May 4-6, 2018
Alasdair Fraser & Natalie Haas: Trad String Fling

Camp photos by Stewart Dean View more photos

Alasdair Fraser & Natalie Haas:
Trad String Fling

Friday, May 4 – Sunday, May 6, 2018

Alasdair and Natalie will return to host their fifth Trad String Workshop at the Ashokan Center. World-class Scottish traditional musicians and teachers, their workshops are a fantastic learning experience and tremendous fun for all.

Join us for the weekend…from Friday dinner through Sunday lunch. Tuition includes Alasdair and Natalie’s special concert on Sunday, May 6 at 3pm. If you can’t make the weekend, be sure not to miss the concert.


The workshop is geared towards intermediate and advanced players. Alasdair and Natalie begin by working with everyone together using an effective group teaching approach designed to carry players of all levels to new heights. Each player has the opportunity to learn both melody and accompaniment with coaches on hand to offer accessible remedial sessions. Then later in the weekend Alasdair and Natalie also host separate fiddle and cello break out sessions.

While tunes and techniques are taught, there’s a strong emphasis on self-expression, finding your inner musician and bringing the music to life, rather than just playing the notes. Though the weekend is geared towards intermediate and advanced players, less experienced musicians are welcome to attend and record classes, enjoy the wonderful music, and take part in the lively dancing and musical fun.

See more information below about the staff, schedule, tuition, work-exchange positions, lodging, and more. Youth discounts and scholarships available.

Best of Trad String Fling at Ashokan - 2016

Performers and Teachers

Alasdair Fraser is consummate teacher and performer. Alasdair’s dynamic fiddling, engaging stage presence, and deep understanding of Scotland’s music has created an international demand for his concert performances. Fraser-Haas-Promo-ShotBorn 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 on his website.

Natalie Haas is a vibrant and creative cellist, a seasoned performer and recording artist, and a skilled and experienced 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 Alasdair Fraser’s Valley of the Moon Scottish Fiddling School at age 11. Inspired and encouraged by Alasdair, 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 on her website.

Joining Alasdair and Natalie again this year will be dance caller Quena Crain, and fiddle coaches Katie McNally and Donal Sheets.

quena crain
Quena Crain – dance caller
Quena (pr: KAY-nuh) grew up contra dancing in San Diego, California. She called her first contra dance at Camp Harmony Folk Music and Dance camp on New Year’s eve the year she turned sixteen, but it wasn’t until she moved to Blue Hill, Maine that she really caught the calling bug. Quena is known for her cheerful stage presence, easy teaching style and her enjoyably diverse repertoire of dances.

Katie McNally – fiddle coach
Recent covergirl for Fiddler Magazine, Katie McNally has made waves in both the American folk music scene and abroad since the release of her debut album, Flourish, in 2013. She has performed and taught fiddle courses in the U.S., Canada, Spain, Scotland, England, and France. Katie performs regularly as a soloist and has collaborated with guitarist Eric McDonald and all-woman trad group, Long Time Courting.

Donal Sheets – cello coach
Donal grew up surrounded by traditional music and dance and played jazz bass and classical cello from a very young age. He has spent many years playing American and Irish music on cello and a variety of other instruments. The resonant chords and percussive rhythms of his cello create an indescribably vibrant soundscape drawing from many different traditions. He has taught and performed at music and dance festivals throughout the United States and is a member of the band Gallimaufry. 

Schedule (Tentative)

While this year’s schedule is in development, you can view info, photos and video from the 2017 Trad String Fling.


  • 3-5pm: Arrival and check in.
    Follow signs to check-in. If you must drive down, please unload and then return your car to the main lot immediately. If you need your car nearby for disability or health reasons, youʼll need a special parking permit from the Ashokan office on site.
  • 5pm: Open Jam
  • 6pm: Dinner
  • 8pm: Welcome Concert/Workshop, Jam Session


  • 8:30am: Breakfast
  • 9am – Noon: Morning class with Alasdair and Natalie
  • 12:30pm: Lunch
  • 2-5pm: Afternoon class with Alasdair and Natalie
  • 5:30pm: Dinner
  • 7:30pm: Ceilidh (Dance), Jam Session


  • 8:30am: Breakfast
  • 9am-noon: Morning classes with Alasdair and Natalie
  • 12:30: Lunch
  • 3pm: Gala Fiddle and Cello Concert with Alasdair and Natalie plus Jay & Molly!

Tuition and Meals 

Tuition includes all classes and activities, dance, concert, and meals. Lodging is additional, see below. Work exchange and youth scholarships are available.

Adults:  $335
Youth (25 and under): $280
Parent/Guardian:  $215
Children (under 5): Free

*Camp attendees under 18 must be accompanied by a parent or guardian. We offer a special Parent/Guardian rate which includes meals, dance and concert, but no classes.

You may select omnivore, no red meat, vegan, vegetarian and gluten-free meals. We make every effort to include a range of allergen-free dishes and to inform diners of meal ingredients.


Enjoy the full Ashokan experience and choose comfortable onsite lodging as part of the registration process. See lodging information and costs here.

Payment/Cancellation/Refund Policy

You may hold your place with a deposit of $150. Full payment is due no later than six weeks before camp begins.

Partial refunds are available until two weeks before camp begins. To cancel, please log into the account you created when registering on Regonline and select the option to cancel. Cancellation fees apply.

Please refer to our official payment/cancellation/refund policy for important deadlines and dates for this workshop.


What to Bring, When To Arrive, and Transportation

  • If you are staying onsite: Sleeping bag or sheets, blankets, pillowcases, towels, soap, toiletries. Pillows are available. There are light quilts in each private room and a small number of light blankets for those bunkhouse residents who are unable to bring one of their own. If you will need us to provide one, please let us know well in advance and we’ll do our best.
  • Flashlight, camera.
  • Clothes and shoes for both wet and dry weather.

See Important Information about Trad String Fling for details about what to bring, when to arrive, the schedule for camp, directions to Ashokan and more.

Youth Pricing and Scholarship Fund

We’re excited about the growing interest in traditional music and dancing among young people–the future is in their hands. To help young people take part in Ashokan Music & Dance Camps, we offer major discounts for children and young adults and have established a Youth Scholarship Fund. Anyone age 25 or younger can apply by filling out our Youth Scholarship Application.

Work Exchange

A limited number of work exchange positions are available to partially defray the cost of the camp. A list of work exchange positions can be found here.

Indicate your first three choices of positions during online registration and make a deposit of $150 or more to hold your registration.

Contact us by phone (845) 246-2121, or email for details.


Please do not call to register or send in payment before registering online.

If you prefer to pay by check, or with a credit card by phone, you may select that option when you register.

You may hold your registration with a deposit of $150 for each attendee until six weeks before camp begins, when full payment is due.

To purchase tickets for the concert only, click here.

Questions?  Contact us!

Directions to the Ashokan Center can be found here.