23 Wall Street, Concord, NH 03301
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March Mandolin Festival 2020

mando 2020 artists

The 18th Annual March Mandolin Festival

Featuring Radim Zenkl, Maddie Witler, Steve Roy, and David Surette with special guest Susie Burke

This year's March Mandolin Festival will be held March 6-8, 2020 at the Concord Community Music School in Concord, New Hampshire. This year, the festival features Radim Zenkl, Maddie Witler, Steve Roy, and David Surette with special guest vocalist Susie Burke. This two-day event offers group lessons and workshops on a variety of topics, jam sessions, and an evening concert. As in past years, the festival will present a March 6, Friday night concert featuring the same performers over on the seacoast; this year the show will be held at The Dance Hall in Kittery ME, one of the Seacoast’s premier venues for live roots music (this is a separate ticket from the Concord events).

REGISTER: To register for the festival workshops on March 7-8, click on the button at the top that says “register now (individual)”. Or, you can send a check for $150 made out to:

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

Please include your address, phone number and email address with any form of payment!

LODGING: 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.

CONCERTSFeaturing Radim Zenkl, Maddie Witler, Steve Roy, David Surette with special guest Susie Burke

NOTE: Both concerts are separate tickets from the Saturday and Sunday workshops at Concord Community Music School

PARTICIPATORY WORKSHOPS and JAMS at Concord Community Music School:

  • SATURDAY, March 7, 10:00am - 5:00pm

  • SUNDAY, March 8, 10:00am - 1:00pm

. . . . . . .

Workshop Room schedule

  • Community Room - participatory teaching workshops: intermediate level
  • Recital Hall – participatory sessions: intermediate level
  • Room 119 - Beginner's class
  • Studio B - participatory teaching workshops: advanced level

Max and Lauri of Girouard Mandolins will have instruments in the Community Room and will be available to assist anyone with care/repair issues on Saturday.

10:00-11:15 class

Community Room - Blues Mandolin
Explore the variety of typical blues forms and chord progressions from simple to more advanced, 'good chord voicings', several different grooves and strumming patterns, most commonly used scales, step by step system on how to practice an improvisation while including the typical sounds and aspects of the 'blues vocabulary', phrasing and ornaments. You will be ready to join a blues jam session even during this class! – Radim

Recital Hall – Bluegrass session - Maddie

Room 119 – Beginner's class: easy open-string chords and strums - David

Studio B (advanced) – Improvisation concepts; we will look at several different approaches to improvising on the mandolin, including melodic, harmonic, and rhythmic-based improv. These will be taught in terms of a variety of songs and fiddle tunes, but can be applied to many other styles of music as well – Steve

11:30-12:45 class

Community Room – Rhythms and grooves. We will look at a number of different time signatures and rhythmic feels, with a special emphasis on using them as an accompanist – David

Recital Hall – Old-time session – Steve

Room 119 –Beginners class: mandolin setup, flatpicking technique overview featuring four basic styles of right-hand picking, two left-hand positions, several chord forms organized into systems, various strumming patterns, two kinds of tremolo, crosspicking, tools for developing and maintaining speed, basic scales, and arpeggios. Specific routines for practicing these different techniques and skills – Radim

Studio B (advanced) – Right-Hand Technique 2: We’ll go through a series of right-hand exercises that encompass nearly every possible combination of string crossings on the mandolin. These exercises can help with developing accuracy, speed, and fluidity in your playing - Maddie

12:45-1:45 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 NH is not a problem at all. As in the past, we will provide an on-site sandwich purchase option. I will also have coffee/tea available 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. And in the past folks have brought goodies to share, so feel free! 

2:00-2:30 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. There are sound files and pdfs available for download at https://davidsurette.bandcamp.com/  Look for Group Tunes MMF 2020; when you download the album, both the sound files and the music/tab pdfs will be part of your download. This year's tunes are Denver Belle (a bluegrass/old-time classic), Eliz Iza (a traditional Celtic air from Brittany, France with an interesting arrangement), Boys of Malin (an Irish session reel) and The Mist-Covered Mountains (a moody Irish jig in Gm, the second-saddest of all keys!).

2:45-4:00 class

Community Room – Playing in an ensemble: We’ll discuss the role of the mandolin in a group, whether it's a jam or a band.  We'll explore how the mandolin fits into different ensembles and different rhythmic feels. We’ll explore different styles of accompaniment and discuss when to use them. Much of this will be from a bluegrass perspective but we can also discuss these ideas in a broader context - Maddie

Recital Hall – Celtic session – David

Room 119 – Beginners: the basics of bluegrass, the essentials for chords and melodic playing  – Steve

Studio B (advanced) – Improvising over standard swing chord progressions and playing typical backup rhythms. The topics will include: scales and arpeggios covering the whole fretboard, step by step method for practicing an improvisation, basic and advanced chord forms organized into 'good voicings', strumming patterns and learning a couple of standard swing tunes  – Radim


4:00-5:00 – open jamming/socializing

5:00-7:30 dinner break (See lunch break) 

Saturday, March 7 March Mandolin Festival concert

Featuring Radim Zenkl, Maddie Witler, Steve Roy, David Surette with special guest Susie Burke
Admission included for Festival participants; general admission tickets for others available through the Music School (www.ccmusicschool.org or 603-228-1196) 7:30 pm

Sunday, March 8 Workshops

10-11:15 class

Community Room – Exploring chords: How Chords are built on the mandolin, and how they all fit together, as well as some interesting ways to apply them - Steve

Recital Hall – Eastern European session: Guided session of tunes and songs of Eastern European countries. Each piece will be thoroughly explained and described prior to playing. We will experience some minor keys, several modes and a few odd time rhythms, such as 5/4, 7/8, and 11/16.  - Radim

Room 119 – Beginners: Right-Hand Technique 1: In this class we’ll get into the mechanics and basics of pick technique through discussion of what makes technique “good”, analyzing the technique of great players, and by applying what we learn on our instruments – Maddie

Studio B (advanced) – Italian repertoire: learn a beautiful three-part Italian mazurka from the mandolin’s golden era (late 19th/early 20th c.) - David 

Roundtable 11:30-1:00

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.

2020 Performer/teachers

David Surette is highly regarded throughout New England and beyond for his work on the mandolin, guitar (both flatpick and fingerstyle), and bouzouki; Sing Out Magazine wrote that "Surette's playing is always inventive, and sets a new standard for traditional instrumentalists." As part of a duo with his wife, singer Susie Burke, they have performed regularly together for many years (30 years in 2018!), recording several albums and building a reputation as one of New England’s top folk duos. Surette was a founding member of the Airdance band with fiddler Rodney Miller, with whom he recorded four albums and toured nationally. He has also released five critically-acclaimed solo CDs; his most recent release, Waiting For The Sun, is a duo recording with Susie. He is also an experienced teacher, and coordinates folk music programming and teaches regularly at the Concord Community Music School, as well as at numerous summer music camps and festivals. www.BurkeSurette.com

Maddie Witler is a mandolin player and vocalist in the Boston-based Lonely Heartstring Band, which just released its third album, Smoke & Ashes. Maddie hails originally from La Crescenta, California. She picked up the mandolin when she was 14 and fell in love with the instrument, and bluegrass music. She’s studied with mandolinist Evan Marshall, with whom she worked her way through a lot of Bach, jazz, bluegrass, and other styles. Maddie attended the Berklee College of Music from 2010–2014, studying with musical heroes like John McGann, Joe Walsh, Julian Lage, Mike Compton, and Andy Statman. Maddie met her bandmates from the Lonely Heartstring Band while at Berklee and has been a member since it began in 2012.

Radim Zenkl grew up in Ostrava, Czechoslovakia where he studied classical guitar, mandolin and composing. Between 1984 and 1989, he performed as a guest soloist with the Janacek Philharmonic Symphony and the State Opera Orchestra of Ostrava. Zenkl moved to the USA in 1989 and won the Winfield Mandolin Championship in 1992. He has invented a masterful technique, the ‘Zenkl style,’ in which a single mandolin sounds like two. Besides collaborating with the top musicians of the acoustic music scene, Zenkl has created an extensive repertoire for solo mandolin and mandola. He has recorded several solo CDs (Acoustic Disc, Shanachie and Ventana) and has appeared on more than sixty other recordings. Zenkl’s worldwide performing and teaching credentials include guest appearances at prestigious music institutions such as the Berklee College of Music in Boston and the Sibelius Academy in Helsinki, Finland. He is also a member of the Modern Mandolin Quartet and the Ger Mandolin Orchestra, led by Mike Marshall. www.zenkl.com

Steve Roy is a multi-instrumentalist from Eliot, Maine, who plays and teaches mandolin, as well as upright bass, fiddle, guitar, and ukulele. He is fluent in a vast array of musical styles, including bluegrass, jazz, folk, rock, jam, country, old-time, heavy metal, etc. As a sideman, he has toured nationally and internationally with acts such as Laurie Lewis and Tom Rozum, John Reischman and the Taterbugs, Molly Tuttle, Joe K. Walsh, Frank Solivan, and Dirty Kitchen, Joy Kills Sorrow, Hit and Run Bluegrass, and many others. Locally, he is well known for his work with groups such as Jazzputin and the Jug Skunks, Steve and Dave Play Dead, Erica Brown and the Bluegrass Connection, The Stowaways, High Range, The Mill City Ramblers, Spinal Tarp, and countless others. He is currently a faculty member at 317 Main, PMAC in Portsmouth NH, and at music camps around the country. Steve is also an archaeologist with field experience in Central America and New England.

Time & Location

Date 03-06-2020
Event End Date 03-08-2020
Cut off date 03-04-2020 8:00 am
Individual Price $150.00
Online registration is no longer available. To register, please call 603-228-1196.