Jae, Guy & Sharrie have all made the decision to sail unless Royal Caribbean feels it is not safe and cancels the cruise. We have 24 people in the “Castaway Crew” who are all going, and we would love to have you join us if you can!

Call Sharrie @ 440-478-1302 for more information and booking.  We’d love to be with you all and we’ll do the Retreat as soon as we can again!

Monday, January 10, 2022

ANNOUNCEMENT: Retreat Cancelation

We have been closely monitoring the situation with the COVID-19 variant Omicron, and after much consideration, we have made the decision to cancel the 2022 Florida Gulf Coast Dulcimer Retreat. All registered guests will either receive a full refund of registration fees or can opt-in to have their fees carried over to our 2023 event. 

This is not a decision we have taken lightly.  Our primary concern is always the responsibility we feel towards our registered guests, with public safety as our number one commitment. 

We are very disappointed that we’re unable to go forward with the retreat, but we know it’s the right decision based on the information we have today.  

We will be posting details regarding refunds and room reservation cancellations on our Facebook page as well as the main retreat site at

Take care of yourselves, and we look forward to hosting you in 2023.

Sharrie, Guy, Jae and Bing

Sunday, October 24, 2021

2023 Schedule

Hello, all!

Here is the schedule for our 9th Annual Florida Gulf Coast Dulcimer Retreat.  Unlike past years, we will have at least two primary locations for workshops.  Currently, we'll simply call these "Area 1" and "Area 2."  Be sure to check the workshop descriptions for skill levels and details!


8:30 am - 9:30 am - Ukulele Basics! - BEGINNER - Sharrie (UKE) Area 2
9:45 am - 10:45 am - Beginning Pennywhistle or REVIEW!! - Guy (PW) Area 2
11 am - 12 pm - Right-Hand Strumming - Richard (MD) Area 2
12:15 pm - 1:15 pm - Manatee Orchestra - Mountain Dulcimers - Bing (MD) Area 2
1:45 pm - 2:45 pm - Manatee Orchestra for Hammered Dulcimer, Pennywhistle, & Steel Drum - Guy (HD, PW, SD) Area 1
3 pm - 4 pm - Melody, Harmony, Fills & Thrills on the Ukulele - Manatee Orchestra - Sharrie (UKE) Area 2
4:15 pm - 5:15 pm - Tuning Your Dulcimer By Ear - Richard (MD) Area 2
4:15 pm - 5:15 pm - Learn & Play the Jumbie Jam Steel Drum! - Guy (SD) Area 1


8:30 am - 9:30 am -  Murder Ballads Greatest Hits - Richard (MD) Area 2
9:45 am - 10:45 am - Part 1 - Hammered Dulcimer, Pennywhistle, & Steel Drum play Calypso Music! - Guy (HD, PW, SD) Area 1
11 am - 12 pm - Mountain Dulcimer - Key Changes Made Easy! - Bing (MD) Area 2
12:30 pm - 1:30 pm - Strum Some Fun on the Uke! - Sharrie (UKE) Area 2
1:45 pm - 2:45 pm - Shenandoah Variations - Richard (MD) Area 2
3 pm - 4 pm - Mountain Dulcimer - Fingerpickin' Good - Bing (MD) Area 2
4:15 pm - 5:15 pm - Part 2 - Calypso & Pirate tunes on HD, Pennywhistle, & Steel Drum! - Guy (HD, PW, SD) Area 1


8:30 am - 9:30 am - Jazz Up Your Chords on Ukulele - Sharrie (UKE) Area 2
9:45 am - 10:45 am - Learning To Play Native American Flute - Bing (NAF) Area 2
11 am - 12 pm - Hawaiian Strumming - Fast! - Sharrie (UKE) Area 2
12:30 pm - 1:30 pm - Manatee Orchestra - Mountain Dulcimers - Bing (MD) Area 1
1:45 pm - 4 pm - Manatee Orchestra Rehearsal Area 1

The Manatee Orchestra will open up the Saturday evening concert at 7 pm


9:45 am - 10:45 am - Sunday Morning Coming Down - Bing (ALL) Area 2

Monday, August 9, 2021

Richard Ash Workshops

Richard Ash Workshops

Right-Hand Strumming

Tonal And Amplitude Variations - Let's add some variety to your strumming. Focusing on the right hand, we'll go through a lot of options, and determine some of the best places to use them.

Tuning Your Dulcimer By Ear

A little physics, a little magic, and "twang" you're in tune! (Bring your electronic tuner - we will be using it to check out progress.)

Murder Ballads Greatest Hits

Some old, some new, all either gruesome or fun, depending on your point of view!

Shenandoah Variations

Hammer-ons, slides, pull offs, arpeggios, tempo changes, and lots more. We will take this beautiful ballad, add so much "extra stuff" to it that it's awful, then back off on the fluff until our arrangement is just right!

Wednesday, August 4, 2021

Bing Futch Workshops

Bing Futch Workshops

Manatee Orchestra - Mountain Dulcimers

In this workshop, we’ll go over the material and prepare for the Manatee Orchestra, which will open the Saturday evening concert.  All skill levels are welcome to participate and we have a blast learning three songs and then rehearsing them for the show.  Mountain dulcimer players are encouraged to join Guy and Sharrie’s Manatee Orchestra workshops for hammered dulcimer, penny whistle and ukulele for extra practice.  There will be a full orchestra rehearsal on Saturday at 3 pm.  Come join us! (All Skill Levels)

Mountain Dulcimer - Fingerpickin' Good

Once you've gained some experience with flatpicking, you'll want to broaden your musical horizons and begin to explore fingerpicking.  We'll use some pretty tunes that sound great when fingerpicked and I'll show you some patterns for each song you play.  We'll also get into some techniques that will help you put a "pinch" of pizzaz in your songs! (Intermediate)

Learning To Play Native American Flute

You'll be surprised at just how easy it is to play!  In this workshop, you'll learn basics: flute anatomy, how to hold it, breath control, major and minor scales, ornamentation techniques and how to discover your very own spirit song.  If you don't have a flute, I will have a limited supply of loaners that are also available for purchase.  Key does not matter if you wish to bring your own. (Beginner to Intermediate)

Mountain Dulcimer - Key Changes Made Easy!

Key changes are an exciting element of music and you don’t need a chromatic instrument to make them happen!  Taking a simple tune in one key and then switching keys somewhere in the song is a fabulous way of adding depth, complexity and emotion to your playing. We’ll look at the so-called “truck-driver modulation” and the “parallel modulation”, but will focus mainly on the stealthy “pivot chord modulation” for changing keys mid-song.  You will need a 1+ fret for this workshop and a capo! (Intermediate-Advanced)

Sunday Morning Coming Down - All Instruments

This has become a tradition for a number of years at the retreat and is a great way to wind down after three full days of fun!  Here’s your chance to reflect on new things that you’ve learned, ask questions, get clarification and share lightbulb moments with the group.  It’s always an easy-going good way to start the final day!