Workshop FAQs

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We are thrilled to host the 15th Alasdair Fraser and Natalie Haas workshop at the Warm Beach Camp and Conference Center. We thought sharing some of the more frequently heard questions and comments might help you better prepare for this wonderful weekend in January, 2023.

Most frequently requested: Warm Beach Map

General

Instruction

Registration

Concert

How to Contact

 


 

General

When is the workshop being held?
Friday, January 13th – Sunday, January 15th.

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When is check in?
4-6pm on Friday January 13th, at Program Center B, just a few steps away from Program Center A. See map. If you can’t make it to check-in by 6 PM, contact the registrar.

Session in full swing on Friday before dinner. Program Center B.

****COME EARLY!! We will once again, get the ball rolling with the first session of the day, BEFORE dinner! You’ll see and hear all the activity in the room right next to the registration area..or the in Program Center B. Look for the signs!

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Where is the workshop being held?
This year, we have changed locations for a number of reasons.  The gathering this year will  be at the Warm Beach Camp and Conference Center, south of Stanwood, WA.

 

No ferry rides required, unless you’re coming from Whidbey, or other island locations.  Warm Beach was originally developed in 1956 as a ministry of the Pacific Northwest Free Methodist Church. It’s still an integrated part of the Free Methodist Church, but has become a separate 501.3c non-profit organization in 1995.

Oh, by the way, Seattle traffic is back to normal, and if you’re considering flying in to SEATAC, you may want to avoid the extended commute times, and consider flying in to the very new, smaller airport in Everett, known as Paine Field. This is to the south of Warm Beach, 30 miles, and will take you about 43 minutes.   The other option to the north of Warm Beach, is the Bellingham airport, it’s 50 miles away, and will take about an hour to get to the workshop.  Although we don’t officially have a shuttle from either airport, if you let us know you’re needing a ride, we’ll find one for you somehow!

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How do I get to the workshop?
The address it 20800 Marine Drive, Stanwood, WA, 98292. Here’s their website’s instructions on how to get there.

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What can I expect the weather to be like?
There won’t be any reason to bring suntan lotion, but we will be warmer than you might expect since we’re so close to the Pacific Ocean! Temperatures will probably be between the mid 30’s – mid 40’s. We can hope for sunshine, but most likely it might rain, we could throw some wind in, too! Please check the Stanwood, WA forecast prior to camp so you can be prepared.

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What are the accommodations like?  here is limited availability, and these units go quicklyAll the lodging options are new this year, and so we have an entire section of our website dedicated to this. See the Warm Beach Primer Tab!

A number of bed and breakfast establishments are also in nearby Stanwood. There’s also camping facilities at a nearby park. Information coming on these options soon.

Dining: Please follow this link for information on their dining services, and their special statement about allergies and special diet needs. We will be asking you information about any diet restrictions you might have when you register, and that information will be
forwarded to their food services department.  Please note – We will most likely have our own dining times, just for us. There will be other camps at our facility who will have their own times, as well. Please be considerate- arrive on time for meals, and leave the dining area when you’re done eating, or when our designated time has passed.

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What should I bring besides my instrument?
Click here for details.

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What is the daily schedule like?

Here’s a general schedule, which will be updated as needed. For most up to date information see the Schedule tab.

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What is a session? Should I come?

A session is a folk music (and other genres) concept. It’s where people get together and informally play tunes that most people present might know. Often there is a session leader, it might be the host for the session, a volunteer, or someone appointed. Often the opportunity to share a tune or two, or even a set of music, is passed around the room so everyone gets a chance to do this, if they choose.

Usually tunes are played either 2 or 3 times in a row, and sometimes people will play several tunes, one right after another. No sheet music usually although Old-Time Fiddlers use it frequently.

It’s an excellent chance to see other players that are advanced, and what them play, learn tunes by ear, etc. There’s nothing planned about it.

Even though the “Early Session” starts at 4you can come in any time, sit down and join… or just hang out. It will continue until just before the dinner bell rings.

NO MATTER what your playing ability, come join in! All levels welcome!

After dinner, more of the same thing is likely to happen in Program Center A- come whenever you want, and listen, play, or just enjoy.

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Is there an icebreaker or social the first night?

Yes, in the exact same building you pick up registration materials, (and where the session is happening), you’ll find there are refreshments and lots of friendly people hanging around- just go past the registration area, and look for the room with food in it- the other room will have the session going on- “win-win”!

What other activities might I be able to participate in besides the workshop?
There’s something for everyone! Stay tuned for more information on that. The Saturday night ceilidh is surely one of the highlights!

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Instruction

Who is teaching at the Workshop?
The amazing Alasdair Fraser and Natalie Haas will be teaching during the workshop. Tutors and assistants will be available for breakout sessions for help with the tunes that Alasdair and Natalie are teaching.

Alasdair Fraser:

Alasdair Fraser waves getting classes started on Friday night-

A consummate performer, Alasdair’s dynamic fiddling, engaging stage presence, and deep understanding of Scotland’s music, creates a constant and international demand for his solo appearances and concerts with a variety of ensembles. Born in the county of Clackmannan, Scotland, Alasdair now lives in California and tours regularly. He has been a major force behind the resurgence of traditional Scottish fiddling in his homeland and the United States, inspiring legions of listeners and learners through his recordings, annual fiddle camps, and concerts. You can find more about Alasdair at alasdairfraser.com.

Natalie Haas

Natalie Haas, already thinking about those tunes and great things to come-

Vibrant young cellist Natalie Haas is a seasoned performer, recording artist, and teacher. A graduate of the Juilliard School in New York City, Natalie discovered the cello at age nine. In addition to having extensive classical music training, she is accomplished in a broad array of fiddle genres. Her musical journey found purpose when she fell in love with Celtic music at the Valley of the Moon Scottish Fiddling School at age 11. Inspired and encouraged by Alasdair Fraser, she began to investigate the cello’s potential for rhythmic accompaniment to fiddle tunes. Her and Fraser’s duo release, Fire & Grace, was awarded the Best Album of the Year in the Scots Trad Music Awards 2004. More information about Natalie can be found at nataliehass.com.

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I am a beginner fiddle player, will this be too tough for me?

Intermediate to advanced players will get the most out of this workshop because of the fast pace, and learning by ear. Keep in mind, we usually learn a several tunes, maybe one slower tune, such as an air, in addition to a march, strathspey, a jig or two, and at least one reel. See comments below on related questions!  We will have some wonderful, experienced teachers available- for a special session Saturday evening for those needing help with the tunes.

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My son has taken music lessons for a couple years. It’s mostly been classical training. Will this workshop be right for him?
The most important skill besides having a basic command of your instrument, is the ability to learn by ear. This is a skill that will become easier, the more it is practiced. Some people very naturally play (and learn) by ear, and others find it more challenging, especially classically trained, music-reading musicians. For cellos, a little theory background could be helpful when discussing chords.

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Will we get sheet music to help us learn the tunes?
Sorry- for the workshop, itself, there’ll be no sheet music. All music is taught by ear, in a group setting, and taught in the traditional manner. Bring a recording device (some people bring staff paper and pencils, too!). After the workshop, music will be posted on our website.

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What if I am used to learning music by reading it first?
This will be a new experience for you. We will identify fiddle tutors and helpers that will be on hand to offer help learning the tunes in special break out classes. There will be people picking up their instruments at all times of day, trying to get those tunes down, so just join in, because you never know where it might take you!

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Registration

Rachel Knight -our Registrar extraordinaire!

How do I register?
All information regarding registration can be found on our registration page, including step by step instructions, prices and policies.

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I’ve sent in my registration but I am wondering if I’ve been accepted…
We will make it our goal to respond to you in 10 days. If you haven’t heard from us regarding your registration, remember all primary contacts will be notified via e-mail unless they cannot be reached by that means. Be sure to set your e-mail account so that messages from NW Scottish Fiddlers, or from our registrar, Rachel Knight, will not be intercepted by spam filters.

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What is the Chaperone Policy? Can I come by myself?
Anyone under the age of 18 requires a chaperone or a proxy to be on site at all times. Please indicate whom to contact in the event of an emergency. Send details to our registrar. Chaperones who are NOT enrolled in the workshop are not required to pay the registration and workshop fee, but will need to pay for a concert ticket, lodging and meals (if staying at Warm Beach).

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Concert

When is the Alasdair Fraser and Natalie Haas concert?
Sunday, 15th the concert starts at 2 PM, with doors opening at 1:30. It is held at the Stanwood Performing Arts Center- part of the Stanwood high school complex. Admission is included with workshop registration (parents and chaperones must by tickets if you’re not a workshop participant). Tickets will be available to the general public later this fall, through Brown Paper tickets, and at the front door.  BPT link coming this fall.

Plenty of room for everyone in this amazing auditorium.

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How do I get into the final concert?
You will use your workshop name tag as your ticket- so just keep track of it! If you misplace your name tag, let Rachel Knight, our registrar, know.

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Speaking of friends, look who showed up? Ryan MacKasson!

What if my family or friends want to come to the concert?
Remember additional tickets for family and friends can be purchased at the same time you register for the workshop. If you do not attend the workshop, but are a chaperone or spouse along for the weekend, you will need to purchase a ticket.

Concert tickets for the general public are available through Brown Paper Tickets or at the door, if the concert is not sold out.

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How to Contact

If I have special concerns about the camp that haven’t been addressed elsewhere on the website, whom can I contact?
For questions directly related to your registration: write to Rachel Knight, the registrar: knightrd888@gmail.com . For general camp questions write to Marcia Thumma: m.thumma@mac.com.

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