December Session Reminder-

Yes!  There’ll be one more session before the year closes out! Let’s make it a great one! We’ll be gathering on December 5th, at 2-4:30 PM, at the home of Donna Varnau.  Write to: – Don’t delay because spaces are limited.

You must be fully vaccinated and wear a mask to participate.  You’ll have so much fun playing tunes, you won’t notice you even have a mask on 😉

**** See below to learn about KEVIN HENDERSON’s workshop on December 12!!

December Happenings

Kevin Henderson

Hard to believe we’re winding down the year already!  But what a great way to celebrate– come to Kevin Henderson’s Shetland fiddling workshop on Sunday, December 12th! It’s free and it all starts at 11:30 PST- a bit earlier than normal, so don’t forget!  Write to Marcia Thumma to join us, if you’re not already on our mailing list- you’ll need that Zoom link!

Kevin is a fiddler who draws on the rich fiddle music tradition of his native Shetland. His experience includes playing with Boys of the Lough, Fiddler’s Bid, Session A9, and Nordic Fiddlers Bloc. All this has lead to an expressive and adventurous individual style of playing.

He was brought up in the Shetland school system, which had a heavy concentration on fiddle music, and he took lessons with the legendary Willie Hunter.

More recently, he’s moved to Norway and put his energy into Nordic Fiddlers Bloc, which features three very distinct musical styles from Norway, Sweden and Shetland. He’s also interested in the challenging music of Scott Skinner and Canadian tunes he studied in his earlier years.

When he’s not performing or touring, he teaches at a variety of fiddle camps, including Alasdair Frasier’s Sierra and Valley of the Moon fiddle camps.

Want to learn more about Kevin? Here’s a great video, as part of the June Fiddle Fest, organized by Ed Pearlman.  And, here is Kevin’s website and last but not least, he’s on Facebook here.

So, bring your favorite treats, hot cocoa, peppermint sticks, Scottish shortbread, what have you,  and see you then!


Brandon Vance Workshop November 14

We are delighted to announce that Brandon Vance will be coming back again to NW Scottish Fiddlers in November! Brandon has taught workshops in person for us, as well as last year on Zoom. This workshop also be on Zoom will start at 2 PM (Pacific Time), on Sunday, November 14th (yep, the 2nd Sunday of the month, vs. our usual 3rd Sunday of the month).

***UPDATE:  This just in!  In this workshop, Brandon will be covering various types of “shuffles” and bowing.  He’ll discuss how they apply to jigs, reels, and even strathspeys! There will also be a 3 page handout!! And of course, sheet music or dots, as we like to say, for tunes that are covered or introduced.***

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 Mod 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.

Here’s a wonderful video showing Brandon’s versatility and talent. Brandon starts with playing baroque Scottish music in this competition known as the  2021 Scottish Performing Arts Classic. (Be sure to watch the entire video- in the second set and beyond, he’s on fiddle!) Spoiler alert: he won the competition!

To learn more about Brandon, visit his website!

This will be a free workshop. Please note we’ll have a virtual tip jar for Brandon, as we continue to support musicians in this challenging time where live performances are just beginning to come back. We will also have sheet music after the workshop, audio and video recordings.

Please write to Marcia Thumma if you suspect that you’re not on our mailing list, and you’ll be included in the Saturday email, which holds the key to the workshop – our zoom link!


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 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, 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
  • 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 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 – 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