Music Workshops

Penny Whistles: Irish, Old-Time & More! with Sheela Das & Jim Miller  
1 – 1:45pm, Room 105

Participants will learn about the penny whistle, learn playing basics, and try several traditional, Irish tunes together. Beginner/Intermediate.

Sheela Das plays the flute and penny whistle with NE Ohio bands—McGrail Quartet, Tullamore Trio, and Sheela & the Others. She is on the Ohio Arts Council roster.

Jim Miller plays Irish flute and penny whistle in several Irish sessions, old-time, and folk jams in NE Ohio.

Sheela Das


Guitar: Irish Backup in DADGAD Tuning – Nikki Custy  
1 – 1:45pm, Room 103

Nikki Custy

Nikki Custy will teach an introduction to DADGAD guitar tuning and how to use that to back Irish jigs and reels. She will talk about basic chords and strumming patterns – then use those to back Samantha McNamara’s tunes! No previous guitar experience necessary.

Nikki is a multi-instrumentalist who can be heard all around Cleveland. She has performed with many different bands including Custy & McNamara, Pitch the Peat, Lia Fail, Brace Yourself Brigid, and the Portersharks.


Upright Bass Intro & Techniques – Drew Bonnis  

2 – 2:45pm, Room 105

Andrew Bonnis

A rundown for playing the upright bass! Various techniques will be discussed as well as stylistic concepts. Good for beginners through advanced bass players, as well as non-bass players!

Andrew Bonnis has been a professional musician for almost 20 years. He has played upright bass in multiple styles and has toured nationally and internationally. He currently plays with Bonnis and the King as well as other groups in the Cleveland area.

Intermediate Old-Time Banjo – Mark Olitsky
2 – 2:45pm, Room 103

Mark Olitsky

In this banjo workshop Mark Olitsky will leave the agenda open to address the individual interests of those attending. Perhaps you would like to discuss the rhythms that are unique to old-time banjo or explore what the banjo’s role is when playing with a fiddle or string-band. Or maybe we can discuss different tunings or how to fill out a tune while playing the melody. Ear training vs. tablature? How to set up a banjo for the sound you prefer? What to look for in a banjo for Clawhammer playing?

Or we can just play and learn a few new banjo tunes. This workshop is for intermediate players but can be instructional for beginners as well.

Mark Olitsky has played clawhammer banjo for the last four decades and is a sought after performer and teacher. He has collaborated on recording projects and performed at workshops, showcases and music camps across the country. He was selected to represent old-time banjo in the “First Voice” film showcasing Ohio roots musicians, and in 2012 he won the Cuyahoga County Seth Rosenberg prize for the performing arts. Mark has also been interviewed and reviewed in national publications such as The Old-Time Herald, Banjo Newsletter, and Bluegrass Unlimited.

Twin Fiddling – Christine King with Janice Fields Pohl 
3 – 3:45pm, Room 105

Two fiddles play as one! This workshop will explore the world of twin fiddling by learning a new tune, both melody and harmony parts. Bring a friend! All ages and all levels are welcome.

Christine King

Christine King is an American fiddle player, specializing in Bluegrass and Texas Style fiddling. Playing since the age of 7, she grew up playing in contests all over Colorado, Wyoming, New Mexico and Texas. After discovering bluegrass music, she spent years touring with the modern bluegrass band The Railsplitters. She currently plays in the acoustic duo Bonnis and the King and is learning Old Time fiddling to broaden her musical horizons.

Janice Fields Pohl

Janice Fields Pohl is on the staff of Campus International School at Cleveland State University. The violinist has performed with Johnny Mathias, Trans-Siberian Orchestra, YoYo Ma, Babyface and many others.

Beginning Ukulele, with Mark Laskey
3 – 3:45pm, Room 103

If you’re new to the mighty ‘ukulele this workshop is for you!   We’ll go over the basics including scales, chords and strums along with an introduction to fingerpicking and tablature. We’ll also discuss some of the great players to inspire you on your journey on this wonderful instrument.

Mark Laskey was introduced to the ‘ukulele as a young boy by his family from Maui. This led to a lifelong love of Hawaiian music and the ‘ukulele. In addition to Hawaiian music, he especially enjoys adapting country blues, jug band and old-time song to the ‘ukulele.


Ragtime, Blues and Fancy Fiddle Tunes:

Intermediate Mandolin with John Reynolds, Jon Mosey & Jack DiAlesandro

4 – 4:45pm, Room 105

Crooked River Stompers – Jack DiAlesandro, Jon Mosey and John Reynolds

This workshop will demonstrate how to adapt a piano rag to the mandolin and how to approach a difficult fiddle tune. Also, techniques in backup rhythm playing in various styles including swing and blues will be demonstrated. Some discussion of ornamentation and improvisation techniques.

Jon Mosey and John Reynolds are seasoned mandolin players for the last 45-plus years. Jack DiAlesandro is a world class guitarist in numerous traditional styles and will provide backup for this workshop.

Intermediate/Advanced Ukulele: Memphis Minnie Tunes, with Mark Laskey 
4 – 4:45pm, Room 103 

Mark Laskey

When the Levee Breaks” Memphis Minnie for the Uke

Elizabeth “Kid” Douglas (aka Memphis Minnie) was a great guitarist and songwriter. For this workshop we’ll concentrate on one of her early classics from 1930 with her then husband, Kansas Joe McCoy, “When the Levee Breaks,” Participants are urged to check out their version on YouTube in order to get the most out of this lesson.

Mark Laskey was introduced to the joys of the ‘ukulele as a young boy by his family from Maui. This led to a lifelong love of Hawaiian music, the ‘ukulele, and adapting country blues, jug band and old time songs to the ‘ukulele.

The D.R.E.W. Project: Bringing Songwriters and Veterans Together –  Bethany Joy
5 – 5:45pm, Room 105 

Bethany Joy

Bethany Joy will explain her process for writing a song with a veteran in a 24-hour turnaround time and perform some of the songs.

Bethany Joy is a singer-songwriter from Cleveland, OH. She is recognized for her powerful, emotive vocals and captivating song writing style.

Watch video

Fiddle: Going from Classical to Folk – Samantha McNamara 
5 – 5:45pm, Room 103 

Transitioning from classical violin to traditional fiddle.

Samantha McNamara

Join Irish fiddle player Samantha McNamara for a workshop on how to start playing traditional fiddle music! This workshop will focus on the challenges that classical players face when trying traditional music for the first time. This workshop will be tailored to intermediate/advanced level classical players, beginners are welcome to attend but it might be challenging.




Lake Erie Folk Fest logoShore Cultural Centre
291 E. 222nd Street
Euclid, Ohio 44123


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