The Nonsuch Dulcimer Club is pleased to invite you to join us at our 27th Annual Weekend, which will be held again this year at the Malvern St. James School in Great Malvern.
As per last year, we are offering a full 3-day weekend this year, with an option for just 2-days, and new this year - an additional option of a stand alone special 4th day of workshops on the Tuesday to take full advantage of our tutors coming from the USA.
The school is a historic Victorian hotel, with great spaces for workshops and socialising, and also right opposite the train station. Great Malvern is a lovely historic spa town, and is surrounded by the stunningly beautiful Malvern Hills. Most attendees stay at the school but B&B options and camping are also available in and around Malvern.
We will have a full programme of workshops for both Hammered Dulcimer and Mountain Dulcimer players of all levels, a tutor concert on Friday night, our renowned Nonsuch open-stage concert on Saturday, regular and slow sessions with leaders, and maybe even time for some informal dancing! We have a wide range of guest tutors from the UK and the USA. Karen Ashbrook (USA) & Dizzi Dulcimer Cree (UK) will be featured on Hammered Dulcimer, and Steve Eulberg (USA) & Dan Evans (UK) on Mountain Dulcimer. Paul Oorts (USA), Andy McLaughlin (UK) & John Shaw (UK) will lead other featured workshops.
We extend a warm welcome to hammered and mountain dulcimer players of all skill levels, and especially to newcomers. Once again, we will have a full three days of separate workshops offered for beginners on both HD and MD, with experienced and helpful tutors. Pieter Blondelle, Chris Fitt and Sally Whytehead will teach beginner HD workshops, and Bob Fitt and Tony Gillam beginner MD.
In order to take advantage of our tutors who are visiting from afar, we are this year offering further one-day workshops on Tuesday 23rd October with Karen Ashbrook (HD) and Steve Eulberg (MD). Karen will be teaching a one-day workshop on "Mystery of Modes" for HD, and Steve will be teaching "Half the Frets, ALL the Music" for MD. Details of these workshops are below.
This year we are again extending our weekend to three days, with an option to attend for two days only.
The evening meal on Friday is followed by a Tutor Concert featuring our guest tutors.
On Saturday night, we will have our (in)famous Open-Stage Concert, which is open to all weekend participants. We encourage you to take part, and not necessarily on dulcimer - other instruments, readings, performances are always fun - please plan to keep your performance short (five minutes or less).
Karen Ashbrook (HD) will be teaching workshops on playing with pentatonic scales; taking a popular jig and arranging it using different timing and moods; harmonizing a catchy Bolivian tune using different intervals; and accompanying tunes in ¾ with different chords;
Dizzi Dulcimer (HD) will be teaching about rhythm & groove; using percussion techniques to get your hammers humming; flexible scales and arpeggios; improvisation and free expression; and a fun session with free-form ensemble playing;
Steve Eulberg (MD) will teach playing Blues on the MD; arranging tunes for solos, duets or ensembles; special MD tunings (DGd, DAC, DAG); and playing using Celtic ornamentation. Steve will also teach a workshop on Blues for the HD;
Dan Evans (MD) will give us a wide-ranging tour of different modes and tunings, with workshops on Dorian (DAG), Ionian (DAA), and Bagpipe tuning (AAA). He will also give a talk and demo of the Electric MD, and lead some wonderful Singing and Chant workshops for all.
Paul Oorts (Multi-Instrument) will be here to teach eclectic tunes from his wide repertoire of Flemish & French music. Paul will also teach a multi-instrument workshop featuring some modern English dance tunes, and lead some of our sessions.
In this special one-day version of Karen's "Mystery of Modes" workshop, we will delve into playing in four of the different modes, their relationship, and moving between them: Ionian (major) to Mixolydian to Dorian to Aeolian (Minor). We will explore the basic chord structures of each, and how the melody sits in the scales and on the hammered dulcimer. Harps are welcome too!
We will take a few simple tunes and use them as a basis for improvising and changing the modes. Gaining fluency in the four most common modes used in British and Celtic folk music will increase ear training, your ability to hear chords in tunes, and your skill playing in sessions. An additional benefit is that participants will experience the healing power of playing music through mode-based chord progressions.
The 3-string, diatonic mountain dulcimer has "half the frets, but ALL the music," of a 6-string, chromatic guitar! While no instruments are "easy to play", some instruments are more accessible than others, and you can enjoy playing a wide range of tunes beyond the folk world on the mountain dulcimer.
We will use both the morning and afternoon sessions of this one-day workshop to have fun with other types of music. Steve will explore musical styles from Bluegrass to Classical, and from Jazz to Folk-Rock. Be prepared for some classic bluegrass, 70s tunes by Jim Croce ("Time in a Bottle"), beautiful classical melodies, swinging jazz or lyrical hymn tunes (old and new). Techniques for playing in these styles will also be included as we explore the tunes.
Come and find out why "less actually IS more"!
If you wish to sign up for the Tuesday workshops, you will also choose either the Resident or Non-Resident option for the additional day.
If you travel from afar, and would like to stay overnight on Monday night, we are offering a Monday "B&B" option for dinner, an extra night and breakfast at the school.
The overall schedule for the weekend is shown here. We will be updating this page with the detailed workshop schedule and workshop descriptions as they are available.
If you are unsure about your playing level, please refer to the Nonsuch Playing Guidelines.
For more than 40 years, Karen Ashbrook has been a pioneer and an advocate in the development and revival of the hammered dulcimer nationally and internationally. It began in 1976 when Karen built her first dulcimer as a high school project. For five years, she lived overseas in pursuit of Irish music and learned her craft in the pubs of England and Ireland, while taking time to travel in Europe and Asia.
Karen plays a wide variety of musical styles including Irish, Appalachian, Belgian, English, classical and Jewish. She teaches and performs with her multi-instrumentalist husband, Paul Oorts, at festivals and music camps in the USA and in Europe.
Karen also teaches a weekend course on the Mystery of Modes for the MHTP therapeutic music organisation. In this weekend, she explores all the modes, their relationships, their chord structures and how they evoke different emotions when improvised.
Karen also works as a therapeutic musician, and is passionate about using hammered dulcimer music for healing, and encouraging other musicians to do the same. For more information visit her website at www.karenashbrook.com
Dizzi Dulcimer (Rebecca Edwards Cree) grew up in Frome, Somerset, and initially studied theatre at Bath Performing Arts College. At 17, she became and eco-warrior and learned to drum whilst saving trees at road protest sites, where her outstanding drumming skills soon earned her the name Dizzi Drummer. At 18, she toured the UK festival circuit as a drummer, and in 2000 moved to London and played in numerous clubs as a dance percussionist.
In London, she also encountered the hammered dulcimer and rapidly developed her skills and original style, playing and composing for the instrument. Having studied Music Engineering and Sound Technology, she returned to Frome to set up her own record company. During this time, she performed as a percussionist and hammered dulcimer player in many types of events. Dizzi has performed and worked with many genres of music, appearing numerous times at Glastonbury and Edinburgh Fringe festivals, and working in recording sessions for film and radio.
Dizzi now lives in Dorset, where she performs as a duo with her husband, fellow percussionist Ralph Cree, teaches workshops and lessons, and holds regular dulcimer group sessions. In between times (!), she and Ralph travel and nurture their two small children, Ocean and Solar.
She also runs a very successful online hammered dulcimer shop, selling dulcimers, accessories, CDs and DVDs at: www.dizzi.co.uk
An Award-winning multi-instrumentalist and singer-songwriter, Steve Eulberg weaves mountain and hammered dulcimers with a variety of unusual instruments to create thought-provoking, smile-inducing, toe-tapping acoustic experiences. He has sung and composed for religious communities, union halls, picket lines, inter-faith retreats, mountain-top youth camps, as well as the more familiar venues: clubs, coffeehouses, bookstores, festivals, charity benefits and showcase concerts.
Founder of Owl Mountain Music, Inc. (1990) he teaches and performs extensively across the US and the UK. He delights in introducing the "sweet music" of dulcimers to people in diverse settings, and in addition to his own recordings, has included dulcimers in a variety of session work for other musicians. His own website can be found at www.steveeulberg.com. He is also a key contributor to "Dulcimer Crossing": www.dulcimercrossing.com/index.html.
Steve passionately believes that music crosses cultural and language barriers because music builds community. Influenced by a variety of ethnic styles, his music weaves vital lyric with rap, rock, folk, gospel and blues, as well as giving voice to the Scottish, English and Irish traditions to which he is heir. Audiences and workshop participants of all ages respond well to his warm sense of humour.
Over three decades Dan Evans has built a niche career as a world-class performer and teacher on both the mountain dulcimer and acoustic guitar. Dan plays mountain dulcimer almost exclusively finger-style. His instruments have three single strings and have been built with a diatonic fretting pattern, there are no half-frets. On the mountain dulcimer, his repertoire includes traditional English, Scottish and Irish folk songs and airs, as well as a few fun original compositions and the occasional timeless classis. He takes a classical approach to British folk melodies with medieval modes and jazzy chords and rhythms.
In concert, he presents a repertoire of traditional folk songs and airs from the British Isles, imaginative and atmospheric original compositions, and the odd classic song to round off the set. All are arranged in Dan's unique, thoughtful style and presented with considerable classical skill.
With five CD albums released to critical international acclaim and seventeen international tours to date, Dan has won the hearts of workshop attendees and audiences on both sides of the Atlantic.
Learn more about Dan Evans on his website at: www.english-dulcimer.com
Belgian-born Paul Oorts performs on harp guitar, 10-string cittern, mandolin, and musette accordion, most often with his wife, hammered dulcimer player Karen Ashbrook.
He is very active in the world of English, Contra, and Vintage dances in the DC-Baltimore area. With the trio Goldcrest he has performed at dance events all over the US.
As both teacher and staff musician, he has been on faculty at many week-long camps like the Augusta Heritage Center (WV) the Swannanoa Gathering (NC), Common Ground on the Hill (MD), Kentucky Music Week, Pinewoods (MA), Timber Ridge (WV), Hill County Acoustic Music Camp (TX), Hey Days (CA) and the Volksmuziekstage in Gooik (Belgium).
During the academic year, Dr. Oorts teaches Italian and French at Loyola University in Baltimore. Visit his website at www.pauloorts.com
Please complete the booking form and return it either with your cheque (made payable to Nonsuch Dulcimer Club) to John Freeman, or by email to Hilary Davies if you wish to make a bank transfer. Please note that your application must reach us by June 30th, 2018 in order for you to benefit from our Early Bird pricing.
The weekend will be held at Malvern St. James School, 15, Avenue Road, Great Malvern, Worcestershire, WR14 3BA. fFor more information about the location and the surrounding area, please see the school's website.