Tutors

We are checking with all the tutors to confirm their avaibility for the October dates. As and when we get news, we'll amend the listing as required and where it is necessary to seek an alternative tutor, we will ensure we recruit someone of the same standing.
It may also be necessary to revise the distribution of students across classes if a large number cannot attend on the re-scheduled October dates. We'll keep you informed but we sincerely hope we can run a normal event with all the advertised tutors.

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Mike Fenton - Autoharp

Mike Fenton Mike is an ex-headteacher with 16 years' teaching experience who offers schools educative programmes of musical entertainment in which the Autoharp and other string instruments are used to present a wide variety of tunes and songs.
Sheffield born, Mike grew up in Middlesborough, Cleveland, and trained as a teacher at Coventry College of Education during 1967-70. His wide teaching background includes work in dockland Southampton, village schools in rural Kent, London overspill areas and American exchange experience in Philadelphia. In 1986 he left his Kent headship to take his unique music to schools across the country, and he now visits up to 180 a year.
Mike's school presentations are based on the chromatic and diatronic Autoharp, a form of chorded zither on which he is regarded as one of the world's leading players and teachers. He is a three times winner in the contest held annually at the Galax Old Fiddlers' Convention in Virginia, and in 1987 won the International Autoharp Championship held at the Walnut Valley Festival in Winfield, Kansas.
Mike is UK consultant for Oscar Schmidt International, for decades the leading makers of the instrument, and has been Autoharp Instructor at the Ozark Folk Center in Mountain View, Arkansas, and at the Augusta Heritage Workshops held at Davis and Elkins College, West Virginia.

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Bill Evans - Banjo

Bill Evans San Francisco Bay Area musician and Virginia native Bill Evans has been involved with bluegrass music and the banjo for over twenty-five years as a player, teacher, writer and historian. He occupies a unique niche in the banjo world: celebrated worldwide for his traditional and progressive bluegrass banjo styles as well as his innovative original compositions, he also enjoys a reputation as an outstanding instructor as well as being an expert player of 19th century minstrel and classic/parlor banjo styles. His latest accomplishment is authoring Banjo for Dummies for Wiley Publications. This book will be available in mid-August.
Bill currently performs and tours with renowned bluegrass and old time musician Jody Stecher in a unique all-banjo show called The Secret Life of Banjos. In addition, Bill is involved with two outstanding California-based bands: Bill Evans String Summit, an ensemble dedicated to the performance of Bill's original instrumental tunes and Rustler's Moon with Kathy Kallck and Bill Evans.
In addition to authoring Banjo for Dummies, Bill is also the co-author of Mel Bay's Parking Lot Pickers Songbook: Banjo Edition, a collection of 250 jam session favorites with an accompanying two CD set.

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Tony Trischka - Banjo

Tony Trischka The avant-garde banjo stylings of Tony Trischka inspired a whole generation of progressive bluegrass musicians; he was not only considered among the very best pickers, he was also one of the instrument's top teachers, and created numerous instructional books, teaching video tapes and cassettes.
A native of Syracuse, New York, Trischka's interest in banjo was sparked by the Kingston Trio's "Charlie and the MTA" in 1963. Two years later, he joined the Down City Ramblers, where he remained through 1971. That year, Trischka made his recording debut on 15 Bluegrass Instrumentals with the band Country Cooking; at the same time, he was also a member of Country Granola. In 1973, he began a two-year stint with Breakfast Special. Between 1974 and 1975, he recorded two solo albums, Bluegrass Light and Heartlands. After one more solo album in 1976, Banjoland, he went on to become musical leader for the Broadway show The Robber Bridegroom. Trischka toured with the show in 1978, the year he also played with the Monroe Doctrine.
Beginning in 1978, he also played with artists such as Peter Rowan, Richard Greene, and Stacy Phillips. In the early 1980s, he began recording with his new group Skyline, which recorded its first album in 1983. Subsequent albums included Robot Plane Flies over Arkansas (solo, 1983), Stranded in the Moonlight (with Skyline, 1984) and Hill Country (solo, 1985). In 1984, he performed in his first feature film, Foxfire. Three years later, he worked on the soundtrack for Driving Miss Daisy. Trischka produced the Belgian group Gold Rush's No More Angels in 1988. The following year, Skyline recorded its final album, Fire of Grace. He also recorded the theme song for Books on the Air, a popular National Public Radio Show, and continued his affiliation with the network by appearing on Garrison Keillor's Prairie Home Companion, Mountain Stage, From Our Front Porch, and other radio shows. Trischka's solo recordings include 1993's World Turning, 1995's Glory Shone Around: A Christmas Collection and 1999's Bend. New Deal followed in 2003. The new studio album was a bluesy adaptation of bluegrass standards that featured, among other things, a vocal cameo by Loudon Wainwright. Double Banjo Bluegrass Spectacular, featuring an appearance by comedian Steve Martin, came out four years later.

Biography by: by Sandra Brennan - courtesy All Music Guide

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Danny Thompson - Bass

Danny Thompson The word “legend” is often associated with film stars, rock stars, footballers but, in fact few actually achieve such grandeur. Danny Thompson, on the other hand, reached those dizzy heights years ago and he is more like an institution to the British music scene. I say music scene because it’s impossible to pigeon hole this gentleman, he’s played every style with everybody! Danny first came to Sore Fingers about five years ago and was booked to come straight back the following year he was so popular with the students! He has a genuine affection for Sore Fingers and in particular his students many of which are still in touch with him to ask him for advice. It’s only the fact that Danny is still very active with gigs and tours that he hasn’t been able to come back sooner but we have made it this year and what a privilege it is.
He’s also a perfect gentleman but don’t think he’s easy going on the students, prepare for some serious training, tone, rhythm, scales and don’t forget to bring your bows, that’s the first thing he’ll ask to see!

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Sally Van Meter - Dobro

Since 1977, Sally's slide guitar work has gained respect and recognition among peers and audiences for her commitment to staying true to playing music with heart and soul. She is well-known for her performances & recorded works ranging from solo work to collaborations with artists such as Jerry Garcia, Chris Hillman, Cyril Pahinui, Jerry Douglas, Mary Chapin-Carpenter, Alison Brown, Taj Mahal, Peter Rowan & the Rowan Brothers, Yonder Mountain String Band, Tony Rice, Kathy Kallick, the Nashville Bluegrass Band, Gerry O'Beirne, Maura O'Connell, the inimitable Leftover Salmon and more.
On the Sugar Hill label, Sally's work on The Great Dobro Sessions (producers Jerry Douglas/ Tut Taylor) earned the 1994 GRAMMY AWARD certificate for Best Bluegrass Recording from NARAS as a featured performer; in addition, Sally’s solo album All In Good Time was a finalist nominee for IBMA Instrumental Album of the Year. Film, television and radio credits include the film Gather at the River, the celebrated CBS' Northern Exposure and TNN's Texas Connection. Sally has also been invited to perform for nationally acclaimed NPR show A Prairie Home Companion, and Nick Forster's popular NPR radio show, E-Town.
In 1995, Sally joined with David Grisman and Jerry Garcia for a special project, The Songs of Jimmie Rodgers-A Tribute produced by Bob Dylan for Columbia Records. From 1977 -1996, Sally was a member of the Good Ol' Persons, a much-beloved San Francisco- based band. She has been an IBMA Finalist Nominee for Dobro Player of the Year from 1990-1997 and in 1996 won two IBMA awards, Best Instrumental Recording and Recorded Event of the Year (The Great Dobro Sessions). For nearly three decades, Sally's musical journeys have taken her from the US to the United Kingdom, Europe and Japan.
These days Sally resides professionally in Colorado. She currently gigs with Hillman & Pedersen and The Jeff Finlin Band. Alongside touring, you can find her wearing the Producers Hat producing recordings for national touring acts that include The Yonder Mountain String Band and the Open Road Bluegrass Band; as well, Sally's love of teaching music has kept her a mainstay at festivals, music workshops & camps throughout the US/UK and Europe.

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Megan Lynch - Fiddle

Megan Lynch Megan Lynch was raised in Redding, California, often considered the hotbed of fiddle music west of the Rockies. She began taking lessons at the age of four and started competing shortly thereafter. Megan won her first National Championship at age 8 and followed that with three consecutive wins at ages 10, 11, and 12. In 2003 Megan made a return to serious competition and captured two more National titles in 2003 and 2004. During the last 24 years of on-and-off competition, Megan has also won 6 California State titles, as well as the Minnesota State Championships.
Megan is in high demand as a private and group teacher. She counts dozens of State and National Champions among her students, and has recently added several prestigious bluegrass camps to her list of teaching accomplishments. Her no-holds-barred workshops have drawn rave reviews across the country.
Since moving to Nashville, Megan has played with country legend Pam Tillis as well as bluegrass luminaries Roland White, Larry Cordle, Jim Hurst, and Chris Jones. Megan is a former member of Koch recording artists 3 Fox Drive and west coast supergroup Due West. She is the founder and director of FiddleStar Youth and Adult Fiddle Camps. Megan is a fiddler of varied interests and influences. You never know if she’s going to go Texas style, Celtic, Motown, Bluegrass, or all of the above!

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Scott Nygaard - Guitar

Scott Nygaard Scott Nygaard is one of the most inventive and original guitarists in the bluegrass/acoustic music scene. His solos, a seamless amalgam of bluegrass, folk, and jazz influences, shift easily from breathtaking virtuosity to soulful melodic musings and his accompaniment is always intriguing, supportive, and propulsive. Initially influenced by Doc Watson, Clarence White, Django Reinhardt and Riley Puckett, Scott spent many years wandering the sea of American music that includes bluegrass, jazz, Cajun, old-time, western swing and rock and roll, and has since expanded his musical world to include traditional Brazilian, Swedish, and Irish music.
Scott was the guitarist with Tim O'Brien's band, the O'Boys, from 1992 to 1997, and currently performs with a variety of groups: Darol Anger's Republic of Strings, the Anonymous 4, the Websters and Scott Nygaard, Bill Evans String Summit, and others. He has also performed and recorded with such acoustic music stars as Jerry Douglas, Chris Thile, Tony Furtado, Laurie Lewis, Todd Phillips, and David Grisman, receiving numerous Grammy nominations for his stellar sidemanship.

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Andrew Collins - Mandolin

Andrew Collins Andrew Collins‘ skills as composer-arranger, multi-instrumentalist, and vocalist, have put him in the centre of a growing Canadian, acoustic-music scene. Born and raised in Toronto, Andrew found the love for mandolin while living in BC, at age twenty-three. Since that time, he has received a diverse formal education on the mandolin, studying bluegrass music at South Plains College in Texas and jazz music at Toronto’s, Humber College. However, Andrew’s knowledge of music reaches into many other genres including, classical, old-time, swing and celtic.
Andrew has crammed a lot of professional experience into the nine years that he has played music, as well. He is a founding member of several of Canada’s top acoustic string bands, including the Creaking Tree String Quartet, The Foggy Hogtown Boys and Crazy Strings. In the instrumental CTSQ, Collins is joined by violinist John Showman, guitarist Brad Keller and bassist Brian Kobayakawa, each contributing compositions to their two albums. Their unique blend of musical genres, bluegrass, jazz, classical and celtic music grace their two recordings and has earned them several international awards, including a Juno Nomination for Best Roots & Traditional album of 2004 and a 2005 Canadian Folk Music Award for Pushing the Boundaries.
Andrew earned a 2005 C.C.B.M.A. (Central Canada Bluegrass Association) award of Mandolin Player of the Year, singing and playing straight ahead bluegrass music with the award winning Foggy Hogtown Boys, who have recently released their second album Northern White Clouds and Crazy Strings, who’s High Lonesome Wednesdays at the Silver Dollar, have become an institution in Toronto’s bluegrass music scene. With both bands, Andrew is joined by some of Canada’s top musicians, many of which are Juno award winners, including; Chris Coole, Chris Quinn, Dan Whiteley, Jenny Whiteley, Joey Wright, John Showman and John McNaughton.
In the last couple of years, Collins has set out to build a solo recording career. In the summer of 2003, he produced Likewise, an album of original duets, with guitarist Marc Roy, that has made the top ten lists of 2004 releases in both Now Magazine and the Chicago Tribune, being referred to as “a richly textured album that is a prime example of the beauty that can be coaxed out between just two instruments“(Bluegrass North Magazine).
Thanks to the support of the Ontario Arts Council and the Toronto Arts Council, Andrew has a new release out entitled “Little Widgets“. This self produced album features nine original instrumental compositions, showcasing his abilities on mandolin, guitar, mandola, mandocello and fiddle. With several projects in the works, there should be no doubt that Andrew will be an integral force, in the evolution and raising of the bar of string music.

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Brett Ratliff - Old-time banjo

Brett Ratliff Brett Ratliff was raised on Miller's Creek in Van Lear there in the coalfields of east Kentucky by a family of coal miners and teachers. He got a good education runnin' around the hills and hollers of old east KY. Music was the one thing he found that seemed to put it all into perspective, especially the old time mountain music. Brett got a higher education at Morehead State University in Morehead, KY, where he now lives. He truly loves the people he gets to meet living this life and the seemingly endless flow of music that passes through it.
Brett will bring a little of East Kentucky with him and teach some of the finer points of that region’s playing tradition including back up for fiddle runes, fiddle melody, the banjo in the band context and ballad singing with two finger and stroke style accompaniment.

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Thomas Bailey - Old-time fiddle

Thomas Bailey Traditional music is a centuries old dangling conversation. It ties the young and old, secular and holy together; and in the case of the American idiom, bridges the gap between the various cultures that make up the great melting pot.
Thomas Bailey has been a part of this conversation from childhood, which first began with an interest in 17th & 18th century music of Colonial America, to the old time fiddle tunes of his hometown region of Southwest Virginia, to the urban sounds of his school age years and back again.
As a recognizable face in the current Old Time Music scene and festival circuit, he's garnered awards for his singing and fiddle and guitar playing. On his self-produced debut solo CD "Brilliancy," he highlighted this multi-instrumental talent. These tracks represent a picture of the exciting ongoing dialogue in American Old Time Music into the 21st century.

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Keith Little - Singing

Keith Little Keith Little is a nationally acclaimed bluegrass musician, recording artist, and composer. He has performed on the GRAMMY award winning recordings “The Grass Is Blue” and “Little Sparrow” by Dolly Parton, and “Another Country” by the Chieftains. Performing on guitar, 5-string banjo, mandolin, and fiddle, Keith regularly appears with duo partner Jim Nunally, and is also a featured member of the David Grisman Bluegrass Experience. His solo album “Distant Land to Roam”, has become a perennial bluegrass favourite, and his compositions have been recorded by Crystal Gayle, Tim O’Brien, Claire Lynch, and the Whites (among others). Keith is an amazing vocalist, and an honorary lifetime member of the California Bluegrass Association.
This will be Keith’s second visit to Sore Fingers and he is back because he is one of the best vocal tutors we have ever had. His command of harmonies is nothing short astonishing and he will take the singers class to places they have just never though of going!

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John Lowell - Song-writing

John Lowell It's funny how sometimes when you have developed a great passion, and looking back on how it all started, the beginning was a small insignificant event. Not a great revelation that knocks you off your feet, but a small, quiet occurrence, maybe even a slow process that brings you to the thing that you feel most strongly about - the thing you love to do the most. Such is the case with the music and John Lowell. The small, insignificant event was sneaking into his sister's room and picking up her guitar that was lying on the bed. The journey began at that point and continues to this day. What started as a small seed has grown into something that has consumed my life in many ways.
The musical road has wound many places, from Colorado to Montana via Arizona, to Shetland, England and Canada, and all over the north American continent. The road isn't paved, so the occasional bump is to be expected, but the smooth stretches are frequent and long. There have been many late nights. There have been some absolutely amazing musical experiences, both as a spectator and a participant. The notes have gone into the air and vanished, leaving only an intense memory of what just happened.
John has played in nationally recognized bands, the current group being Kane's River and has travelled to England and Canada to teach guitar at music camps. John has received critical acclaim for his singing, song-writing and guitar playing both with Kane's River and Growling Old Men - a mandolin/guitar duo with Ben Winship. Several bands have recorded John’s songs which is credit to the man’s song-writing skills. John will be at Sore Fingers Week for the third time, that’s what happens to talented people, you keep having to bring them back!

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John Dowling - Beginners/Intermediate Banjo

John Dowling John started playing music at age 5 when, encouraged by his family at home in Cornwall, he started classical violin lessons. While this taught him a lot, he did not find the “fun” in music until at 12 years old he heard a 5 string banjo playing on the sound track of a Burt Reynolds car chase film.
At 14 he acquired his first banjo and, from that moment on, he’s devoted all his efforts to perfecting his unique way to make music. While studying A Level music at Truro College, John met keyboard player Jez Wing. They seemed to bond musically, writing new and exciting pieces for banjo and piano. John and Jez went on to win the Radio 2 Young Folk Awards in 2000.
In 2002, John entered the USA National Bluegrass Banjo Championship at The Walnut Valley Festival in Winfield, Kansas. Beating some very serious competition, John came away with first prize and a banjo worth $4500! John is the first European to have ever won this award.
John is an old hand at Sore Fingers Week since he hasn’t missed one! Beginning as a student in 1996, he rapidly became one of the movers when he became part of Jane on Thunder with mandolinist Rex Preston (Rex makes the tea at Sore Fingers Week!). It wasn’t long before John was knocking on the door wanting to pass on some of his skills and has been doing so successfully for several years. He is one of our most popular tutors.

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Steve Mazillius - Beginners/Intermediate Bass

Steve Mazillius Steve Mazillius came to bluegrass late and accidentally. He spent the first part of his music career playing in rock bands but became disillusioned with this style of music and, after a chance encounter while busking, joined Southern Exposure, one of the first progressive bluegrass outfits to come out of the UK. With fellow band members Leon Hunt, Randy Gambill and Mike Pryor, Steve recorded 'Raw Material' and 'Small Town', the latter being released to critical acclaim, including a nomination for the British Country Music Awards, and receiving airplay on both sides of the Atlantic. Gigs with Southern Exposure included a memorable support for Alison Krauss at the Mean Fiddler and headline/support slots at Ironbridge, Edale, Didmarton and at the Guglingen bluegrass festival in Germany. Steve went on to play in Daily Planet, a new acoustic act with a sound based in bluegrass but extending far beyond the music's normal boundaries into jazz, dance and funk. The band toured in the United States and performed and toured widely in the UK and Europe, including at the Glastonbury festival and Ironbridge. Daily Planet released the 'Clark's Secret' CD while Steve was with them and this garnered further critical acclaim and widespread airplay.

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Anna Kelly - Beginners/Intermediate Fiddle

Anna Kelly From the age of five Anna began to pester her mum to let her learn to play the violin. Her mum finally gave in when Anna was eight! Her early love of classical music has now grown to include jazz, pop/rock and of course folk music. Anna has just completed a music/popular music degree at Liverpool University and is now taking a year out and teaching violin to children across various schools in Cheshire. In her current band Dulaman, Anna is described as the quiet one, and is mostly responsible for working out harmonies.

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James Dewdney - Beginners/Intermediate Guitar

James Dewdney After more or less 10 years of playing the guitar James feels that he has only just scratched the surface of what the instrument is capable of, although others who hear him play are mesmerised. James underestimates his ability, which has been noticed by Martin Carthy when he made positive remarks to a friend about James' style of playing. In his early teens James was wowed into taking the guitar more seriously by the chance viewing of a gig by the flatpicking legend Dan Crary. James is now dividing his time between the study and tuition of the guitar and eating pasta. James has recently discovered another talent which is writing some excellent songs which feature on Dulaman's CD. In the band, James is the “determined one” as, once he is set on something, little will move him. So, now you too can benefit from that determination to teach you to play great guitar!

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Dan Norton - Beginners/Intermediate Mandolin

Dan Norton Dan Norton first came to Sore Fingers Week as a sponsor student several years ago. He was already a full member of the UK's longest running band the Down County Boys and he has since spread his wings a little playing with Keep Off The Grass, the toy hearts and other stellar musical outfits. All along, Dan has been establishing himself as a teacher of the mandolin at home town in Rugby, Warwickshire, at Sore Fingers Week and further a field. He has also being involved with a weekly teaching programme in Chester which has given him the grounding to pass on his immeasurable skills to budding mandolinists.

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