Monday, July 3, 2017

Homosassa Castway Cruise!

Now, if four days of laid-back music fun isn't enough for you, then sail away with us on the Homosassa Castaway Cruise!  

Join us as the fun continues with a 4 night Cruise on the “Majesty of the Seas” Ship with the Royal Caribbean Cruise Line! We'll embark on February 26th and return to the mainland on March 2, 2018. Relax on board or enjoy one of a series of lessons and workshops available while at sea with Guy George, Sharrie George and Bing Futch on pennywhistle, ukulele, mountain dulcimer and Native American flute!

Day 1 - Depart Port Canaveral - 4 pm 

Day 2 - Cococay, Bahamas 8 am to 4 pm
Voyager Conference Room booked from 5 to 9 pm 

Day 3 - Nassau, Bahamas - Docked from 8 am to 9 pm 
Voyager Conference Room booked from 7 am to Noon

Day 4 - At Sea - Jams, workshops & private lessons available all day.

Day 5 - Port Canaveral - 7 am - Departure

Ocean view category H- 15 rooms blocked off at a rate of $836.84 total based on double occupancy (extra beds may be available - ask when booking)

Interior rooms category N- 15 rooms blocked at $696.84 Total based on double occupancy. (extra beds may be available - ask when booking)

Upgrades are available!

$50 deposit due per stateroom on July 8, 2017

$150 due per stateroom August 8, 2017

Final balance due December 12, 2017

You can still book after July 8th, but rates will not be guaranteed.

Dinner is booked for 8:30pm (6pm was waitlisted) can get 10 people per table 

These are final prices per stateroom (Includes all taxes and fees) but does not include gratuities and trip protection. (Trip protection available when booking)

A Voyager Conference room is booked for two of the days, day 2 at Coco Cay from 5pm-9pm and day 3 from 7am-12pm - plenty of time to enjoy quality instruction time with Guy George, Sharrie George and Bing Futch!

To book your cruise, contact Nicki at 678-978-6709 or If unable to contacst Nicki, please call Sharrie George at 440-478-1302.

This is time-sensitive, we have till July 8th to book the cruise. If you're wanting to join us for some more musical adventure, please let us know that you're interested (so we can begin to get an idea of how many are going) and book your passage right away! The Homosassa Castaway Cruise crew is looking forward to enjoying musical merriment on the high C's with you!

Thursday, June 29, 2017

New Website Address!

Hello, everyone!

After six years with the ungainly web address of , we've got a new, easy-to-remember URL: 

Registration has been open for the 6th Annual Florida Gulf Coast Dulcimer Retreat since February, but we're putting our annual six-month (or so) reminder to register now for our next retreat, being held February 22nd through 25th, 2018 at the Homosassa Riverside Resort.  Stay tuned for timely information on our 1st Annual Homosassa Castaway Cruise, details to come soon!

Tuesday, February 28, 2017


Thanks to everyone who attended the 5th Annual Florida Gulf Coast Dulcimer Retreat!  We're pretty much of the mind that this was the BEST ONE YET for lots of reasons, especially the perfect weather and all of the amazing folks who joined us for another fabulous time on the Homosassa River.  Workshops were packed, we hosted our first wine and cheese social, had some happy hour jams and set a record for the Saturday night concert attendance, thanks in part to the front page coverage from the Citrus County Chronicle!

The dates for next year have been announced: February 22nd through 25th, 2018!  So, mark your calendars and plan on coming to Old Florida for one of the most laid-back and unique dulcimer retreats anywhere!  Thanks again, everybody!

Richard Ash works on Dave Berry's Folkcraft double dulcimer.

Guy George teaches a rather large pennywhistle class.

Richard Ash teaching a VERY large mountain dulcimer workshop!

Beautiful Homosassa sunset.

Deborah McCord, Sharrie George and Jae Futch tend to the wine and cheese social.

Folks REALLY enjoyed the wine and cheese social!

Bing Futch, Guy George, Jae Futch and Sharrie George.

A jam session with a string quartet!

Bing Futch shows off the retreat's front-page story in the Citrus County Chronicle!

Manatee Orchestra rehearsal!

Ellen and Dennis Waldrop enjoying their time at the Riverside Crab House.

Richard Ash in concert.

A record concert audience!

Sharrie and Guy George teach a workshop.

Sharrie and Guy George teach a workshop.

Tuesday, February 21, 2017

Extra Retreat FUN!

The view from above the Homosassa Riverside Resort on Tuesday, February 21st, 2017

WELCOME to everyone who has come from near and far to be with us for the 5th Annual Florida Gulf Coast Dulcimer Retreat!  We've got great weather, awesome times, lots of workshops and jams, plus plenty of amazing things to see and do around the area.  We hope you'll take the opportunity to explore while you're here and, to help you have as magnificent a time as possible, here are a few eco-tourism tips to get you started!

Sights To See

Yulee Sugar Mill Ruins State Park -

You'll pass right through this historic site as you make your approach to the Homosassa Riverside Resort.  Once home to a sprawling sugar plantation, you can see a forty-foot tall limestone masonry chimney, iron gears and a cane press that was all in operation from 1851 to 1864 and served as a supplier for sugar products that went to southern troops during the Civil War.

Homosassa Springs Wildlife State Park -

If you do nothing else, check out this incredible place just up the river.  Besides being used as a filming location for movies and television shows, this park also features a number of rescued indigenous animals from parts of Florida and beyond.  The star of the show is "Lucifer", a hippopotamus that actually starred in the "Tarzan" movies with Johnny Weissmuller!  You can also emerge yourself into the awe-inspiring underwater viewing chamber that puts you face-to-face with the denizens of the Homosassa River.  

Weeki Wachee State Park - 

Another state park nearby has the distinction of being home to the world-famous swimming mermaids of Weeki Wachee.  This is a time-honored Old Florida tradition and just 20 minutes south of Homosassa.  

Good Eats

The Riverside Crab House and Monkey Bar

Located right here at the Homosassa Riverside Resort, you'll find fresh seafood, inventive and delicious culinary delights and fabulous beverages with a view of famous Monkey Island!

Shelly's Seafood -

If you'll be preparing your own meals this week, be sure to stop by Shelly's and pick up some of the freshest seafood that you'll ever enjoy!  Local fisherman bring their catches in around 1 pm, so queue up around 2 pm and pick up some red snapper, blue crabs and coveted hogfish, among other menu items.

This fun and funky place is not only a tourist favorite but also a common hangout for the locals.  Get a taste of real Old Florida in a converted food service freezer warehouse with an atmosphere that can only be called "authentic Homosassa."  Try the shrimp - it's amazing!

Open Friday through Monday, this is a traditional way to start the day off right with a fantastic breakfast!

You'll pass right by this Homosassa institution as you cruise around the corner towards the Homosassa Resort.  Smoked fish is the main draw here with lots of other goodies that you'll want to bring back to your room or RV.

Shrimp and chicken wings are the big draws here, and you'll find lots more on the menu to enjoy!

Chinese, Japanese and Thai cuisine are all available at this delectable restaurant known for its superb cuisine and charming atmosphere.

For those who are REALLY planning to eat in - there is a Publix located at 3942 S Suncoast Blvd.

There's plenty more to see and do, so be sure to explore while you're here!  WELCOME to Old Homosassa!

Wednesday, January 18, 2017

5th Annual Florida Gulf Coast Dulcimer Retreat - Promo Video!

The retreat is just around the corner and to further whet your appetite for Sunny Florida, here is some aerial footage taken a few weeks ago at the Homosassa Riverside Resort, along with pictures and video from past retreats.  Wouldn't you love to be here with us in February?

Monday, September 12, 2016

2017 Retreat Workshop Schedule and Descriptions!

Hello, everyone!

With summer over and everyone tucking into Fall, it's time for us to start looking towards our 5th Annual Florida Gulf Coast Dulcimer Retreat! Here is the schedule and below that are the workshop descriptions.  This will be available as a link from the main site.  There's no need to register for classes, just show up!


8:30 am - 9:30 am - (Guy) Absolute Beginning Hammered Dulcimer
9:45 am - 10:45 am - (Guy) Pennywhistle - Beginning
11 am - 12 pm - (Bing) Beginning Mountain Dulcimer: The Basics
12:15 pm - 1:15 pm - (Sharrie) Uke From The Ground Up - Absolute Beginner
1:45 pm - 2:45 pm - (Bing) The Manatee Orchestra - Mountain Dulcimers 
3 pm - 4 pm - (Guy) Manatee Orchestra for Hammered Dulcimer, Pennywhistle and Steel Drum! 
4:15 pm - 5:15 pm - (Sharrie) Manatee Orchestra - Intermediate Ukulele


8:30 am - 9:30 am -  (Richard) Traditional Tunes Brought Back From Obscurity - All Level Mountain Dulcimer
9:45 am - 10:45 am - (Sharrie) Ukulele Chord Strum Marathon - Beyond Beginner
11 am - 12 pm - (Bing) Learn To Play The AutoBass
12:30 pm - 1:30 pm - (Guy) Innovative Chord Shapes, Back-Up & Technique - Intermediate Hammered Dulcimer
1:45 pm - 2:45 pm - (Richard) Songs That Have Stories - All Level Mountain Dulcimer
3 pm - 4 pm - (Bing) How To Play Native American Flute
4:15 pm - 5:15 pm - (Guy) Crazy Intermediate Pennywhistle


8:30 am - 9:30 am - (Sharrie) Uke-A-Robics - Beginner/Intermediate Ukulele
9:45 am - 10:45 am - (Bing) “Goodbye Is Not Forever” - Intermediate Mountain Dulcimer
11 am - 12 pm - (Guy) Beginning Pennywhistle
12:30 pm - 1:30 pm - (Guy) Building a Repertoire on the Hammered Dulcimer - Intermediate
1:45 pm - 2:45 pm - (Bing) - Fun & Easy Tunes For Beginning Mountain Dulcimer
3 pm - 4 pm - (Bing, Guy, Sharrie) Manatee Orchestra REHEARSAL - All Instruments!

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


8:30 am - 9:30 am - (Bing) Texas Style Blues - Mountain Dulcimer - Intermediate/Advanced
9:45 am - 10:45 am - (Richard) Murder Ballads II - All Level Mountain Dulcimer
11 am - 12 pm - (Sharrie) Jammin’ On A Uke - All Levels

Bing Futch Workshops

The Manatee Orchestra - Mountain Dulcimers

Come learn three fun, easy songs and then thrill to a dress rehearsal before performing in the Saturday night concert with The Manatee Orchestra!  All skill levels are welcome and I've written a nice little arrangement for each of the tunes we'll be playing.  If you've done it before, you know what a BLAST this is!

Beginning Mountain Dulcimer - The Basics

This is a “strings-side” up class and we’ll introduce the mountain dulcimer, learn how to change strings and tune them, then learn some scales and chords to play some simple songs.  We’ll cover reading tablature, basic rhythm, strumming and plucking.  If you’ve just started playing, or need a refresher course to get playing again, this is the workshop for you!

Fun & Easy Tunes For Beginning Mountain Dulcimer

We'll learn a whole bunch of fun tunes that don't require a whole lot of fancy picking, but still sound great when you mess around with them.  We'll do a little traditional and even learn a couple of modern songs as well!

Learn To Play The AutoBass

If you’ve ever wanted to have a bass player in your jam, but didn’t want to learn how to play the bass or have to buy an expensive instrument and then lug it around, then check out the AutoBass!  This fun workshop will give you hands-on experience playing this revolutionary new instrument that allows you to be the bassist in no time!  Basic music theory instruction and practice time will give everyone the chance to be the bass player they’ve always wanted to be!

How To Play Native American Flute 

This beautiful, haunting and expressive instrument dates back 4000 years on the North American continent.  Originally used in courtship and later in ceremonies and, more recently, ensemble performance, the Native American flute now enjoys great popularity in all types of music.  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. 

“Goodbye Is Not Forever” - Mountain Dulcimer - Intermediate

I wrote this tune in the summer of 2016 and began performing it while on tour.  I get more requests for tablature on this tune (which makes me happy) so I’ve decided to teach it by popular demand.  For those not familiar with the piece, it starts off very gently flatpicked and then transforms into a chord-melody style piece before returning to a melodic flatpicking at the end.  Sweet and somewhat sad, come learn one of my originals and get some insight on the composition and arranging too!

Texas Style Blues - Mountain Dulcimer - Intermediate/Advanced

We’re gonna learn a Texas swing blues in D, complete with sassy licks, sweet seventh chords, solo turns and, if you’ve got a 1 1/2 fret, some wild jazz chords to seal the deal!

Richard Ash Workshops

Traditional Tunes Brought Back From Obscurity - Some songs are “obscure” because they aren't great songs. Other songs were just “lost to time”, and deserve a widespread audience. I've (hopefully) chosen a selection of great tunes from that second category. Only time will tell... DAD, no retuning.

Songs That Have Stories - you all know the story of Thomas Dula (Tom Dooley), but do you know the story of Coleman's March, or Hangman's Reel? How about Angeline The Baker? I'll fill you in on the background of some popular tunes, and you'll have a few tales you can share with your next audience! DAD, bring a capo.

Murder Ballads II - a follow-up to my popular “Murder Ballads I” from 2015, MB II has even more tunes that tell a grisly story. Most of these songs are a vital part of the folk music repertoire, and while they're often sad, the melodies are usually beautiful, and the backstories to the songs are guaranteed to entertain your audience. DAD, bring a capo.

Guy George Workshops

Absolute Beginning Hammered Dulcimer - Always wanted to try the Hammered Dulcimer? Just learning but want to brush up on your basic skills? Guy will show you step by step, the way to play beautiful music on this exciting, and timeless instrument. Basics will be covered; locating the notes and playing some simple melodies and chords. Don’t have a hammered dulcimer? A few free loaners will be available. Contact Guy at to reserve. 

Pennywhistle - Beginning - Learn how to play the easiest instrument to carry around! We’ll have you playing and sounding good in 2 keys! We’ll have fun learning a few easy tunes to play right away. Inexpensive, great sounding “D” whistles will be available at our vending area and at the workshop before it begins. 

HD - Innovative Chord Shapes, Back-up and Technique - Intermediate - Find the right chord inversion. Explore different chord progressions and how to move chords around the dulcimer. Learn different chord patterns for back-up and fills. We’ll even sing with the dulcimer! 

Hammered Dulcimer, Pennywhistle and Steel Drum MANATEE ORCHESTRA - All Levels - Choose your instrument and have fun learning the tunes for the Manatee Or- chestra. 

NEW CRAZY INTERMEDIATE Pennywhistle - Not for Beginners! Learn new tunes in “Unfriendly Keys” to really stretch your skills as a pennywhistle player. We’ll address any concerns you may have in playing as we cover chromatics, chords, technique, tone, breathing, tonguing, wardrobe, tunes, and more! Get that upper register sounding good! Work on style and getting your own sound! 

Sharrie George Workshops

Uke From the Ground Up - Absolute Beginner - Never played the uke? Now’s your chance! Start with the basics or review if it’s been a while since you played, and learn some tunes and strums on this fun little instrument. We appreciate and encourage sing- ing, but it’s optional! A few loaners will be available to try just for this class! 
Uke-A-Robics - Beyond Beginner to Intermediate - Find your inner peace on your uke as we stretch and strengthen our skills with finger dexterity warm-ups, exercises and practice techniques to advance us to the next level of uke playing. Guaranteed to make you a better player! Review melody playing/reading tab to get us ready for the next workshop! All this while learning some great tunes! 

Ukulele - Intermediate - Manatee Orchestra - You are welcome even if you plan on playing a different instrument for the Orchestra! If you can read music/uke tab to play a little melody, this workshop is for you! Learn different techniques while learning tunes for the Manatee Orchestra! Each tune will have an arrangement with melody, at least one harmony, as well as some new back-up methods.
Chord/Strum Marathon - Beyond Beginner - A workout on strumming as we learn some great ukulele tunes. We’ll also learn the back-up for the tunes for Manatee Orchestra. 

Ukulele - All levels - Jammin’ on a Uke! - Learn and practice lots of tunes in “dulcimer jam-friendly” keys! For beginners: a great way to practice and learn some jam tunes and get up to ‘jam speed’ on chord changes; If you read music/uke tab, all melodies and harmonies to some of our favorite jam tunes will be provided. We’ll start out slow and work our way up to jammin’ speed! 

Sunday, February 28, 2016

See you in 2017!

Thank you for registering for the 5th Annual Florida Gulf Coast Dulcimer Retreat!  We're looking forward to seeing you back on the shores of the Homosassa River, February 23 - 26, 2017!