Workshops: The Mission


The plan’s still evolving! In the meantime, check out the Skunk Misery Ramblers, meeting every Sunday afternoon (almost.. there’s the occasional day off..)



Got a question? Give me a call at 203-668-3735

Charlie Shafer


Our mission is unlike just about any other concert series around. We’re educationally-based. We actually like to try to promote and help new, emerging artists. Just about everyone else shuns them, as they can’t guarantee an audience for a promoter. That’s why you see so many tribute bands or really old pop stars touring. They’re easy to promote. Bars and music halls can make money off them. They can’t off of someone like Harpeth Rising, a trio of three insanely talented graduates of Indiana University’s Jacobs Conservatory. But we were proud to put them up, and make the exact same amount as we would John Jorgenson. Zero. Most all of it goes to the artists, as most of them are flat broke after a tour. The rest goes to the workshops, ice cream, or food for the artists. It’s 100% volunteer.

Lauren Rioux teaching the chop. Fantastic workshop with Brittany Haas and Lauren Rioux.

Lauren Rioux teaching the chop. Fantastic workshop with Brittany Haas and Lauren Rioux.

The workshops are an absolutely perfect example of how music works. They complete a perfect circle which only music affords. Artists, some Grammy-winners, teach students and adults alike what makes their music special. A good bit of technical stuff, a little philosophy or history perhaps, and a whole lot of attitude. Then, the students and adults go off and either become performers themselves, or at least have enough skills to have a good time using their knowledge as a social “in” as they go off to college and beyond. At the very least, they can have some great memories knowing they met and learned from some really inspiring people.

Pascal and Emma of Vishten showing everyone how it's done on Prince Edward Island

Pascal and Emma of Vishten showing everyone how it’s done on Prince Edward Island

The program is run by people who play music themselves, who have had kids in youth orchestras, have done the competitive audition thing with their kids, dragged the family to fiddle competitions, and even had their own kids grow up to play in string bands long after college.

mandolins in a boat

If you’ve taken a couple of years of our FREE workshops, you’ll probably have had a more comprehensive exposure than any college alternative-strings program. Which might be why so many artists want to get on the workshop roster. It puts them in pretty elite company!! Pat workshop leaders have included folks like Ben Sollee, Christian Howes, Dana Leong, Brittany Haas, Paul Kowert, Hanneke Cassel, Liz and Yvonne Kane, Jay Ungar and Molly Mason, Ruth Ungar, Rushad Eggleston, Jordana Greenberg and Harpeth Rising, etc., etc., etc.