Friday, January 17, 2020

Watch For Downloadable Workshop Files!

We're a little more than a month away from the retreat and we're all very excited to see you down here in sunny, warm Florida!

Just giving you a heads-up that we'll be making all of the workshop materials available online, so you can either print them out and bind them, or download them to your tablet.  We'll be sending all registrants a password-protected Dropbox link where you can access PDF files for all the workshops from all four instructors!

Watch your e-mail boxes - we'll be sending the link soon!

Friday, October 25, 2019

2020 FGCDR Schedule!

All workshops will take place in The Manatee Ballroom unless otherwise specified! The Manatee Ballroom is the main room where registration, vending, most workshops, jams and concert take place.


8:30 am - 9:30 am - Absolute Beginning Ukulele - Sharrie (UKE)
9:45 am - 10:45 am - Beginning Pennywhistle - Guy (PW)
11 am - 12 pm - Beginning Mountain Dulcimer - Richard (MD)
12:15 pm - 1:15 pm - Manatee Orchestra - Mountain Dulcimers - Bing (MD)
1:45 pm - 2:45 pm - Manatee Orchestra - Hammered Dulcimer & Pennywhistle - Guy (HD, PW)
3 pm - 4 pm - Manatee Orchestra - Ukulele - Sharrie (UKE)
4:15 pm - 5:15 pm - Metronome Fun - Richard
4:15 pm - 5:15 pm - Jumbie Jam Steel Drum For All - Guy (SD) [Location TBA]
5:30 pm - 6:30 pm - Happy Hour With the Steel Drum - Guy (SD) [Move to Manatee Ballroom]


8:30 am - 9:30 am -  Tab|Edit Basics - Richard
9:45 am - 10:45 am - Absolute Beginning Hammered Dulcimer - Guy (HD)
11 am - 12 pm - The Easy Rhythm Method - Bing (MD)
12:30 pm - 1:30 pm - Ukulele: Playing Between The Chords - Sharrie (UKE)
1:45 pm - 2:45 pm - Looping Pedals For The Non-Technical - Richard 
3 pm - 4 pm - The Classical Mountain Dulcimer - Bing (MD)
4:15 pm - 5:15 pm - Sound Better with Syncopation - Guy (HD)


8:30 am - 9:30 am - Beach Tunes - Guy & Sharrie (HD, PW, UKE)
9:45 am - 10:45 am - Learning Native American Flute - Bing (NAF)
11 am - 12 pm - Ukulele Standards - Sharrie (UKE)
12:30 pm - 1:30 pm - Mississippi Delta Blues - Bing (MD)
1:45 pm - 2:45 pm - Advanced Rhythms: Reading and Counting - Richard
3 pm - 4 pm - Manatee Orchestra Rehearsal

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


8:30 am - 9:30 am - Sunday Morning Coming Down - Bing
9:45 am - 10:45 am - Gospel Tunes For All - Guy & Sharrie (HD, PW, UKE, MD)
11 am - 12 pm - Novelty Songs - Richard

Richard's Workshops

Richard Ash's Workshops!

Beginning Mountain Dulcimer

Aimed towards the NEW player, but experienced players are welcome to participate, and gather ideas for THEIR next beginner classes, too. From “head to the left, strings up” to some more advanced skills, our focus will be on making music fast, with minimal technique problems to “fix later”. The focus is on learning enough to go to a local club meeting, sit in on a jam, and have fun.

Metronome Fun

Practicing with a metronome doesn’t have to be boring. Richard will bring a metronome and amp, so we can all play along, and use the metronome as a group. He’ll point out common tempo mistakes, and show how to use a metronome to unlearn bad habits, and to make you into a more consistent (rhythmically) player.

TablEdit Basics

Richard will bring his laptop, and a projector for the screen, so you can see as he walks you through making a really simple piece of tablature. This isn't about creating an arrangement, but is more about using the software (TablEdit) to make something that can be shared, legibly, with your friends. 

Looping Pedals For The Non-Technical

Using a Boss RC-30 (the most popular choice) looping pedal, Richard will walk you through simple steps to record yourself and play back the recording so you can play along. Bring your own RC-30 (with a small practice amp) if you have one, otherwise you can just watch and listen. 

Advanced Rhythms - Reading And Counting

All instruments - we'll be clapping rhythms, tapping toes to keep the beat. Combinations of “down-up”, “out-in”, and “one-and”, all working together to help demystify counting for the uninitiated, and provide a great review for the trained musicians. Bring your dulcimer, guitar, or ukulele - we'll incorporate real-world strumming into our newly-revitalized rhythm-reading skills.

Novelty Songs

When you need something a little “lighter” than a murder ballad, and maybe not so dry as an English folk ballad with 112 verses, maybe this'll fill the need to tickle your funny bone. 

Tuesday, October 1, 2019

Guy and Sharrie's Workshops!

Guy George Workshops

Beginning Pennywhistle - Learn to play the easiest instrument to carry in an hour!  We’ll teach you all the basics everything you need to know  have you playing in 2 keys in less than an hour

Absolute Beginning Hammered Dulcimer - New to the Hammered Dulcimer?  Or want to refresh your skills if it’s been a while since you played?  Join us as we learn where notes and chords are while learning a few melodies on this great instrument!  If you’re a more advanced player, I’ll have stuff written out that you can add to the tunes we’re learning.

Hammered Dulcimer & Pennywhistle - All Levels -  Manatee Orchestra - Have fun learning parts for our Manatee Orchestra - 3 great tunes that will have parts for all instruments. Join the Manatee Orchestra at the Saturday night concert - lots of fun!  

Jumbie Jam Steel Drum for all - Bring your Jumbie Jam and join us to learn a few island tunes on this fun little instrument.  If you want an instrument to be there for you for the class, contact Guy at to purchase one for the Retreat.  (Sorry, no loaners)

Sound Better with Syncopation Intermediate Hammered Dulcimer- Hop on the syncopation wagon as we learn just what it is and how to do it.  I’ll show you ways to syncopate music you already play as well as some new tunes.  Add style and swing to your playing!

Happy hour with the Steel Drum!  Learn a few more tunes on the Steel drum - Grab a beverage and come join the fun!  Lead sheets will be available for any instrument wanting to strum chords as we play! 

Guy & Sharrie Workshops

Intermediate Level HD, PW, & Uke
Mix HD & PW & Uke and add Water:  Beach Tunes! - Have fun learning some new beach sing-along tunes! Switch instruments and learn the tunes on all.  Mountain dulcimers are welcome to come and strum chords. (Tunes will be in “D” and “G”)

Ukulele, Pennywhistle, & Hammered Dulcimer - Gospel Tunes for All - Learn some old time Gospel and a few newer and not so well known tunes with parts - all with chord pictures, music notation, lyrics and tablature for each instrument. Mountain dulcimers are welcome to come and strum chords. (Tunes will be in “D” & “G”)

Sharrie George Workshops

Absolute Beginning Ukulele - If you haven’t tried the ukulele yet, now’s your chance!  No experience necessary!  We’ll start with the basics, adding chords, strums and songs in a no-stress environment.  Workshops will progress each day; look for past beginner level and join in!  Singing is a plus, but not required! 
Not sure you want to invest but want to try the ukulele?  Contact me AHEAD of time and I will have a loaner for you for this 1st workshop! (Loaners will be available for purchase afterward) Call, txt or email me: 440-478-1302 or  (Make sure you get a response from me so you know I got the message!)

Ukulele - All Levels - Manatee Orchestra  Learn a part that you would like to play and join the Manatee Orchestra as we perform on Saturday night!  Music will have chord pictures and notation with tablature for all parts.  We’ll have parts for Beginner and above!

Ukulele Intermediate and above - “Playing between the Chords” - (Must be able to read tab and play melody)  Sometimes called ‘fills’, riffs, or licks; we’ll learn some easy (and some not-so easy) lines that can be used in different keys, between specific chords, and in many different tunes when you are playing.  We’ll apply these to a few tunes to see how they fit into other music. Also a great exercise for your hands to become more “fluent” at playing solo arrangements! 

Past Beginner & Above “Ukulele Standards” we all know and love! - Learn tunes that the ukulele is famous for - the tunes people always want to hear and sing along!  You’ll be surprised find out how easy many of them are to learn.  We will learn as many as time allows!  All music will have chord pictures, lyrics, melody, and strum suggestions.  

Thursday, September 5, 2019

Bing's Workshops!

Here are the workshops that Bing is teaching during the retreat!

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)

The Classical Mountain Dulcimer - Mountain Dulcimers

We’ll take some of the music from great composers like Beethoven, Mozart, Pachelbel, Haydn and an original piece by Bing, we’ll assign parts to different sections and then, together, we’ll make a joyful noise in triumphant harmony!  (Intermediate)

The Easy Rhythm Method - Mountain Dulcimers

Ever wonder what kind of strum to use on a tune?  Do you feel like bum-diddy just ain’t cuttin’ it anymore?  This is the workshop for you!  Bing will teach a simple and effective method for deciding on, and utilizing, a strum or picking pattern for any song.  There will be songs to demonstrate the method in different time signatures, an exploring of accents to create a groove and exercises to build dexterity and muscle memory.  (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)

Mississippi Delta Blues - Mountain Dulcimers

The roots of the blues as we know it can be traced down to southern Mississippi and up through Memphis, Tennessee.  In this workshop, we’ll hear some blues history, learn how to play the 12-bar blues form, add “blue” notes and expression plus make up our own lyrics!  A follow-up to this workshop, Big City Blues, will be taught on The Castaway Music Cruise

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!

Friday, August 16, 2019

Registration OPEN For 2020!

Join us February 27th - March 1st, 2020 for the 
8th Annual Florida Gulf Coast Dulcimer Retreat!

Join Guy & Sharrie George, Richard Ash and Bing Futch for another beautiful time on the Homosassa River in Homosassa Springs, Florida! It's almost time for the 8th Annual Florida Gulf Coast Dulcimer Retreat, sponsored by Folkcraft Instruments! 

25 workshops for mountain dulcimer, hammered dulcimer, Native American flute, pennywhistle, ukulele and more!  Registration is $179 for all four days and is first-come, first-served with only 100 spots available.  We've got a special discounted block of rooms at The Homosassa Riverside Resort, plus there are a number of campground options available nearby.

Come learn, relax, jam and swim with manatees!  Registration and lodging information is located on the right side of the page.  Workshop descriptions will be posted soon!

Wednesday, June 5, 2019

Itinerary Update For 2020 Castaway Music Cruise!

Hello future crew members and fellow sailors! We have a few itinerary changes to share with you for our upcoming March 2, 2020 Brilliance of the Seas sailing. From Royal Caribbean:

"Over the past few months, we’ve been hard at work transforming our private destination, CocoCay, into Perfect Day at CocoCay and we’re excited to share that you’ll now experience everything it has to offer. Instead of visiting Cozumel, Mexico, we’ve added Perfect Day at CocoCay and the beautiful port of Nassau, Bahamas to our itinerary! To accommodate all these exciting changes, we’ve adjusted our departure time in Key West, Florida. Below, please find our updated itinerary.

Mon - Tampa, Florida - Depart 4 pm
Tue - Key West, FL - Arrive 11 am - Depart 5 pm
Wed - Nassau, Bahamas - Arrive 11 am - Depart 10 pm
Thur - Perfect Day at CocoCay - Arrive 7 am - Depart 5 pm
Fri - Cruising
Sat - Tampa, FL - Arrive 7 am

Discover all that the Bahamas has to offer! While in Nassau, explore the streets and tunnels of the lost city of Atlantis! Whether you wander the city, swim with dolphins, or get a close glimpse of the 250-marine species in the underground aquarium, you won’t be disappointed.

Then, while in Perfect Day at CocoCay, you’ll see that this mighty island is packed with new thrills and even more ways to chill. With several new attractions added to our lineup, like Oasis Lagoon, Thrill Waterpark, Chill Island, plus much more, you’ll find yourself planning your next trip here in no time! To find out more about how you can spend your time in Perfect Day at CocoCay with us, click here.

Any pre-paid Royal Caribbean International shore excursions scheduled for Cozumel will be refunded to your original form of payment. Any affected Royal Caribbean International shore excursions booked for Key West, will be rescheduled for you by our Shore Excursions team. Within the next 3 business days, you’ll receive an email with your updated excursion details. Then, feel free to browse through our Cruise Planner for additional excursions that may interest you.

Thank you for understanding. We can’t wait to welcome you onboard your Royal Caribbean International vacation!"