Ryan McKasson Workshop October 17th

We’ll start off the year with Ryan McKasson, our talented, and well-informed friend from Tacoma. The free workshop will be October 17, starting at 2 pm on Zoom.  If you are not receiving our workshop emails, write to m.thumma@mac.com to be put on the list, and receive your link to the workshop. Here’s Ryan’s website for further information.

Ryan has the following ideas for this year’s workshop, including a special look at this part of Scottish music history and the Gow Collection:

“I will teach a tune or two by Neil Gow and talk a bit about his history and the history of his volumes of tune collections, and also the history of printed music in Scotland in general, and its importance in Scottish music history. It will obviously be a brief look at all of this, but I think it will be a nice introductory look at this part of Scottish music history, and also get a good tune out of the deal too.”

This workshop is a part of our effort to support musicians, who have had most of their work and livelihood taken away during the pandemic.  We’ll provide a tip jar for Ryan for those able to do so. Tips are greatly appreciated when possible.

***The Zoom link will be sent out by email on Saturday, Oct. 16th. To prepare for this workshop, make sure that you have the latest version of Zoom on your computer, or whatever device you might be using. Here’s how.

Looking forward to seeing you this Sunday!

Exciting Workshops Set- Here’s the Who and When!

Northwest Scottish Fiddle club is looking forward to hosting some incredible on-line fiddle workshops starting in October, and running through January.  More will be added if needed, thanks to Covid.

We’ll start off the year with Ryan McKasson, our talented friend from Tacoma. The workshop will be October 17, starting at 2 pm.  More information on all the workshops, including how to sign up, etc. will be available soon.

Ryan McKasson – October 17th


Brandon Vance –  November 14th


Kevin Henderson just in time for the Holidays, December 12th.

And, January, of course will feature our weekend-long workshop running from January 14-16, 2022, with our amazing friends, Alasdair Fraser and Natalie Haas.

If you want to be on the mailing list for any of these workshops, write to m.thumma@mac.com, and we’ll take care of that for you!


Fall Calendar with Sessions and Workshops!

September’s in person session in Shoreline, was great. We dared the rain to show up- it did, eventually, but the tunes kept coming!

This year, we’re planning on offering monthly Zoom workshops, and opportunities to play in person!  The plans are coming together now.

For in-person sessions, Donna Varnau has stepped up and will host for anyone wanting to sign up!  Next session is October 10th, at 2-4:30 PM.

Since this will be an indoor session, space will be limited (10 people).  Donna is a terrific hostess and does a great job, so she’ll be keeping your safety in mind as she plots out seating possibilities.  Here’s a few other things you should know:

  • Everyone must be vaccinated
  • Please, don’t bring food or drink to share.  Just bring your own water.
  • These will be on a first come-first serve, reservations only basis.  Donna’s email is dmvarnau@aol.com.
  • She will have a waiting list, too, in the event that you don’t get immediately in.
  • If you need to cancel, please let Donna know so someone else may come in your place.

NWSF will also help anyone else that’s interested in hosting sessions – we’ll try to use the same approach, with RSVP’s required, etc.. If you’re interested in starting a session, write to Marcia Thumma, at m.thumma@mac.com. We’ll help you find more like-minded individuals!

September Session – Shoreline Park!

Yes!  Let’s take our music and socializing outside on Sunday, September 19th at the Saltwater Park in Shoreline.  The address is 2021 NW 190th Street, Shoreline.

We will have the facility from 2:30 – 8:00, and welcome fully vaccinated folks! And, if you still wish to wear a mask, that’s okay too. We’ll socially distance the best we can, but it may make it difficult to hear each other.  Bringing a face mask in case we scoot closer together in order to hear, will be a good idea.

We will not be able to use the charcoal grills due to the dry weather we’ve been experiencing.  ***And, as for food, to be on the safe side, bring food, snacks, beverages, etc. only for yourself.***  It’s not the way we normally operate, but, it will be better for all concerned at this time.

SO, let’s play lots and lots of tunes, and do some serious catching up socially, and musically!

Please RSVP in an email to m.thumma@mac.com – that way I can contact you if there’s a sudden change of plans and we move to another location, or have to cancel, etc.

Not 100 percent sure the photo below is the area we have reserved, but it should be fairly close to our spot.  Just watch for signs to be sure!

Can’t wait!

Troy MacGillivray – Last Workshop for the Year!

That’s right!! Sunday, June 20th will be our last free workshop for the  ’20-21 fiddle year!  Be sure to join us for some Cape Breton fiddling at 2 PM Pacific Time.

Troy grew up in Lanark, Nova Scotia, and by the time he was 13, he began teaching piano.  He has a BA with a major in music from St. Francis Xavier University, and that’s just the beginning.

He’s recorded several albums/CDs, including a solo album, a live recording CD, and more.  One of his more recent efforts was a collaboration with Canadian and US National Fiddle Champion Shane Cook, and features both fiddlers at the top of their game.

Troy usually makes many appearances in Washington each year, as he’s often teaching Cape Breton fiddling at Centrum’s annual Fiddle Tunes in July, and he regularly teaches at the annual Winter School, organized by the Celtic Arts Foundation of Mt. Vernon.  This year he’ll be an instructor at Alasdair Fraser’s annual Valley of the Moon fiddle camp, in late August.

A few videos worth checking out include Troy at Celtic Colors in 2010. First he plays piano, then starts fiddling just after 5 minutes into the video. Another one video from 2018 captures Troy playing with Scotty Leach and Dawn Beaton at Doug Plummer’s house concert in Seattle.

This workshop, like all of our workshops this year, is a part of our effort to support musicians, who have had most of their work and livelihood taken away during the pandemic.  We’ll provide a tip jar for Troy for those able to do so. Tips are greatly appreciated when possible.

See you there!



Laura Risk Visits NWSF May 16th!


Laura Risk, is ready to come to our next Zoom meeting. Don’t miss this one!

NW Scottish Fiddlers will host the incredible Laura Risk at 1 PM on Sunday, May 16th. It will be a free workshop, and will be recorded on Zoom.  Sheet music, along with recordings of the tunes, will be distributed after the workshop.

If you don’t know Laura, The Boston Globe describes her as a virtuoso fiddler, and that her fluency in fiddle styes is remarkable.  Filmmaker Ken Burns described her fiddling as “a revelation and achingly beautiful”, and Living Tradition hails her “powerful, percussive style… bursting with energy and passion”.  See Laura play Neil Gow’s Lament, on Youtube here.

Originally from California, now living in Montreal, Laura performs and teaches Scottish and Québécois fiddling internationally and has over a dozen albums to her credit. Her distinctive sound and compelling interpretations of traditional tunes are intensely personal yet grounded in meticulous archival and ethnographic research. She’s also been an instructor at Valley of the Moon for many years.  She has a PhD in Musicology from McGill University.

Laura is an Assistant Professor of Music and Culture in the Department of Arts, Culture and Media at the University of Toronto Scarborough, with a cross appointment in the Graduate Department of the Faculty of Music at the University of Toronto.

She collaborated with renowned Scottish Highland fiddler Aonghas Grant, fiddler Barbara McOwen and ethnomusicologist, Peggy Duesenberry on the Glengarry Collection: The Highland Fiddle Music of Aonghas Grant. The collection focuses on the core of Aonghas’ music: Highland fiddling, and its connections to pipe tunes and Gaelic songs.

For more information on Laura’s accomplishments in performance, or in academia, see her website.  You’ll also see a wide variety of CD’s, books, and more that Laura has worked on through the years, and now currently for sale.

As always, we offer these workshops as a way to support musicians such as Laura, who have lost work due to Covid.  We will have a tip jar for those folks who wish to show their appreciation to Laura.  The Zoom link for the workshop will be sent by email on May 15th-just two weeks away!

If you have questions, please write to Marcia Thumma.

See you in two weeks!!


David Greenberg Cape Breton Workshop April 18th!

David Greenberg, this month’s workshop instructor!

Travel to Cape Breton with us this month, as we learn some fantastic tunes with David Greenberg! The free two hour workshop begins at 2 pm (Pacific Time), Sunday, April 18.

If you go to David’s website, you will immediately see, just from the pictures, how deep David’s passion for music runs. He’s heavily involved in not only Cape Breton music, but also Baroque, and “other meshugass”, as he puts it! He has been offering workshops on line throughout the pandemic, and is looking forward to sharing with us for the afternoon.

David plans to share two tunes at a minimum, but is hoping for three!  Click here, to listen to recordings of the tunes he’ll share with us. They include: a strathspey by Fr JJ MacDonald, “ Whiskey in The Fuarag”, William Marshall’s reel, “Mrs. K Stewart of the Island of Java” and a delightful tune written by David himself, “Otter Play”.

The Zoom link for the workshop will be sent on Saturday, April 17th. Be sure to update your Zoom app if you haven’t done that recently!

We will create a virtual tip jar for David, as we continue to support musicians during these challenging times when so many of their usual opportunities have disappeared. We encourage participants to tip David in whatever amount is comfortable for them.

Questions may be sent to Marcia Thumma at m.thumma@mac.com.

Irish Session with Susan Burke!

One year ago this month, we cancelled our first meeting, as Covid took us by surprise.  Even though we’re still not meeting in person, it’s a great pleasure to welcome back our long-time friend, Susan Burke, who’s taught at some of our monthly workshops, lead Cape Breton sessions and our annual January workshop’s “early bird session” on Friday!

This time, it will be an Irish-oriented session, in honor of St. Patrick’s Day.  We’ll be zooming at our usual time of 2 PM (PT), on Sunday, March 21st.  A link will be sent to you on Saturday, March the 20th.

Bring your favorite Irish tunes, or even tunes that sound Irish will be great!  Our library actually has quite a few tunes that can be found in both the Scottish and Irish repertoire. See the list below!
Come even if you don’t think you know any Irish tunes- it will be your opportunity to learn some then.

No one will be put on the spot to lead a set, but it will be great if we have some volunteers. If you don’t want to lead a set or tune, then how about suggesting a tune or set you’d like to hear?

Here’s a link to Susan’s website.  The session is free, but we will have a tip jar set up for Susan.

There’s plenty of Irish/Scottish tunes that live in our library! Do some exploring- you’ll probably find more than this list- just go to: https://www.nwscottishfiddlers.org/music-sheet-music-mp3s-video-and-more/
The password is Calum –

  • Humours of Whiskey
  • Leslie’s March
  • Snowy Path
  • Soggy’s
  • Sandy M’Gaff
  • Mrs. McGhee
  • I Won’t Do the Work
  • Kerfuntin Jig
  • Jump at the Sun
  • Arthur Darley’s, aka “The Swedish”
  • Jig Runrig
  • Staten Island Hornpipe
  • Off She Goes
  • Garster’s Jig
  • That’s Right Too (by Liz Carroll)
  • Drowsy Maggie
  • Tam Lin
  • The Butterfly

Remember, this is just a place to begin!  Any tune, Scottish, Irish, Cape Breton, Shetland, is also welcome!!!

Let’s see you in green at this month’s meeting!

Concert Fundraiser for NW Scottish Fiddlers!


Alasdair Fraser and Natalie Haas will celebrate their first award winning album, “Fire and Grace” for their concert/fundraiser for NW Scottish Fiddle club on March 20th! This is the fourth in a series of six concerts, in which the duo are revisiting and updating part of their 20 years of recording and performing together!

When you buy a ticket to their concert, you support not only Alasdair and Natalie, but also support the NW Scottish Fiddlers, as a portion of their proceeds will go to us as well!  Please be sure that you purchase your tickets through this link, in order to assure NWSF will receive your donation: https://boxoffice.mandolin.com/products/alasdair-fraser-natalie-haas-3-20?utm_source=ef&utm_medium=aff&utm_campaign=72&oid=72&affid=363

Ticket prices range from $5 to $50, so you can choose the price that best suits you! That’s hard to beat!

You have a 48-hour viewing period,  so if 7:30 PM (Pacific Coast time) doesn’t work at all, we’ve got you covered!  You still have time to catch it later! There’s instructions and a link provided by Mandolin for that very purpose.

This concert will offer truly outstanding video and audio quality all thanks to Mandolin, a relatively new concert platform.  You won’t believe your eyes- you’ll feel like your really right there, in the venue! Another reason to catch the show!

Post-concert, you will be invited to chat with Alasdair and Natalie via Zoom!

Once you get your ticket through the link above, you should return to the website and create an account if you haven’t done so.  WHY?  It’s simple to do, and it will allow you to log in before the show starts, and then just one simple click will make the show available!  And yes, you can opt out of marketing emails if you want to!  Doing this will allow you to log in ahead of time and put some comments in the chat, or request a tune.  You can only do it with an account!

You’ll get an electronic ticket from Mandolin. There is a help section if you need some assistance- at https://help.mandolin.com/hc/en-us  You’ll see there’s one section devoted to “Box Office”. Click there.

See you at the post-concert Zoom event!

Lisa Ornstein Quebecois workshop in February!

Lisa Ornstein Lisa Ornstein

Join us in February to meet the incredible Lisa Ornstein!  Here’s your chance to try a little Quebecois fiddling, taught by one of the most highly regarded Quebecois teachers around!  The free 2 hour workshop will be held Sunday, February 21, at 2 PM (Pacific time).

Lisa hails from Olympia, Washington, and has been teaching classes for years. Here’s her bio from her website:

“Fiddle virtuoso Lisa Ornstein is an outstanding interpreter of the traditional music of French Canada and Appalachia, blending compelling and inventive playing with impeccable tune choice. Befriended by North Carolina fiddle legend Tommy Jarrell while she was in her teens, Lisa quickly became an accomplished fiddler in the Round Peak style. A musical friendship with Franco-American fiddler Louis Beaudoin set her on a path to Quebec in 1978. When La Bottine Souriante — Quebec’s internationally renowned traditional supergroup — invited her to join the band, Lisa’s projected six-month stay began to stretch, eventually lasting twelve years. While in Quebec, Lisa spent countless hours visiting with older musicians and playing in kitchens and dance halls. She also squeezed in a master’s in folklore on the life and music of master fiddler Louis “Pitou” Boudreault. She has taught, concertized, and toured extensively in North America and Europe with some of Quebec’s finest musicians, and recorded for both Smithsonian Folkways and the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation. Her music appears on a number of La Bottine’s albums, and on critically acclaimed CDs with Le Bruit Court Dans La Ville and bandmates André Marchand and Normand Miron.”

For more information on Lisa, visit her website.  Please remember, we aim to support musicians during this challenging time when supporting oneself is difficult, and live performances are rare.  A virtual tip jar for Lisa will be made available.

This will be a Zoom workshop, and the link will be sent by email, on Saturday, February 20th. Be sure to write to (Marcia Thumma) at:  m.thumma@mac.com to let us know you’re interested in attending, but not on our mailing list.