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Western & Swing Weekend Online 2021

Friday, June 11th – Sunday, June 13th

Friday night concert, classes and jamming on Saturday & Sunday in zoom, and plenty of opportunity to ask questions as you learn new tunes & techniques! All registrants have 1 year access to archived videos and resources.

Jay Ungar & Molly Mason host a fun and friendly online weekend of vintage Jazz, Swing, Western-Swing, Country, and everything in between.
Flexible pricing: $35-$100 Please self-select based on your ability to pay. All registrants will receive zoom links and 1 year access to archived video of the event. For registration assistance call 845-657-8333 x-25

Blues Master Repertoire

Jontavious Willis
Taking inspiration from the master, Robert Johnson. Learn to play one or two of his classic and famous recorded tunes.

Blues Origins, Masters & Technique

Jontavious Willis
Origins and flavors of the Blues with a focus on Delta, Piedmont, Texas, and Gospel. This session includes discussion and technique demonstrations.

Chord Progression Basics

Jeffrey Pepper Rodgers
How do you know which chords fit together in a song? This workshop is a primer for songwriters or anyone who wants to better understand what’s under the hood of chord progressions.

Dig In Deep! Be a Groove Merchant!

Pamela Means
‘Groove Merchant,’ Pamela Means, will lead the way in strumming through the doldrums. A chord progression need not be complex to rock! We will groove and groove deeply, breaking out of perceived limitations from the same old, same old. Learn methods, tips, and tricks to develop versatility and diversify your right hand approach (or left if you strum southpaw style!)

Django Reinhardt’s Guitar Technique

Stephane Wrembel
What is technique? Stephane will give a short description followed by answering your questions.

Doorway to Chord Melody and Inversions

Cyd Smith
Have you been longing to explore the upper reaches of your guitar neck, or marveling at how guitarists know where to find the right notes when leaving the safety of the lower frets? Little mini-chords on the top three strings of your guitar can ease your entry into this somewhat forbidding territory. We’ll learn three different 3-note shapes and use them to tie a melody and chords together. Fear not! These chords and their neighbor tones are a key to understanding the map of the guitar neck.

Easy Swing Repertoire

Cyd Smith
Are you just starting to explore swing music with a few movable chords in your pocket? We’ll learn a few easy songs in the Swing and Western Swing traditions. For singers, we’ll also talk about how to use movable chords to put these songs in keys that work for you. Charts and links to great versions of the songs will help you continue your exploration long after this session is over.

Exploring Dropped-D Tuning

Jeffrey Pepper Rodgers
Drop D tuning, where you tune the sixth string down to D, is a small change from standard tuning, but it opens up many new sounds in any style. Discover drop D chord voicings, grooves, and more.

Farewell Gathering/Jam

All Staff
Last concert featuring all staff! Last chance to sing, play, and dance along!

Finding Your Way On the Fretboard

Courtney Hartman
We’ll take what you already know about the basics of the fretboard and explore new patterns that will help you easily find notes and melodies up and down the guitar neck.

Flat-Picking Fiddle Tunes

Courtney Hartman
We’ll take a quick look at flat-picking and right hand techniques, exploring what it means to use our weight instead of muscle. Then we’ll learn a fiddle tune together and apply those techniques.

Harmony & Rhythm in Django Reinhardt’s Playing

Stephane Wrembel
What is Harmony and Rhythm? Stephane explains and your questions answered.

I Don’t Need Nobody! Be Your Own One-Man Band

Pamela Means
Tap into your inner one-man band. Grab a few guitar ideas to support your solo self rhythmically, dynamically, and melodically with confidence and ease. Where’s the band? I am the band.

Improvisation: From Your Hand Onto the Guitar

Courtney Hartman
In this class, Courtney will guide you through a listening process she uses to help disassemble barriers that come between the melodies you hear in your head and your ability to fluidly express them on your guitar.

Jazz Hands: Class Up Your Chords

Pamela Means
No jazz appreciation required! Borrow from the best of the genre with extended chords and solid (non-jazz) ideas of how and when to use them. One tiny extra note can class up any chord progression!

Joni Mitchell “Ladies of the Canyon” in C Variant Tuning

Storey Littleton
Continuing our dive into Joni’s open tuning, we will learn a song in a variant of open C tunings. Please tune in advance to open C Major Add 9, 11 (C-G-D-F-C-E) low to high, and bring a capo. We will be learning the song “Ladies Of the Canyon”. This song is fingerpicked, and played with a capo on the second fret! Please note: strings that are not especially new can break easily when de-tuning or re-tuning, especially the unwound high strings. Be sure to have spares handy! For a great review of Joni’s tunings, check out Jeffrey Pepper Rodgers’ article: https://acousticguitar.com/the-guitar-tuning-odyssey-of-joni-mitchell/

Joni Mitchell’s “Both Sides Now” in Open D Tuning

Storey Littleton
By the late 90s, Joni Mitchell had composed in 51 different guitar tunings.* Please tune in advance to open D (D-A-D-F#-A-D) low to high, and bring a capo. We will be learning “Both Sides Now”. This song is strummed, so bring a pick if you prefer to play with one. It is also played with a capo on the 4th fret. Please note: strings that are not especially new can break easily when de-tuning or re-tuning, especially the unwound high strings. Be sure to have spares handy! *https://acousticguitar.com/the-guitar-tuning-odyssey-of-joni-mitchell/

Opening Concert!

All Staff
Enjoy an inspiring sampling of what each person will be teaching!

Staff & Camper Sing and Play-along Tune Sharing

Cyd Smith, Jeffrey Pepper Rodgers, Peter Davis, Pamela Means, Courtney Hartman
Sing and play along with staff and campers!

Texas Swing Chords

Molly Mason with Jay Ungar
Learn passing chords that fit between the regular I, IV, and V chords to add just the right sound for Texas Fiddle tunes as well as Western, Swing, Blues, and even Country Songs!

Two Swing Chord Shapes That Will Change Your Life

Cyd Smith
Learn two, 3-note, movable, guitar chord shapes and see how you can move them to get different chords—like bar chords, except much easier on your hand! Then, we’ll put these shapes to work in a few songs to see what they can do in action. This is a class for swing beginners. If you’re new to these shapes and to swing, this class is a comfortable introduction that welcomes the brave beginner guitarist and reaffirms foundational technique for more advanced players.


Jay Ungar & Molly Mason are masters of music and storytelling who generously share their lives and their music with audiences. There are so many moments and strands to savor in the course of an evening of their music.

Jay’s fiddling is brimming with playfulness, drama, soulfulness and technical verve, as he explores the many musical styles and idioms that he has internalized and made his own. Molly’s total mastery and inventiveness on piano and guitar is always spot-on, as she supports the tunes and follows the flow of the melody. Her rich and expressive vocals along with the resonant strains of Jay’s violin, reveal the deep emotions that flow in the duos veins.

Millions were entranced by the music they did for Ken Burns’ PBS documentary The Civil War. Their performance of the series’ signature tune, Jay’s haunting composition, Ashokan Farewell, earned the couple international acclaim. The soundtrack won a Grammy and Ashokan Farewell was nominated for an Emmy.

This simple, but powerful melody was originally inspired by the week-long Ashokan Music & Dance Camps that Jay & Molly run for adults and families at The Ashokan Center in the Catskill Mountains. People attend the camps to become better fiddlers, guitarists, mandolin players, percussionists, dancers, dance callers and instructors—and in doing so they become links in the chain that helps pass our folk heritage from the people who came before us, to those who will follow.



Barry and Holly Tashian are a country/bluegrass duo from Nashville. They have made numerous appearances on the Grand Ol’ Opry, a Prairie Home Companion and other international radio and television programs.

Barry spent 10 years performing and recording with country star Emmylou Harris, as her duet partner and guitar player. He also recorded an album with legendary folk rock artist, Gram Parsons in 1971. In 1966, Barry’s rock band from Boston, The Remains, toured throughout America as the opening act for the Beatles.

Kenny Rogers, Solomon Burke, Ty England, Daniel O’Donnell and others, have recorded the Tashians’ songs. In addition, Barry and Holly have recorded with Emmylou Harris, Tom Paxton, Nancy Griffith and Iris DeMent.


Matt Glaser is the Artistic Director of the American Roots Music Program at the Berklee College of Music, and was formerly chairman of the String Department at Berklee for 28 years. Recently, The American String Teachers Association (ASTA) awarded him the prestigious Artist Teacher Award at its annual convention. Glaser is the first non-classical string teacher to win the award, which is considered the ASTA’s highest honor. Past recipients include Joseph Szigeti, Pablo Casals, Isaac Stern, Yehudi Menuhin, Dorothy DeLay, and Ivan Galamian. He has performed widely in a variety of idioms ranging from jazz to bluegrass to early music, and has published 12 books on contemporary violin styles including Jazz Violin, co-authored with the late Stephane Grappelli. He has written for many newspapers and music magazines including the Village Voice, Strings, and Acoustic Musician. He has performed with Stephane Grappelli, David Grisman, Lee Konitz, Bob Dylan, J Geils, Leo Kottke, Joe Lovano, Charlie Haden, Michael Brecker, Kenny Werner, Alison Krauss, Bela Fleck, the Waverly Consort, Fiddle Fever, and most recently with Wayfaring Strangers–a band that fuses jazz and folk music. The Boston Herald called him “possibly America’s most versatile violinist.” Matt served on the board of advisors of the Ken Burns’ Jazz documentary, and appears in the film as a talking head. Matt serves on the board of directors of Chamber Music America and the American String Teachers Association. He has performed at the White House, and at Carnegie Hall with Yo-Yo Ma and Mark O’Connor as part of Stephane Grappelli’s 80th birthday concert. He has taught at the Mark O’Connor Fiddle Camp, University of Miami, American String Teacher Association conferences, International Association of Jazz Educator conferences, and many others.


Brian Lawton is a New York City-based dancer, instructor, choreographer, and director. He has an eclectic background in ballet, jazz, and modern as well as Latin and Ballroom dances with a speciality in the vernacular jazz dances of the 1920’s-1940’s. Brian has performed in Shakespeare in the Park’s Comedy of Errors, with the Red Hot Chili Peppers at Madison Square Garden and in their recent music video “Go Robot”, and Swing! at Gateway Playhouse. He has traveled around the world with his wife, Samantha Lawton (Samantha and Brian), teaching vernacular jazz, Charleston, and Lindy Hop. He was the Assistant Director/Choreographer of the new musical Part of the Plan (TPAC) as well as Assistant Director of Distant Thunder (A.R.T. /New York Theaters) both alongside Lynne Taylor-Corbett, Brian is currently the Choreographer and Resident Director of the A Charlie Brown Christmas National Tour.


Tom Mitchell’s guitar playing is rooted in the styles of the 1920’s and 30’s jazz, western swing, country blues and old-time music. Ten years of playing with the legendary Dan Hicks & His Hot Licks took him around the world and led to the recording of two acclaimed CD’s including “Beatin’ the Heat” which featured guest appearances by Bette Midler, Ricki Lee Jones, Tom Waits, Elvis Costello, and Brian Setzer. His work with Ann Savoy and her Sleepless Knights resulted in two critically acclaimed CD’s and a movie soundtrack spot with producer credits for the Sony picture “All the Kings Men”. He makes his home in Baltimore where he can be seen playing with some great players and bands including The Blue Rhythm Boys and The Redwine Jazz Trio.


Emily was raised playing and singing Louvin Brothers and Stanley Brothers songs with her parents while they traveled the world as news editors. She is now a lead singer and twin fiddler in the country band, the Sweetback Sisters, performs regularly with her husband Jesse Milnes, as well as musical director of the Davis & Elkins College Appalachian Ensemble.


Tim Kliphuis (Netherlands) is one of the best-known improvising violinists in the world. His concert tours have taken him to America, Russia, Europe, Brazil, the UK and South Africa. He fuses the gypsy jazz of Stéphane Grappelli and Django Reinhardt with classical, folk and contemporary music.
Tim has been awarded the Scottish Jazz Award and Polish Swing Jazz award. His pieces have been commissioned by orchestras such as Cape Town Philharmonic, Tallinn Chamber, Netherlands Chamber and The Hague Philharmonic. His most recent release, The Five Elements, raises questions about the way we treat our planet and offers a hopeful vision for the future.
Kliphuis is Professor of Improvisation at the Conservatoire of Amsterdam; his books on Gypsy Jazz Violin are Mel Bay best-sellers and he hosts the international Grappelli-Django Camp in Holland every year.


Junior Daugherty is a world renowned fiddler, guitar player and songwriter. He has numerous fiddle contest wins to his credit including the New Mexico State Fiddling Championship and the Southwest Regional Fiddle Championship, and has been inducted into both the New Mexico Fiddler’s Hall of Fame and the Arizona Fiddler’s Hall of Fame. Over the last sixty-five years Daugherty has performed around the world at venues ranging from festivals to fiddle contests and music camps, and Cowboy poetry events to Carnegie Hall. Now in his early 90s, Junior has taught, performed and hosted jam sessions at Western & Swing Week since the early eighties. His family band includes his daughter Tammi Stuart and grandson Sean Pyrtle.


Laurel Massé was an original member of the Manhattan Transfer and, although she has not became that famous in the years since, she has survived and is still a fine jazz singer. . She was working as a waitress in Manhattan when she met Tim Hauser, who was working as a cabdriver at the time. Together with Hauser, Janis Siegel, and Alan Paul, she started the Manhattan Transfer in 1972. Massé was a very versatile singer so she enjoyed the Manhattan Transfer’s wide repertoire, which ranged from swing to rock, pop to bebop.

That all ended in 1979 when she was involved in a near-fatal car accident. Massé was forced to drop out of the Manhattan Transfer and spend two years recuperating. She finally made a full comeback and recorded three excellent jazz albums for the Pausa label in the mid-’80s. Massé re-emerged in the mid-’90s, singing spiritual music that included Celtic songs and classical music, often performed a cappella. After recording Feather & Bone in 2000, which reflected this music, she returned to jazz. Laurel Massé has hosted a monthly jazz radio show on WAMC, performs occasionally, and primarily works as an educator.


Vinnie Martucci has had an exciting and diverse career as a performer, composer, arranger, producer, and educator. He has toured extensively on the international stage as co-leader of the Jazz Fusion Quartet “The Dolphins” with Dan Brubeck, as arranger, accompanist for Laurel Masse (Manhattan Transfer), arranger and performer for Blues artist Rory Block. He has recorded and toured with Graham Parker, Livingston Taylor, and others. He co-composed the off-broadway play “Clue, The Musical” as well as numerous cable network TV themes for Lifetime, the Travel Channel, CNN and underscores for daytime TV dramas “As the World Turns”, Guiding Light”. As a producer and recording engineer, he has worked with composer Baikida Carroll on recordings and productions for several theatrical and television projects, most notably the Tony award winning play “Having Our Say”. He has also given clinics in Jazz and improvisation in Europe, South America, as well as the Central Conservatory in Beijing, China. Currently, Vinnie is the chair of the music department at SUNY, New Paltz, where he also teaches jazz studies and recording technology courses.


Kevin Wimmer has been playing fidle since the tender age of three. He performed frequently with Dewey Balfa and learned the essence of the tradition directly from him. Over the years he has performed most notably all over the globe with Preston Frank and the blues and swing inspired Red Stick Ramblers. Kevin brings a Creole influence to the Mamou Playboys, as exhibited by his unique fiddle repertoire and his powerful vocals.


Of the scores of musicians billed as “versatile,” Peter Davis may be most deserving of the accolade. Proficient on an astonishing variety of instruments, including clarinet, alto sax, 5-string & tenor banjo, piano, guitar, mandolin and whistle, Peter boasts an intuitive approach to all manner of traditional folk, blues, vintage pop and jazz forms. He currently plays with at least seven bands (including Lindy Hop Heaven, The Jay Ungar and Molly Mason Band and the Clayfoot Strutters) doing all kinds of gigs, from the ridiculous to the sublime, including concerts, festivals, schools, racetracks, weddings and private parties of all kinds.


Larry Baione is chair of the Berklee College of Music Guitar Department. Baione has been a faculty member since 1974 and has been chair since 1990. He has studied with Lenzy Wallace, Mick Goodrick, Bill Harris, William Leavitt, Bucky Pizzarelli and Jim Hall. He received his Bachelors in Music from Berklee and his Masters in Music from New England Conservatory. When attending Berklee, he received the DownBeat Hall of Fame Scholarship award.

After graduating Berklee, Larry was principal guitarist in the Army Band, stationed in Washington D.C. He performed in the White House and throughout the United States with the Army Blues. In 1996, Baione toured South America for the state department as one of the inaugural Jazz Amabassadors representing the unique American art form.

Larry is author of A Modern Method for Guitar Scales and the Berklee Practice Method for Guitar. He performs in numerous jazz, concert, and recording ensembles, settings that range from solo guitar to big band. He continues to perform and give clinics throughout the world. His recent recording Playing Time consists of original compositions and standards in a trio setting.


“Born and still based in Chicago, the mandolin found Don as he grew up “out in the woods” in the nearly-rural suburb of Wauconda, IL. A desire to make music with his banjo and guitar playing brother led Don to appropriate a mandolin that had been given to him. Things came into focus both mandolin and life-wise when his parents sent Don to study with Jethro Burns, famous comedian (Homer and Jethro)and the greatest mandolinist of his time. From the very first lesson, Burns was more than a teacher. He was role model, hero, mentor, and friend, and Stiernberg was hooked and hooked bad on the mandolin.His earliest professional experience was in a bluegrass band with his brother (The Morgan Bros.)and a bit later in The Jethro Burns Quartet.

Currently Don is regarded as a leading exponent of jazz mandolin style, and a respected teacher. The most recent of his nine recording projects is “Good Numbers”, a collection of standards and jazz tunes played by his working band, The Don Stiernberg Trio. The trio has performed coast to coast as well as in Germany and Brazil. Don also conveys his love of the mandolin and music at numerous camps and festivals.”


The Ashokan Center builds community through shared experiences in nature, history, music and art. For 40 years we have hosted traditional Music & Dance Camps at our 385 nature preserve. In 2020 we learned how to host them online!

“Joyous and talented teachers. Feeling not only warmly welcomed, but also individually included interactively” – Amy

“The teachers were so reachable and personable. I really enjoyed the whole camp and it was so well run. I hope they will continue to have virtual camps in the future since we live so far away.” – Timothy

“Wonderfull and inspiring teachers. I appreciate that every single teacher I had came fully prepared and then some. Especially given the challenges of technology, this was extraordinary. Huge kudos to the behind -the- scenes worker bees. Thank you Ashokan folks, you will definitely see me and mine again some day.” – Donna

Come join the Ashokan family to celebrate, learn, connect, deepen your music, make new friends, and brighten your day. Our events are open to all folks, all ages and all orientations. 

Join our email list to learn about more upcoming online offerings.

Connect on Facebook with your fellow campers before, during, and after!



EMAIL events@ashokancenter.org 
CALL 845-657-8333 x25

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