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March Mandolin Festival 2019

MMF 2019 photo

Andrew Collins, Alan Epstein, David Surette, Flynn Cohen

The 17th Annual March Mandolin Festival

Will be held March 1-3, 2019
At the Concord Community Music School in Concord, New Hampshire.

The Mandolin Festival Workshops are now full- please contact the Registrar to be placed on our waiting list: (603) 228-1196 x105 or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. 

Mandolin Festival Concert - Sat. March 2: Click here for info & tickets

This year, the festival features Canadian newgrasser Andrew Collins, Irish and old-time from Flynn Cohen, bluegrass with Alan Epstein, and festival organizer and tune-monger 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 1, Friday night concert featuring the same performers over on the seacoast; this year the show will be returning to the Stone Church in Newmarket, one of the Seacoast’s premier venues for live roots music (this is a separate ticket from the Concord events).

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.
For more information, contact 207-384-8151, 603-228-1196 (Music School) or email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

Friday March 1 March Mandolin Festival concert

Featuring Andrew Collins, Flynn Cohen, Alan Epstein, and David Surette, with special guest Susie Burke
Stone Church Music Club, Zion’s Hill, Newmarket, NH 6:30pm
www.stonechurchrocks.com, 603-659-7700 or for more info.
This is a separate ticket from Saturday and Sunday events at the Concord Community Music School

Saturday March 2 Workshops

(all Saturday and Sunday events at the Concord Community Music School, Concord NH)

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 – Multi-mando ensemble playing: come work together on a piece or two arranged for several parts – Andrew

Recital Hall – Irish session - Flynn

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

Studio B (advanced) – Developing a Bluegrass Solo: starting with two bluegrass standards, we will learn the melody and look at ways to create a solo using licks and other bluegrass techniques – Alan

11:30-12:45 class

Community Room – Song accompaniment: We will look at playing fills, turnarounds and other bits behind a singer, as well as playing the role of primary accompanist on the mandolin – David

Recital Hall – Bluegrass session – Alan

Room 119 –Beginners class: we will cover the basic fundamentals, while working on both picking techniques and practicing techniques – Andrew

Studio B (advanced) – Developing versions of Irish trad tunes: learn some of the technical and interpretive elements to make tunes come alive on the mando - Flynn

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. Led by David.

2:45-4:00 class

Community Room – Improvisation concepts; we will look at two different approaches to improvising on the mandolin: playing over chord changes and melodic variation. These will be taught in terms of folk songs and fiddle tunes, but can be applied to many other styles of music – Flynn

Recital Hall – French and Italian tunes – David

Room 119 - Beginners: Right and Left hand Mandolin Vitamins - Right and Left hand exercises for improving your mandolin tone and technique – Alan

Studio B (advanced) – Advanced rhythm playing and accompaniment: the mandolin is an amazing rhythm instrument, and this workshop will cover a variety of different approaches – Andrew

4:00-5:00 – open jamming/socializing

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

Saturday March 2 March Mandolin Festival concert

Featuring Andrew Collins, Flynn Cohen, Alan Epstein, and 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 3 Workshops

10-11:15 class

Community Room – Mandolin Chords and Rhythm Workout - Mandolin chords, both basic and advanced, along with a rhythm workout exploring the bluegrass "chop" and shuffle beats - Alan

Recital Hall – Contemporary String Band session - Andrew

Room 119 – Beginners: Basic theory and scales, from a mando-centric perspective – Flynn

Studio B (advanced) – Tremolo: How to develop, practice, and use this essential mando technique - 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.

Andrew Collins has long been a pioneer of Canada’s acoustic music scene, whether as a solo artist or founding member of some of the country’s most recognized string bands. Composer, performer, educator, vocalist and accomplished multi-instrumentalist, he’s single-handedly redefined the mandolin while also focusing on the mandola, mandocello, guitar and fiddle across a tapestry of genres. Bluegrass, old-time, jazz, blues, swing, Celtic and classical music is all the better for his approach at blurring the lines. From the Foggy Hogtown Boys, Creaking Tree String Quartet, to his eponymous Trio, it’s his instrumental prowess and overall creativity which has distinguished this 7x Canadian Folk Music award-winner and Central Canada Bluegrass Association’s Mandolin Player of the Year, as it has thrust him into the spotlight as a Musical Force of Nature. From his solo efforts, ‘05s Little Widgets and ‘11s Cats and Dogs, to his ’07 co-release with Celtic mandolinist Brian Taheny, Collins continues to break fresh musical ground, fueled by an unflagging desire to defy expectations.

Alan Epstein started playing mandolin in college in the early 1970’s when his father bought him his first mandolin. Since that time, he has studied with some of the world’s top mandolin players and has played in bluegrass bands in Colorado, Pennsylvania, Michigan and New York. Alan was a contributing writer for the now defunct Mandolin Magazine and in 2002, while living in his hometown of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania; he founded and was the first director of the Pittsburgh Mandolin Orchestra. In 2017 Alan released two recordings highlighting his diverse style of mandolin playing, "Sunset on Meriden Hill" a mandolin and guitar instrumental recording with Jim Prendergast on guitar and "That Lonesome Bluegrass Sound" featuring Alan singing and playing mandolin on bluegrass standards backed by Bob Amos on guitar and harmony vocals. Alan now spends his time teaching mandolin and Wernick Method Bluegrass Jamming at home in Upstate New York and at camps nationwide. alanepsteinmusic.com

Flynn Cohen is a professional mandolin and acoustic guitar player with a long resume as both a performer and a teacher. He is a founding member of the nationally-touring American folk band Low Lily, and was a visiting lecturer in Music at both Keene State College and Bridgewater State University. Flynn has degrees in Music from Dartington College of Arts in Devon, England where he was a guitar student of John Renbourn, and Mills College in Oakland, California where he was a classical mandolin student of Paul Binkley (of the Modern Mandolin Quartet). He specializes in Irish traditional music and bluegrass mandolin styles, as well as new classical music for mandolins and guitars. He has performed at the Library of Congress and the Kennedy Center in Washington D.C. and at Lincoln Center and Carnegie Hall in New York.

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

Time & Location

Date 03-01-2019
Event End Date 03-03-2019
Cut off date 02-22-2019 8:00 am
Individual Price $150.00