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Thread: Northfield Marshall Mandolin Summit

  1. #1
    Registered User Glassweb's Avatar
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    Feb 2004
    Bellingham, WA

    Default Northfield Marshall Mandolin Summit

    Anybody out there go to the Marshall Mandolin Summit? Your impressions?

  2. #2
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    Nov 2016
    Eastern Iowa

    Default Re: Northfield Marshall Mandolin Summit

    It was great! I especially like that it is more of a celebration of the mandolin than a particular style or beginner focus.

    There were 38 or so attendees (Summiteers?) and the general level of picking ability was pretty high. Like last year, the food was good and the Jam Session IPA was dangerously on tap all day long. The jamming and talking mandolins was fun with there usually being a jazz session, a folk/bg session and a choro group at pretty much any time there was not a scheduled event. Along with some pretty good pickers, there were a lot of eye candy mandolins there.

    The classes I took were:
    Don Stiernberg chord leading melodies - Super cool and he is a good teacher, but I have a lot of work to get smooth at it.
    Mike Marshall with mando basics- Got a good discussion of right hand to keep up a driving beat on fiddle tunes and we all had time to ask whatever we wanted as the class was 6 students. (Most of the classes I took were 12-15).
    John Reishman on tone- good info on how he gets his sound and a diversion about his mandolin.
    Sierra Hull on song writing and octave mandolin- this class paid for the summit for me as I realized I don't like the feel of a giant mandolin and don't need to buy one. The song writing class was cool as well to see how the sausage is made
    I did not take any of Caterina's classical classes as there were almost always 2 or more classes I'd like to take in each time slot.

    It was really tiring and a bit overwhelming with all the stuff going all the time.

    My wishes are that I could sight read at speed to play some choro, and that I was better at playing a break on songs/tunes I don't really know very well.

    Looking over my notes, it looks like I have a good 500-600 hours of home work for next years Summit.

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  4. #3
    Registered User CelticDude's Avatar
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    Mar 2008
    West Hartford, CT

    Default Re: Northfield Marshall Mandolin Summit

    So, fun coincidence that it was started by Mike Marshall, and it's held in Marshall, MI. Or did they rename the town after him?

  5. #4

    Default Re: Northfield Marshall Mandolin Summit

    It was a first class event. Marshall, MI is a sweet, small town in south central Michigan about 90 west of Detroit. We toured the production facilities the first day and got a sense of the R & D that Northfield puts into all of their products. These guys are a small shop with a very solid connection to their two partners in China. Along with getting advice from some of the best players out there (Mike Marshall, particularly), they are successfully pushing the envelope for mandolins in many subtle ways.

    The classes with Mike, Caterina, John Reischman, Sierra Hull and Don Stiernberg were what you might expect - great advice and stories from some of the best players on the planet. We got to hear from each of them during a morning segment called "Music Appreciation" which gave us personal information on how all of them came to the instrument and how they developed their styles of music.

    The food (coffee and snacks and lunches and dinners) was excellent. This event is well supported by many of the fine folks of Marshall. We also had a cookout at the home of Thomas Franke, the man behind the Franke Arts Center where most of the classes and concerts were held. He's quite a patron of the arts and very generous to Summit and the fine folks at Northfield.

    The Marshall Mandolin Summit has the feel of a genuine community event. This was their third year. If you haven't been, give this a serious look. It's small and has a great feel to it. The team at Northfield and all the teachers are very knowledgeable and approachable.

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  7. #5
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    Mar 2014
    Andros Island, Bahamas

    Default Re: Northfield Marshall Mandolin Summit

    I'm mostly chiming in to second everything slinds said.

    Go if you can. The Marshall Mandolin Summit is worth it and then some.

    A more personal take: most of what I've done on mandolin so far has been in support of fairly generic country / folk / rock material, and I went to the Summit to get a better feel for which way to go with more serious, systematic study. Caterina's classical curriculum clicked with me to a frankly surprising degree, and Don Stiernberg's chord-melody approach hooked me too. I wound up enrolling in web-based lessons with each of them.
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  9. #6
    Registered User tbown's Avatar
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    Nov 2017
    Crystal Beach, FL

    Default Re: Northfield Marshall Mandolin Summit

    A great event! I will definitely be returning. I can second just about everything that has been said. Great people, great instruction, a jam for everyone! I love that it is a smaller event (38 attendees) and could meet and connect with more people. The city of Marshall welcomed everyone with open arms. Getting to spend some up-close time with the instructors is a wonderful experience and worth every penny. Really, the whole event is worth every penny!
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