Third Annual March Mandolin Festival, Concord, New Hampshire

By David Surette
November 29, 2004 - 6:00 am

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The Third Annual March Mandolin Festival will be held March 5-6, 2005, at the Concord Community Music School in Concord, New Hampshire and features Skip Gorman and David Surette, two of New England's finest musicians. This two-day event offers group lessons and workshops, jam sessions, an informal open stage opportunity, and an evening concert.

The Saturday workshop is limited to 30 participants: 15 beginner/intermediate level, and 15 intermediate to advanced level. Depending upon the response, this breakdown may vary slightly. Cost for the entire festival including group lessons, workshops, jam sessions, open stage, and evening concert is $75. The open stage and evening concert portion of the festival is open to the listening public with an admission fee of $10.

Lodging is available at the Courtyard Marriott Hotel and Conference Center in Concord, New Hampshire, with a special festival rate of $85 for Saturday night, good for single or double occupancy, and includes breakfast for two. A limited number of rooms have been set aside, so if you are interested, please contact the hotel directly at 603-225-0303 or through their web site.

Event organizers are pleased to announce that Weber Mandolins has provided a Hyalite model for a raffle to benefit the festival. The Hyalite is a carved-top, f-hole version of their Celtic body style. This particular instrument is an upgraded model that includes a custom color and gloss finish, with a $1735 retail value. Tickets will be available at the festival or directly from the event organizer. You do not have to be present to win.

About the instructors:

Skip Gorman is one of the leading teachers and players of Bill Monroe-style mandolin in the country, as well as being a masterful cowboy singer and fine fiddler. An encounter with Monroe at age twelve was a pivotal moment in the young musician's life, and he was lucky to have the opportunity to see musicians like Monroe, legendary Texas fiddler Eck Robertson, and Mother Maybelle Carter at the historic Newport Folk Festival. He has taught bluegrass mandolin with Ronnie McCoury, Frank Wakefield, Mike Compton, Norman Blake, Chris Thile, Butch Baldassari, Mike Seeger, Barry Mitterhoff, Rhonda Vincent and others at top festivals such as IBMA World of Bluegrass, European World of Bluegrass and Grass Valley Bluegrass Festival.

David Surette is highly regarded throughout New England and beyond for his work on the mandolin, guitar (both flatpick and fingerstyle), and bouzouki. He is well-known as a top-notch accompanist in New England's contra dance and Celtic music circles, and is also in demand as a studio musician and sideman. He plays regularly with Susie Burke, with Rodney Miller and Airdance and as a soloist and has recorded in all these configurations. 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.

Gorman and Surette have recorded a number of selections together, including a mandolin duet (The Green River Ramble) and a fiddle and bouzouki duet (Buffalo Hump) that was featured in Ken Burns PBS documentary, Lewis and Clark: Journey of the Corps of Discovery.

March Mandolin Fest 2005: tentative schedule

Saturday March 5

10:30 arrival, tuning, etc.
11:00 - 12:30 class sessions
12:30 - 2:00 lunch break
2:00 - 3:30 class sessions
4:00 - 5:30 loosely-organized jam sessions; one slow and
one less slow, as well as the option for "splinter groups" that can jam without supervision
5:30 - 7:30 dinner break
7:30 concert: 30 minute open stage, followed by concert sets from Skip and David

Sunday March 6

10:30 - 12:30 coffee, jam sessions, wrap-up, review, questions; also the possibility of individually scheduled private lessons.

Event sponsors include Weber Mandolins, Acoustic Outfitters Music Shop, Acoustic Disc, The Courtyard Marriott Hotel and Conference Center, and the Concord Community Music School.

To register for the festival, send a check for $75 made out to:

David Surette
16 Sewall Rd.
South Berwick ME, 03908

Checks will be held as a deposit until the day of the festival. For more information, call 207-384-8151. The Concord Community Music School is located at 23 Wall St. in downtown Concord, New Hampshire, just a few blocks off of Main St. Their telephone number is 603-228-1196.

Additional contact information: