December 13th Workshop with Brandon Vance

Brandon Vance

We are delighted to announce that Brandon Vance will be coming to NW Scottish Fiddlers in December!  Brandon has taught workshops in person for us, in 2018-19, but of course, this workshop will be on Zoom instead, starting at 2 PM (Pacific Time), on Sunday, December 13th (yes, this is the 2nd Sunday of the month, vs. our usual 3rd Sunday of the month).

And a few things about Brandon (to be brief is really difficult!):  he’s an internationally acclaimed Scottish fiddler and a classical violinist! He was the youngest fiddler to win the U.S. National Open Scottish Fiddling Championship, in 1999 and in 2001.  He has performed and taught internationally, for major events like the University of Limerick’s Irish World Academy, and was a featured soloist at the 2017 Scottish Royal National Mód in Fort William.

On the classical violin side of his life, he has a B.M. and M.M. in violin performance from the Cleveland Institute of Music. He is a member of Chamber Orchestra Northwest Sinfonietta, and a baroque ensemble, Pacific Musicworks.

To learn more about Brandon, visit his website!

Please note we’ll have a virtual tip jar for Brandon, as we aim to support musicians in this challenging time where live performances are rare.

Happy Thanksgiving!


Alasdair Fraser and Natalie Haas Workshop Registration Deadline


They’re coming to you this year, without any planes, trains, or automobiles!

Check under the Workshop tab for details on the workshop, and how to register!

We will focus on bringing Whidbey, and Camp Casey to you this year via Zoom, so we can all stay safe, and comfy in our own homes.

We also have opened a Zazzle store! Check that out under the Workshop tab, as well!

Happy Thanksgiving!

Ryan McKasson Leads November Workshop

Hang in there Scottish music fans- there’s a light at the end of the tunnel when you plan to come to our next  Zoom workshop, November 15th (2:00 pm), with Ryan McKasson!

What does Ryan have planned, you ask? Here’s Ryan’s answer to that question:  “Let’s look at the life, times, and tunes of William Marshall. This will be a partial history and biographical course just to give some context to William Marshall and then we’ll learn one or two of his timeless tunes. I teach tunes by ear, but will provide sheet music at the end of the class. All instruments are welcome, but I will be teaching from the perspective of the fiddle.”

There’s plenty of amazing things to tell you about Ryan – here are a few of the highlights, but trust us, you just need to come to this workshop. It will be… (in keeping with Thanksgiving)… delicious!

Here’s what the Boston Globe had to say about his playing: “The bow drives across the strings, thick and throaty, creating a pulsing sound that feels more of muscle than tendon…a compositional sophistication that is cinematic, transporting, and tantalizingly modern”.

Ryan has gained a reputation as a performer, composer, collaborator, and teacher. In 1996 he was the youngest to win the National Scottish Fiddle Championship. In 1997 he was awarded a Merit Scholarship for Viola Performance from the University of Southern California.  During his studies at USC, he co-founded the Syncopaths, and they released two albums together, Rough Around the Edges (2005), and Five Gears (2010).

After USC, Ryan co-found The McKasson’s, with his sister, Cali McKasson, and his wife, Brooke, and her brother, Matt Jerrell. They released the album Tall Tales in 2004, and Tripping Maggie in 2006.

Since that time, Ryan has been a member of a baroque/celtic/fusion combo known as Ensemble Galilei. He also joined forces with guitarist and singer Eric McDonald, releasing the album titled Harbour in 2017.. He has also recorded with Hanneke Cassel on three of her albums, and also with Alasdair Fraser and Natalie Haas on their Highlander’s Farewell CD in 2011.  On the Irish album, Hole in the Hedge, Ryan collaborated Isaac Alderson, Jackie Moran, and Jesse Langon.

Ryan has taught at fiddle camps around the US and New Zealand, most notably: Boston Harbor Scottish Fiddling School, Southern Hemisphere International School of Scottish Fiddle, Valley of the Moon Scottish Fiddling School, Festival of American Fiddle Tunes, Rocky Mountain Fiddle Camp, Swannanoa Gathering, and Lark In The Morning.

** If you are not currently on an email list from NW Scottish fiddlers, and you wish to attend this workshop, write to Marcia Thumma, and we’ll send you the link when before the workshop.

You can also check out Ryan’s website for more information!

See you there!



Mark Your Calendar for October 18 with Cayley Schmid

Cayley Schmid

In just a few short weeks, we host Cayley Schmid from Bellingham for a session that you’re sure to enjoy! October 18th, at 2 pm, we’ll gather on Zoom for an afternoon of tune learning, socializing, and just plain fun!  This will be an intermediate level workshop according to Cayley.

Cayley is a seasoned organizer of events ranging from the Bellingham Irish Festival, and Bellingham Folk Festival, to ceilidhs for the annual Alasdair Fraser and Natalie Haas Whidbey Island workshop, to name a few.  She also teaches, and shares tunes on a weekly format she created through Zoom. She will no doubt have delightful tunes to share for this workshop!

There is no charge for this workshop, but there will be a tip jar available through Paypal, for tipping Cayley.  As you know, the pandemic has made musicians’ usual opportunities for live gigs and concerts all but disappear, and our club is hoping to support them through the workshops,  and at the same time support musicians wanting an affordable way to learn more tunes and skills as well.   The club also appreciates donations as well!

A link will be sent out to everyone on Saturday, October 17th. Please do not share this link with anyone.  You can tell others to write to Marcia Thumma and request to be on the list.

As we did last month, if you are not receiving emails on this and other workshops in the past, contact Marcia Thumma by email, and request to be added to the list.

Hope to see you there!!!


September Workshop Coming Up!

It is our great pleasure to introduce Karen Steven, from Aberdeen Scotland, who’ll be teaching tunes for our first workshop of the year, on September 20, starting at 12 pm, noon, Pacific Time.  (Note the time change – not our usual 2 pm!)

She’s works regularly with fiddlers in Aberdeen since 2018, and is now delighted to reach across the globe and share her tunes and technique with the NW Scottish Fiddlers.  Karen Steven is an accomplished fiddler and step dancer. Her distinctive rhythmic style of playing is undoubtedly due to her training as a teacher of highland dancing which, in turn, kindled her interest in step dance.

In the past, Karen has taught alongside Alasdair Fraser at Sabhal Mor Ostaig, on the Isle of Skye. Karen writes many tunes, and has published a book entitled, “Karen Steven’s New Scottish Fiddle Tunes”, Ronnie Gibson, conductor and leader of the Aberdeen Strathspey and Reel Society says, “… the 50 demonstrate her mastery of traditional idiom and command as a composer of new inventive melody…featuring more than a few modern classics, would make a welcome addition to the bookshelf of any traditional musician or violinist.”

Take a look at a few tunes Karen sent along from her book-here’s a great march.  Here’s a reel, and here’s a jig, as well. These will not be the tunes she teaches at the workshop!  Karen will be offering a deal to get the workshop and the book at a serious bargain price!

Tunes will be taught by ear and will also include lots of bowing and left-hand ornamentation to compliment the melodies. Karen will explain why the techniques are used and how to do them. There will be plenty of opportunity for questions and further explanation, as needed.  For more information visit

We want to support musicians during this time when gigs are almost nonexistent, and we strongly encourage you to use the virtual tip jar that will be available through Paypal.  Karen has set up a special deal! Donate $25 for the workshop, and you’ll receive her book of tunes for free!

Write to if you are not on our mailing list, and wish to attend this workshop!

Annual Whidbey Island Workshop Goes Virtual

It probably comes as no surprise that this year’s workshop, with Alasdair Fraser and Natalie Haas, has become an on line event.  We want to make it a gathering of great proportions!

Plans are just beginning to come together, as we ask ourselves, “How can we make it Whidbey?”  We will say this much- January 15th-17th are still dates to mark on your calendar!  The good news is that the only travel plans you’ll need to make, will involve how to get to your computer, laptop, or phone!

If you have ideas or questions, please contact Marcia Thumma.

Workshop with Vienna Scheyer June 28th

Mark your calendars for Sunday, June 28th, at 1 pm PST, (4 pm ET) for an hour or more of fun tune learning with our fiddle club friend and expert fiddler, Vienna Scheyer. Vienna joined our club when she was in elementary school, and was an important part of the club throughout high school.

Here’s some links to Vienna playing a few tunes during the quarantine:  her composition, “Pancakes for Dinner”, a 9/8 jig she wrote “The Drum and Monkey“, Hornpipes.

She plans to share one of her fiddle compositions and a favorite of hers from the Glasgow pub scene. She admits it’s difficult to decide what her very favorite tune to share will be!

SHEET music will be available after the workshop for Vienna’s tunes.

There is no charge for this workshop, but a virtual tip jar will be available.

As for the rest of the summer, we’ll have to see what the virus has in mind, and how that works with county health department recommendations.  Normally, we don’t meet during the summer, but you never know what might happen!!

*** If you want to sign up, and you’re not currently on our email list, write to, and we’ll add your name.  A link will be sent to you on Saturday, June 27th that will take you to our Zoom mini workshop!   If you haven’t already installed Zoom, be sure to do so ahead of time.

Be watching for that email!

Whidbey Island Workshop 2021

We wish there was a crystal ball to guide us in the right direction for planning, however, that isn’t giving us many answers.

What we DO know:  We will do our best to have a workshop, either on-site, or virtual.  The weekend will be the same as always, MLK weekend, January 15-17.  We will feature Alasdair Fraser and Natalie Haas as our incredible instructors.  

We are watching and participating in workshops in many parts of the country to help us determine what will be the best fit for our Whidey workshop, come January. 

If you participate in a virtual workshop, and there was something you genuinely enjoyed, or benefited from, please don’t hesitate to share! Write to Marcia Thumma, workshop organizer. 

Thank you for your patience!

April’s Virtual Session

April’s meeting, or virtual session was quite successful and about 12 people were present at various times during the session.  It was great to get together, but we also missed hearing each other, and missed the element of spontaneity a bit!

We were delighted to have Vienna Scheyer join us. Vienna is a former member of the group, back from Scotland, where she was taking a semester to study fiddle and bagpipes.  It was also a great opportunity for members to try playing different instruments that they keep at home, and aren’t quite ready to “go public” as they say, with that instrument, but could try it out with no worries about being heard.

The future remains uncertain as to what we’ll be able to do for our May session.  We are hoping to find folks that would like to teach a few tunes!

Meanwhile, everyone, stay safe and healthy, and practice those “quarantunes”!!