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Sixth Annual March Mandolin Festival

By Mandolin Cafe
January 15, 2008 - 9:00 am

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Concord, N.H. — The Sixth Annual March Mandolin Festival will be held March 8-9, 2008, at the Concord Community Music School in Concord, New Hampshire. This year, the festival features Barry Mitterhoff, John McGann, Keith Murphy, and David Surette.

This two-day event offers group lessons, and workshops on a variety of topics, jam sessions, and an evening concert. Additionally, the festival will present a March 7, Friday night concert featuring the same performers at The Stone Church in Newmarket, New Hampshire (this is a separate ticket from the Concord events).

To register for the festival, send a check for $110 made out to:

Concord Community Music School
23 Wall St.
Concord, NH 03301

Lodging is available at the Courtyard Marriott Hotel and Conference Center in Concord, New Hampshire, with a special festival rate. A limited number of rooms have been set aside, so if you are interested, please contact the hotel directly at (603) 225-0303.

For more information, contact 207-384-8151, 603-228-1196 (Music School) or email

Sponsors include the New Hampshire State Council on the Arts Traditional Arts Program, Mandolin Cafe, and the Concord Courtyard Marriott Hotel.

Festival schedule

Friday, March 7, 2008

March Mandolin Festival concert featuring Barry Mitterhof (accompanied by Joe Selly), John McGann, Keith Murphy, and David Surette, at the Stone Church Music Club in Newmarket, New Hampshire, 7:00 p.m., (603) 659-6321 for more info. This is a separate ticket from Saturday and Sunday events at the Concord Community Music School.

Saturday March 8, 2008

(all Saturday and Sunday events at the Concord Community Music School, Concord NH)

Workshop Room schedule

Community Room - participatory teaching workshops: int/adv
Recital Hall sessions/special presentation: levels vary
Studio B - Beginner's session
Room 119 - participatory teaching workshops: int/adv

10:45-12:00 class session

Community Room - Blues and ragtime with Barry Mitterhoff
Recital Hall - Celtic tune session with Keith Murphy
Studio B Beginner's class: The Basics with David Surette
Room 119 - Melodic Improvisation (basing improvisation on the melody rather than chord changes) with John McGann

12:00-1:00 lunch break

There are a number of quick and easy places to get lunch and/or dinner within walking or driving distance of the school, and parking in Concord is not a problem at all. We will assemble a short list of good options, and may try to provide an on-site sandwich purchase option. Coffee/tea and light snacks will be available for purchase at the school. There are basic kitchen facilities at the school, and you are welcome to bring a cold lunch or even something to heat up in the microwave.

1:00 1:30 Group tunes in the Community Room, led by David, open to all

This is a chance for as many as are interested to play through a selection of choice mandolin tunes in a large group setting; written music (melody, harmony, and chords) will be provided in advance to all registrants.

1:30-2:45 class session

Community Room - De-Mystifying Jazz Theory with some chord voicing basics, soloing strategies, and Q and A with John McGann
Recital Hall Bluegrass session with Barry Mitterhoff
Studio B - Beginner's session: strumming with Keith Murphy
Room 119 French and Breton tunes with David Surette

3:00-4:15 class session

Community Room Luthier's Presentation with Rolfe Gerhardt of Phoenix Mandolins
Recital Hall - Jazz/swing session with John McGann
Studio B Beginner's class: chords and chording with Barry Mitterhoff
Room 119 - Open chording accompaniment for tunes and songs with Keith Murphy

4:30-5:30 class session

Community Room Tunesmithing: write your own tune with Keith Murphy
Recital Hall - Mandolin duets/harmony with David Surette
Studio B - Beginner's class: scales and arpeggios with John McGann
Room 119 Mundo mando: world and ethnic tunes with Barry Mitterhoff

5:30-7:30 dinner break
See lunch break

7:30-9:30 March Mandolin Festival concert featuring Barry Mitterhof (accompanied by Joe Selly), John McGann, Keith Murphy, and David Surette. Admission included for Festival participants; general admission tickets

Sunday March 9

10:30-12:30 Mando roundtable and Group Tunes

This is planned as a loose, casual way to consolidate everything that goes on Saturday; a chance to ask questions, fill in last-minute gaps, get a close-up demonstration of that tune from Saturday night's concert that mystified you, compare notes, socialize over coffee, pick a few more tunes,etc. In addition, we will get a second chance to play through the group tunes together.

About the instructors

One of the nation's leading mandolinists, Barry Mitterhoff has explored all the instrument's various styles, and it has carried him to Broadway, the silver screen, thousands of live performances and the recording studio for dozens of projects, even the White House. Within the bluegrass world, Barry is probably best known from his time with the band Skyline, with whom he toured and recorded for most of a decade. Barry, Danny Weiss, and Larry Cohen have continued to tour from time to time under the name Silk City. He has also extensively explored the mandolin in ethnic and European traditional music of many kinds. He is a regular member of Margot Leverett and the Klezmer Mountain Boys, and for the last five years has toured with Hot Tuna and with Jorma Kaukonen; he appears on Jorma's current album, "Stars In My Crown." In addition to mandolin, he plays several varieties of electric mandolin and octave mandolin, four-string banjo, and is one of the leaders in the revival of the tenor guitar. Though regularly touring, making festival appearances, and teaching at workshops, Barry still calls New Jersey home.

John McGann is a gifted multi-instrumentalist, specializing in mandolin family instruments as well as electric and acoustic guitar; he won the 1986 National Flatpicking Championship on mandolin, and is currently Associate Professor of Mandolin at Berklee College of Music. He has worked within a wide variety of idioms, including jazz, bluegrass, American traditional music, and traditional Irish dance music. He has performed and recorded with numerous artists, including David Grisman, Russ Barenberg, Darol Anger, Joe Derrane, Seamus Connolly, The Wayfaring Strangers, Celtic Fiddle Festival, and many others. His solo CD "Upslide" includes the ASCAP award-winning composition "Canyon Moonrise". John is an active columnist and author, with five book/CD sets for Mel Bay Publications, including "Developing Melodic Variations on Fiddle Tunes" and "Guide to Octave Mandolin/Bouzouki". He also owns and operates an independent music transcription company, which has been in business since 1981 serving both individual clients and major publishers.

Newfoundland-born Keith Murphy began absorbing his native musical languages - folksongs, ballads and dance music - from an early age. A proficient multi-instrumentalist, he has long applied much of his considerable energy to the rhythmic side, becoming a valued band member (Nightingale, Fair Play) and sought-after sideman on guitar, mandolin and foot percussion. At the same time, Murphy's natural and lyrical singing and piano playing add a complementary dimension to his music, a thoughtful, well-crafted and ever-respectful take on tradition. A skillful band arranger schooled in the decades-long folk revival, Murphy brings all of these many talents to the plate for his first vocally-oriented solo outing, Bound for Canaan, which was released in 2005.

David Surette is highly regarded throughout New England and beyond for his work on the mandolin, guitar (both flatpick and fingerstyle), and bouzouki. He plays regularly with Susie Burke, with Rodney Miller and Airdance and as a soloist and has recorded in all these configurations. His most recent solo release, Northern Roots, is a collection of traditional New-England based music that has drawn strong praise. "We can't recommend it highly enough," wrote Mandolin Cafe. "One of the best discs of 2005." His diverse repertoire includes traditional American roots music, Celtic and contra tunes, original compositions, bluegrass, blues and ragtime, and folk music from a variety of traditions, all played with finesse, taste, and virtuosity. He is also an experienced teacher, and coordinates folk music programming and teaches regularly at the Concord Community Music School.

Additional information:
March Mandolin Festival web site

Click red map pin below for driving directions to March Mandolin Festival, Concord Community Music School, 23 Wall Street, Concord, NH 03301.

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