Saturday, August 17, 2013

Workshop Schedule!

Workshop locations are specified as follows:

The Manatee Ballroom = MB
Hospitality Room = HR


9 am - 10 am - (Guy) Absolute Beginning Hammered Dulcimer (HR)
9 am - 10 am - (Richard) Introduction To Mountain Dulcimer (MB)
10:30 am - 11:30 am - (Guy) Beginner Hammered Dulcimer: The Next Step (HR)
10:30 am - 11:30 am - (Richard) String Changing/Dulcimer Maintenance (MB)
Noon - 1 pm - (Bing) Mountain Dulcimer - Right Hand Wizardry (MB)
1:30 pm - 2:30 pm - (Bing) Mountain Dulcimer - 1-3-5 Tuning (MB)
3 pm - 4 pm - (Sharrie) Beginning Ukulele (HR)
3 pm - 4 pm - (Guy) Hammered Dulcimer Intermediate - "Webb's Hornpipe" (MB)
4:30 pm - 5:30 pm - (Sharrie) Past Beginner Ukulele (MB)


9 am - 10 am -  (Bing) Promentory: A Study In Arrangement and Looping For MD (HR)
9 am - 10 am - (Richard) Traditional Tunes From The Appalachian Mountains (MB)
10:30 am - 11:30 am - (Guy) Manatee Orchestra - All Levels Hammered Dulcimer (HR)
10:30 am - 11:30 am - (Richard) How A Mountain Dulcimer Is Made (MB)
Noon - 1 pm - (Sharrie) Over The Rainbow, Ukulele Iz Style (MB)
1:30 pm - 2:30 pm - (Sharrie) Manatee Orchestra - All Levels Ukulele (MB)
3 pm - 4 pm - (Guy) Steel Drum (Beginning Level) (MB)
3 pm - 4 pm - (Bing) Manatee Orchestra - All Levels Mountain Dulcimers (HR)
4:30 pm - 5:30 pm - (Guy) Manatee Orchestra - Intermediate Steel Drum (MB)


9 am - 10 am - (Guy) Pennywhistle - Beginning Level (HR)
9 am - 10 am - (Richard) Using Tunings Other Than DAD - Intermediate Mountain Dulcimer (MB)
10:30 am - 11:30 am - (Guy) Manatee Orchestra - All Levels Pennywhistle (HR)
10:30 am - 11:30 am - (Richard) Fun and Easy Tunes - Intermediate Mountain Dulcimer (MB)
Noon - 1 pm - (Bing) I Got Those Mountain Dulcimer Blues (MB)
1:30 pm - 2:30 pm - (Bing) Learning To Play Native American Flute (MB)
3 pm - 4 pm - (Guy) Syncopation on the Hammered Dulcimer (MB)
4:30 pm - 5:30 pm - (Bing, Guy, Sharrie) Manatee Orchestra REHEARSAL - All Instruments! (MB)
The Manatee Orchestra will open up the Saturday evening concert!


9 am - 10 am - (Bing) Taking A Bite Out Of Apple's Garageband (HR)
9 am - 10 am - (Guy) Guy's Crazy Intermediate Pennywhistle (MB)
10:30 am - 11:30 am - (Bing) Songs of The Man In Black (HR)
Noon - 1 pm - (Sharrie) Uke Can Pick A Little Melody Too (MB)
1:30 pm - 2:30 pm - (Guy) Hammered Dulcimer Intermediate - "Bicyclettes des Versailles" (MB)

Richard Ash's Bio and Workshop Descriptions

Richard is the owner of Folkcraft Instruments, which is one of the oldest and most respected musical instrument manufacturers in the country. Folkcraft makes a variety of stringed and fretted instruments, including Appalachian dulcimer,hammered dulcimerbowed psalterykanteledulcilele, and ukulele.

Richard is a teacher, and holds a music education degree from The Ohio State University. Formerly a school band director, now he's an active dulcimer instructor.

Richard is also the organizer of three music festivals: The Dulcimer Gathering (for hammered dulcimer players); Indiana Dulcimer Festival (for Appalachian dulcimer players); and Midwest Uke Fest (for ukulele players).

And finally, Richard is a performer. You can hear him playing the dulcimer at events all over the country. From NAMM shows to dulcimer festivals, old-time music events to demonstration concerts in the Folkcraft concert hall, he's performed pretty much everywhere.

Introduction to dulcimer
Learn the basics of playing the Appalachian (mountain) dulcimer. Richard's focus on right hand strumming will help grow and advance your dulcimer playing abilities. This class will focus on tunes in one of the easiest dulcimer tunings: DAD. You'll learn lots of tunes in a variety of dulcimer playing styles, including noter-drone and chord-melody. No experience is necessary (but after taking this class, you'll have enough experience to keep up with a dulcimer jam!).
What to bring: dulcimer, electronic tuner, music stand, pencil

String changing/dulcimer maintenance
Any level

Don't know how to change your dulcimer's strings? Need to polish up your technique to make your dulcimer look like it was strung by a professional? Then become a professional by learning from a professional! Richard will teach you his tips and tricks for easily and efficiently stringing your dulcimer. Whether your dulcimer has a flat head or scroll head, it will always have tightly wound strings to keep it in tune.  Don't know when to change your strings? Learn how different materials (steel, brass, bronze, and various alloys) affect both the lifespan of the string and the tone quality. Choose the right strings for your instrument to give yourself the best possible sounding instrument.
What to bring: dulcimer, electronic tuner

Using tunings other than DAD to play in keys other than D, G, and A
The thought of playing dulcimer with a guitar or ukulele player may sound intimidating. After all, they do have all the notes. But the ability to add the dulcimer to an acoustic jam is rewarding to everyone involved! Richard will show you some easy tips and tricks to playing in more keys than (most) dulcimer players usually try. Bring a capo and an electronic tuner (you'll use both), and prepare to bring the dulcimer to a whole new level!
What to bring: dulcimer, electronic tuner, capo, music stand, pencil

Traditional tunes from the Appalachian mountains
Advanced beginner to intermediate 

Add some old-time music to your repertoire. All tunes are easy to learn, and are in noter-drone style. (You can use a noter, but many contemporary players will use their fingers to go up and down the melody strings.) We'll utilize some of the most popular tunings for this type of music - DAD (of course!), DGD, DAA, and DAC. This class has plenty of sweet old time melodies for your enjoyment. We will not be using a capo for this session.
What to bring: dulicmer, electronic tuner

Fun (and easy) tunes that are typically not played in DAD tuning
Learn some repertoire that stands out from the standard dulcimer tunes. Learn a tune in G and enjoy that you don't have to put a capo on your dulcimer. D minor? No problem (and also no capo!). There's a whole world of accessible music just outside the world of DAD tuning - here's your chance to learn some of it! This class has a lot in common with Richard's "Traditional Tunes" class, but both classes stand alone. This class would be a good "part two" to the "Traditional Tunes" offering.
What to bring: dulcimer, electronic tuner, capo

How a dulcimer is made
Novice to advanced 

Unless you've done it yourself, or have taken your dulcimer apart piece by piece (Richard does NOT recommend this technique), then you probably don't know exactly what goes into making a dulcimer. Most builders use similar techniques, but you'll learn some unique methods on how Folkcraft dulcimers are made. Using photographs, videos, and dulcimer parts in various stages of completion, you'll get a better idea what's inside your own dulcimer (unless you've already disassembled your instrument... in which case, Richard would be happy to show you a new, and fully built, Folkcraft dulcimer!).
What to bring: dulcimer, hacksaw, hammer (just kidding - you don't need to bring anything!) 

Friday, August 9, 2013

Guy and Sharrie's Bio and Workshop Descriptions

Guy George, from Cleveland, Ohio, is a rhythmic, melodic hammered dulcimer player with a definite jazz influence to his playing style. Guy comes from a background in jazz and performance on the saxophone, having studied at Berklee College of Music in Boston; honing his skills playing with many jazz influenced musicians in the Boston and New York area. He has settled outside Cleveland, Ohio and presently plays hammered dulcimer, tenor, alto and soprano saxophones, flute, steel drum and keyboard. He has made his name in the dulcimer world as a performer, instructor, author/publisher and recording artist.   

       He tours throughout the United States and Canada performing and recording and teaching workshops on the hammered dulcimer, steel drums, and penny whistle. His teaching style is relaxed and fun, as he teaches tunes of many different genres and styles.  In addition, he incorporates methods for more advanced practicing and playing techniques while simultaneously entertaining his students.  

       Guy has authored 13 books arranged for hammered dulcimer, steel drum, pennywhistle, and other instruments, which are distributed around the world through Gesani Publications, a company he and his wife, Sharrie, own and operate.  

In recent years, Sharrie George has emerged as a talented performer and instructor in her own right.  Her solid timing and clean rhythms have made her an important part of Guy's groove in more ways than one, plus she's fun and helps you work on what you need the most.

Guy’s Workshop Descriptions

Absolute Beginning Hammered Dulcimer - This is the class for you if you have never played a hammer dulcimer, but would like to try! Guy will show you step by step, the way to play beautiful music on this exciting, and timeless instrument. All the basics will be covered, from tuning and care of the dulcimer, to locating the notes and playing a simple melody. Don’t have a hammered dulcimer? A few free loaners will be available if you would like to “try before you buy”. (You may have to share) This class will get you ready for “The Next Step” classes which will be offered later during the weekend.

Beginner HD - The Next Step - After you’ve learned the basics, learn some easy melodies, what you can do with your dulcimer; we’ll even learn a little about chord back-up! This class will get you ready for the Manatee Orchestra on HD class!

HD - Intermediate Level - Learn a beautiful European tune, “Bicyclettes des Versailles”. This is a hauntingly beautiful melody from France; goes from minor to major mode and back again. Add variety to your repertoire with this very different tune.

HD - Intermediate Level - Add a Celtic hornpipe to your repertoire. A Hornpipe is a lilting dance tune, fun to play, and not too difficult to learn. Webb’s Hornpipe will have you toe- tapping!

Syncopation on the Hammered Dulcimer - Intermediate Level - Jazz up your playing! Add the magic of syncopation to your skills on the dulcimer. Guy will show you how to take a “straight” melody and add synchopation to really make it swing; and then apply the technique to a tune or two. Have a tune you’d like to “jazz up” a little? Bring it to this class and learn first hand how to do it!

Manatee Orchestra for HD - All levels - Learn parts and arrangements for our Manatee Or- chestra with MD, PW, Ukes, Steel Drum, and other instruments!

Steel Drum - Beginning Level - Learn how to play an authentic steel drum! We’ll have some Jumbie Jams available to try. Learn the basics and be playing melody and chords on this great island instrument! Great refresher if you haven’t played in a while.

Steel Drum - Intermediate - Manatee Orchestra! - Once you have taken the beginning class, you may want to join us learning parts for the Manatee Orchestra! We will have parts for all lev- els, so even if you are “just beyond beginner, you’ll have a part to play. We join the whole Or- chestra in a great concert on Saturday night!

Pennywhistle - Beginning Level - Learn how to play the easiest instrument to carry around! We’ll have you playing and sounding good in 2 keys in this first lesson! Inexpensive, great sounding “D” whistles will be available at our vending area.

Manatee Orchestra for Pennywhistle - All Levels - After you’ve taken the beginning class, you’ll be ready to learn easy parts to play for the Manatee Orchestra; More advanced players will have busier parts to play as we get ready to join the whole Orchestra for our performance on Saturday night!

Guy’s ‘Crazy’ Intermediate Pennywhistle - Not for Beginners! (But you are welcome to watch) Chromatics, chords, technique, tone, breathing, tonguing, duets, playing in different keys, dif- ferent styles, tunes, and more! Jazz up your playing! Have a difficult tune? Squeaky notes? Bring it here! This class is designed to give you what you can’t get anywhere else!

Sharrie’s Workshop Descriptions

Beginning Ukulele - Never played the uke? Now’s your chance! Borrow a ukulele from us and learn a few tunes, along with the basics, all in one workshop! We will have nice loaner ukuleles for you to try - and plenty to buy if you decide you can’t leave without one!

Uke Can Pick A Little Melody Too - Intermediate Ukulele - Know chords, strums, tunes, and wonder what else this little instrument can do? Add some melody playing to your uke skills! We’ll learn a few tunes in a few different keys, playing melody and harmonies that you can take home and play with others - these will be great arrangements that you can perform with other uke players, dulcimer, or any other lead instrument!

Ukulele Favorites - Past Beginner - Learn some of the tunes that made the ukulele famous! Have fun learning some of the really fine, old ukulele favorites - learn new chords, and how to make those oldies really swing! And then we’ll learn a few great jam tunes (in “D” of course) that are fun to play on the uke! Good practice for smoother chord changes too!

Over The Rainbow, Ukulele Iz Style - Intermediate - This tune has been requested many times, so here it is, Iz’s version of Somewhere Over the Rainbow/Wonderful World. Chords, strums, and lyrics as sung by the Great Israel Kamakawiwo’ole.

Manatee Orchestra - All Levels Ukulele - If you know the basic chords and strums, you’re ready to join the Manatee Orchestra! Parts for just past beginner and above - on any ukulele - bari- tones and U-basses welcome too!! We will learn melodies, strums and other accompaniment for several tunes to play in parts - with and without voices - and then we will join the rest of the Manatee Orchestra later for a GREAT performance! A fun way to learn and have fun on the uke! 

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Bing Futch's Bio and Workshop Descriptions

Bing Futch leaped into the national mountain dulcimer scene back in 1999 with his
Americana band Mohave. The award-winning Americana band has performed in a variety of venues including multiple shows at The House Of Blues at Walt Disney World, Hard Rock Live Orlando, The Bamboo Room, Freebird Live, The Orlando Fringe Festival, The Central Florida Fair and they've also opened for national acts Molly Hatchet, Subject To Change, St.  Somewhere and The Crests.

As a solo performer, Bing's high-energy, crowd pleasing shows and unique approach to the mountain dulcimer combined have made him a popular national act from California to Connecticut.  Named 2006 "Songwriter of the Year" by the Songwriters Showcases of America (with a 2007 "Song of the Year" award for "Crazy Feels Like"from the album Dulcimer Rock), Bing has become a regularly featured artist at festivals, fairs, concert halls, pubs, clubs, cafes, house concerts and other venues across the country.  He's opened for Grammy-award nominated artists Sam & Ruby, bluesman Scott Ainslie, singer/songwriter Larry Mangum, shared the stage with Zydeco king Chubby CarrierTom Constanten (The Grateful Dead), national fingerstyle guitar champion Michael Chapdelaine, Grammy-award nominated act The Dixie-Beeliners and dulcimer heroes Robert Force and Stephen Seifert, among others.  He's also produced numerous recordings and has published several songbooks.
Alongside his performing career, Bing has become a popular instructor of the mountain dulcimer, Native American flute and ukulele.  His video podcast, Dulcimerica, has been viewed by over a million people worldwide and is currently in its sixth season.
Here are the workshops that he will present at the 2nd Annual Gulf Coast Dulcimer Retreat!

Right Hand Wizardry (MD)

Your right hand (or, for some of you Southpaws, left hand) is the engine that drives your performance and we'll be learning some magical approaches to rhythm creation that will transform your street rod into a chariot worthy of  BMW.  We'll run cadence drills against a metronome to work on precision, apply a palm mute for dynamics, use selective strumming to accent individual strings, concentrate additional fill-in strums on rhythm strings while avoiding the melody in order to create a multitracked effect.  We'll also get into arpeggios as filler, flatpicking, posting, fingerpicking and bowing. (Intermediate - Advanced)

Learning 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. Must have a six-hole Native American flute, preferably in the key of "B minor." You can purchase one from Ray Wood at Island Flutes. Be sure to tell him it's for Bing's workshop. (Beginner to Intermediate)

I Got Those Mountain Dulcimer Blues (MD)

Woke up this mornin', all my dulcimer played was the blues

Woke up this mornin', all my dulcimer played was the blues
You'll get scales and chords and riffs, baby
and you'll sho' 'nuff learn to groove! (Intermediate - Advanced)

The Manatee Orchestra - Mountain Dulcimers (MD)

This year, we are going to combine efforts among all the instructors and teach some songs that will be performed before the Saturday evening concert.  The Manatee Orchestra will refuse no player, all skill levels are welcome.  This session is specifically for the mountain dulcimers.  Check the schedule for the pennywhistle, steel drum and ukulele sessions. (Beginner - Advanced)

Songs of the Man In Black (MD)

If you're a fan of the late great Johnny Cash, then this workshop will keep you smiling as we get into legendary songs like "Folsom Prison Blues", "Rock Island Line", "Ring Of Fire", "Tennessee Flat Top Box" and "Get Rhythm."  We'll show you how to get that boom-chicka-boom sound that Johnny got, how to walk the line right up the bass string and flat the right notes to get sassy and slick licks and turnarounds. (Beginner - Advanced)

Promentory: A Study In Arrangement and Looping (MD)

This unique and exclusive workshop combines technique and repertoire-building with an introduction to using a looper pedal.  A multi-part arrangement for "Promentory" from the motion picture "Last of the Mohicans" will help us to explore the relationship between multi-part arrangements and looping in real time.  We'll learn the piece, based on "The Gael", play it as a group, and then try our hand at recreating the group sound using only the looper pedal, layering multiple tracks of each separate part.  Must have a 1 1/2 fret to play this piece! (Advanced)

Taking A Bite Out Of Apple's Garageband

I've decided to start teaching this after getting so many requests.  Many of you have Mac laptops or desktops with Garageband pre-loaded on there.  Some of you are already mucking around with it while others aren't sure where to begin.  In this workshop, I'll demystify Garageband using a video screen so everyone can see the details.  What kind of equipment do you need?  What all can you do?  What are plug-ins and why are they so important?  What's a loop and how do you use it?  Everything from basic recording to advanced sound equalization and mixing techniques.  If you've ever wanted to record your own albums you'll have a good head start by the end of this class!  Laptops running the latest version of Garageband are encouraged but not required. (Beginner - Advanced) 

1-3-5 Tuning (MD)

We'll do an exploration of the 1-3-5 tuning which allows for a fully chromatic scale.  We'll chart out chord shapes and find scales across the fretboard.  Tips for moving through popular progressions and changing the shape of chords to create bass lines and lead licks.  We'll learn some tunes and have some fun with this little-known tuning. (Intermediate - Advanced)

Monday, February 25, 2013

Registrations For 2014 Are OPEN!

The buzz is hot!  People are talking about this year's Florida Gulf Coast Dulcimer Retreat and many of them weren't even there, but they heard wonderful things and saw lots of great pictures.  Quite a few folks are already registered for 2014 with their rooms booked at the Homosassa Riverside Resort well in advance to avoid an early sell-out.

So, here is the official announcement - general registration is now OPEN!  You can use the PayPal button to the right and reserve your spot for the 2nd Annual Florida Gulf Coast Dulcimer Retreat. Some of the details have been updated, so be sure to read the column to the right and then book your registration and accommodations because we fully expect to sell out next year!

It will be a little while before we have workshop descriptions to post, but that's only because we're working on an all-new schedule of offerings for you.  Be sure to subscribe to this site via e-mail (also to the right) and you won't miss a posting as we move towards our next event.  Thanks again to those who attended this year and made it such a rousing success!

P.S.  Once again, we'll be enjoying a post-retreat retreat at the Fort Wilderness Resort and Campground at Walt Disney World complete with fireworks, a visit to Epcot and a night out at the Hoop-De-Doo Musical Revue.  We'll be there on February 3rd and 4th - stay tuned for details!

Saturday, February 9, 2013

Thank you! Let's do it again next year!

The 2nd Annual Florida Gulf Coast Dulcimer Retreat will be January 30th - February 2nd, 2014 in Homosassa Springs - we are locked in with Folkcraft Instruments as the sponsor once again and Guy & Sharrie George, as well as myself, will be the performers and instructors. Thanks to everyone who made our first event such a resounding success!

Bill Colbert got some FANTASTIC photos at the retreat, showing just how much fun, beauty and music was shared by all!  We'll have more info on registration soon.  Thanks again!

Saturday, February 2, 2013

Having A BLAST!

Talk about an action-packed day!  Saturday was PHENOMENAL here in Homosassa Springs.  Capped off by a fantastic concert, the spirit of the day was wonderful fun.  We're already stacking up registrations for next year's event; January 30 - February 2nd.  People are enjoying themselves *that* much.  Sure, give us another excuse to come back to the Homosassa Riverside Resort; we love this place and the people who work here!

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Workshop Update

For the Songwriting I and Performing For Others workshops - I think I'm going to combine them into one super-workshop and offer it at 3 pm on Saturday in the Hospitality Room. If you were planning on taking either/both of these workshops, do see me and we'll arrange it.

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Schedule Update

Schedule update:  Sunday's Songwriting and Performing For Others workshops have been removed from the schedule.  If you are interested in either of these offerings, please see me during the retreat and I'll arrange a session for you.  Thanks!  We're heading for Homosassa Springs in just a few hours and we are excited about the great weather in store for us this week! See you there!

Friday, January 18, 2013

Breakfast On The River

Breakfast news for those attending the retreat!  Breakfast is not *officially* being served at the restaurant for the four days that we will be there - but the staff has offered to provide a continental breakfast consisting assorted breakfast pastries, bagels with cream cheese, fruit and cold cereal with whole milk, freshly brewed decaffeinated and regular coffee and assorted chilled juices for $12.54 per person on Thursday and Friday.  On Saturday and Sunday, they've offered up breakfast sandwiches and coffee to go for $3.95 per person.  In order to make this happen, they would need a head count of interested folks so they could special order the food.  If you're interested, please post here!  Thanks!

Friday, January 4, 2013

Come Join Us!

It's almost time!  

The 1st Annual Florida Gulf Coast Dulcimer Retreat is just around the corner and there's still time to join us for four days of laid-back fun in Old Florida style!  Sponsored by Folkcraft Instruments and based in and around the Homosassa Riverside Resort,  this fun getaway will feature the teaching of Guy & Sharrie George and myself (Bing Futch), offering up 24 workshops in mountain and hammered dulcimer, pennywhistle, Native American flute, steel drum, ukulele and guitar.  There will also be a Saturday night concert and plenty of jamming!  $99 gets you in and there's still room for more!  Be sure to mention "Bing Futch -  Folkcraft" to get your room discount at the Homosassa Riverside Resort.  Check the column to the right for more info and we're looking forward to seeing you there!