Thursday, November 23, 2017

2018 Workshop Schedule!


8:30 am - 9:30 am - (Guy) Get Friendly with the Hammered Dulcimer - Beginning HD
9:45 am - 10:45 am - (Guy) Pennywhistle - Beginning
11 am - 12 pm - (Bing) Beginning Mountain Dulcimer
12:15 pm - 1:15 pm - (Sharrie) Beginning Ukulele
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) Strings And String Changing For The Dulcimer Player - All Level Mountain Dulcimer
9:45 am - 10:45 am - (Sharrie) Ukulele Standards! - Intermediate
11 am - 12 pm - (Bing) Playing In The Basement - Learn To Play Bass Mountain Dulcimer
12:30 pm - 1:30 pm - (Guy) Hammered Technique Fun! - Intermediate HD
1:45 pm - 2:45 pm - (Richard) What To Do With Your 1.5 Fret - All Level Mountain Dulcimer
3 pm - 4 pm - (Bing) How To Play Native American Flute
4:15 pm - 5:15 pm - (Guy) Jamming on the Whistle! - Intermediate Pennywhistle


8:30 am - 9:30 am - (Sharrie) Reggae Ukulele! Beyond Beginner/Intermediate
9:45 am - 10:45 am - (Bing) Mountain Dulcimer - The Wonderful World Of Disney
11 am - 12 pm - (Bing) The Last of the Mohicans
12:30 pm - 1:30 pm - (Guy) Jamming Hammers! - Intermediate Hammered Dulcimer
1:45 pm - 2:45 pm - (Richard) - What To Do With Your 6 Fret
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) Mountain Dulcimer - Sunday Morning Coming Down
9:45 am - 10:45 am - (Richard) Murder Ballads III - All Level Mountain Dulcimer


Castaway Cruise Begins!

Sunday, November 5, 2017

First Promo Is Here!

Here's the first promo for the 2018 edition of our retreat! Just a little something to get you hyped up for February - enjoy!

Workshop Descriptions for Guy, Sharrie, Richard and Bing

Sharrie George - Workshops

Beginning Ukulele

Never played the uke before but always wanted to give it a try?  Do it here!  No worries - just fun; we have the uke for you to try, and we’ll have you playing some fun uke tunes in an hour!  Also a good refresher if it’s been a while - or come in at the end and play a few tunes to warm up for the weekend!

Ukulele Manatee Orchestra

Learn to play a few tunes from beginning to end with melody, harmony, and strum patterns - take them home to play with your group - Ukes or other instruments!  Learn to strum and play parts for the Manatee performance on Saturday with all instruments!

Ukulele Standards!  - Intermediate

Learn chords and strums for some of the great all time "Ukulele Classics!"  Use the skills you've learned to add to your repertoire - for more advanced players, some of the tunes will have melody, harmony, and some “licks” tabbed out for you!

Reggae Ukulele!  Beyond Beginner/Intermediate

Learn how to play in “Reggae” style - Strumming and rhythms, how “NOT to play on 1!”  We’ll learn some fun tunes, some easy reggae fills! Good information that will cross over to other styles of playing as well!

Guy George - Workshops

Jamming on the Whistle! - Intermediate Pennywhistle

We’ll learn some new and lesser known jam tunes, and then take a few to the next level, improvising, playing over chords, and some tips for playing in a jam situation.  Bring your favorite tunes; I’ll bring mine!

Get Friendly with the Hammered Dulcimer - Beginning HD

Learn or review the basics, learning what you need to become a hammered dulcimer player!  Have fun learning easy ways to play chords and a few melodies. Some hammered dulcimers are available to LOAN - a great way to try the dulcimer and see if this is the instrument for you!

Hammered Dulcimer, Pennywhistle, Steel Drum Manatee Orchestra! - All levels

Learn and practice parts for our Manatee tunes for this year’s extravaganza!   Get melody, harmony and extra parts for these great tunes!

Jamming Hammers! - Intermediate Hammered Dulcimer

Learn some great jam tunes with parts, and how to get around the melody and general jam survival tips! Great ear training for chords too!

Beginning Pennywhistle

Learn how to play the easiest instrument to carry, tune, and set up!  We’ll have you playing a few easy melodies in 2 keys in one workshop.  “D” whistle needed - we’ll have some for sale before the workshop.

Hammered Technique Fun! - Intermediate HD

Improve your playing with some new techniques, new tunes, and how to apply techniques to these and other tunes.

Bing Futch - Workshops

Beginning Mountain Dulcimer

You've got to start somewhere and we'll do just that, beginning with the basics of strumming, picking, playing melody against the drone and how to read tablature.  You'll learn a few tunes and get to know your instrument a little bit better as we cover subjects like putting on strings, tuning, how to practice and learning the fretboard.  Ask about loaner instruments! (Beginners - Novice)

Mountain Dulcimer - The Wonderful World Of Disney

If you're a big Disney fan, what would be more fun than picking some Disney tunes on the mountain dulcimer?  We'll have a good time with classics as well as recent hits from films like "Mary Poppins", “The Lion King” and “Alice In Wonderland.”  Along the way, we'll learn techniques to help you play these tunes "in a most delightful way!" (Beginner - Intermediate)

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! (All Skill Levels)

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.  (All Skill Levels)

Playing In The Basement - Learn To Play Bass Mountain Dulcimer

Every jam group would love to have a bass player to hold down the bottom end and keep time for everyone.  With a bass mountain dulcimer, you can do that without having to learn another instrument!  I’ll teach you the secret to playing perfect bass accompaniment for fiddle tunes, ballads and more, plus, I’ll show you how to create unique bass lines using simple elements of music theory.  There will be some bass dulcimers available for loaners (and purchase!) from Folkcraft Instruments. (Intermediate - Advanced)

The Last of the Mohicans - Mountain Dulcimer

Many of you have heard me play "Promentory" from "The Last of the Mohicans"; well now, you can learn that exact arrangement!  It's a mixture of "The Gael" by Dougie Maclean and the music of film composer Trevor Jones.  I've got all the parts and, with enough folks, we can create an orchestral version of this dramatic piece! (Or, I'll back us up with my looper pedal.) (Intermediate - Advanced)

Sunday Morning Coming Down

No, we're not going to learn the Johnny Cash song (though it might played a little.)  This workshop is basically a "cool-down" after three days of learning.  Any questions, clarifications, observations, discoveries, breakthroughs, etc., can be brought to the table in this new offering that aims to sum up, and shore up, your retreat experience.

Richard Ash Workshops

Murder Ballads III

Fast-becoming an annual tradition, Richard's collection of murder ballads is becoming more grisly, ghastly, and gruesome by the year. You wouldn't think such an unpleasant subject (usually involving a romance gone bad) could produce such a wealth of great tunes, but these are some of the best songs in the traditional music repertoire. MBIII contains all-new songs - no overlap from MBI and MBII. (All levels. Bring a capo.)

Strings And String Changing For The Dulcimer Player

A lot of players (even some great players) are intimidated by changing the strings on their dulcimers. And they let their instruments sound dull and lifeless, because the strings are past their prime. Richard (who has strung up thousands of dulcimers over the past decade) will walk you through the mechanics of string changing. Plus, how to select strings, how the different varieties of strings (brass, bronze, plain steel, stainless steel, etc.) affect the tone. You'll learn about the different gauges of strings, and the benefits/disadvantages of each. Ball end versus loop end. It can go on for days, but Richard will curate the most important parts, and keep it down to an hour. (Lots of handouts included, for future reference.) (Bring your dulcimer. This will be a hands-on class, if you're brave enough!) (All levels. Bring a capo.)

What To Do With Your 1.5 Fret

So many of us have a 1.5 fret, but it mostly sits there. Unused. “I don't have sheet music that uses that note.” Guess what? You can use the 1.5 fret with all kinds of jam tunes, and have fun making up variations on the classic melodies. You paid for the fret. Might as well use it... (All levels, no capo.)

What To Do With Your 6 Fret

Since the advent of DAD tuning, and the addition of the 6.5 fret, the 6 fret has been feeling sad, lonely, and neglected. I'll show you all kinds of neat things you can do, with classic jam tunes, using the 6 fret. Don't miss out - this is going to wake up your ears! (All levels. No capo.)

Tuesday, October 31, 2017

Are You Ready?

We're just a little over four months away with rooms and registrations filling up quickly! Many folks register for the following year while still at the retreat, while others tend to wait till the last minute. In either case, you won't want to miss out on our sixth annual edition! All the information you need to register and reserve rooms and/or campground sites is posted on the right side of this page. Looking forward to another fantastic time on the Homosassa River with everyone!

Bing Futch, Guy George, Jae Futch and Sharrie George

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?