July 10-14, 2017
Acoustic Guitar Camp

Photos by Stewart Dean
View more on Flickr

Acoustic Guitar Camp


Monday, July 10–Friday, July 14, 2017

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Swing, Bluegrass, Blues, Jazz, Celtic, Pop, Folk and Country—plus practical music theory, mini-concerts, jam sessions and song swaps. World class guitar instruction featuring a variety of levels and styles including flatpicking, fingerpicking and more!

Ashokan Acoustic Guitar Camp offers guitarists of all levels an opportunity for real immersion and growth on the instrument in a friendly environment where people can sing, jam and share valuable musical information.

You’ll come away with new repertoire and techniques, a reinvigorated sense of direction and purpose, and a greater confidence and joy in creating music.

There’ll be classes in blues, country, finger-picking, flat-picking, Bluegrass, blues and jazz/swing melody and accompaniment. Levels from beginner to advanced will allow you to hone your existing skills or try something new.

Each instructor will offer two classes a day. There are four 90 minute class periods each day with four classes each period. You’ll have the opportunity to study with more than one instructor and take as many as four classes a day. While it’s best to stick with a class for all three days, you are free to switch if you find a class doesn’t suit your needs.

Evenings will include hosted jams, mini-concerts and presentations, where instructors will talk about and demonstrate their musical influences, share their iPods and answer questions.


Instructors for 2017

Our instructors are among the top in their craft. Each has a wealth of performing and teaching experience and is eager to connect with students of all abilities by being open and accessible. Our staff has also been selected to be musically simpatico. We hope that you are as enticed by the prospect of exciting musical collaborations – planned and impromptu – as we are. We look forward to a week rich in stylistic cross-pollination, discovery and musical fun!

Jefferson Hamer | Sylvia Herold | Larry Baione
Del Rey | Flynn Cohen | Molly Mason | Tony Watt | Peter Davis

Photo by Amy Helfand

Jefferson Hamer (New York):
Teaching Folk, Celtic, Bluegrass

Murphy Beds, Anais Mitchell, Session Americana, Beppe Gambetta

“A gifted guitarist and singer, Hamer is able to hit close harmonies… and weave gorgeous instrumental lines.” -Acoustic Guitar

Based in Brooklyn, NY, Jefferson Hamer performs original and traditional songs with collaborators from both sides of the Atlantic. He is currently touring with Cambridge, MA roots rock ensemble Session Americana in support of their new album Great Shakes. His Child Ballads album with Anais Mitchell earned a BBC2 Folk Award in the Best Traditional Track category, and was named one of NPR’s top-ten Folk and Americana releases of 2013. His acoustic collaboration with Dublin-born Eamon O’Leary, The Murphy Beds, features ten folk songs sung in harmony duets, decorated with intricate guitar and bouzouki accompaniment.

The Huffington Post said it succinctly: “The resulting album bears repeated listening from start to finish, with ten beautiful, crystalline songs.”

Read more about Jefferson at his website: www.jeffersonhamer.com

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Photo by Saul Bromberger and Sandra Hoover

Sylvia Herold (California):
Teaching Swing, Pop & Folk

Euphonia, Cats & Jammers,  Hot Club of San Francisco

 “…a mesmerizing voice.” —San Francisco Examiner

Sylvia Herold is a singer’s singer. At home in folk, swing, pop and Celtic genres, her passion is discovering and sharing the tale a song can tell. Her gift is in presenting songs with a clarity that is both honest and uplifting and yet remains refreshingly unvarnished. Her hard work in researching, performing and recording compelling songs for more than 25 years has earned her accolades from fans and press alike.

In her considerable tenure on the San Francisco Bay Area music scene, she has played and toured with several bands, including Cats & Jammers, The Hot Club of San Francisco, Wake the Dead, Euphonia and the Pop Top Trio. She is also an accomplished recording artist, having released four solo CDs: The Old Jawbone (2009), Lovely Nancy (2005), A Mockingbird Sings in California (2001) and A Bowl of Crystal Tears (1997)—all on the Tuxedo Records label—and has appeared on more than 25 albums alongside artists such as Kathy Kallick, Tom Rozum and Laurie Lewis.

Traditional Irish/British music was Herold’s first love. In the hotbed of San Francisco’s music scene, she met and found work playing with many talented Irish musicians. Her most consistent companion on the Irish music scene has been mandolinist and singer Marla Fibish; the well-partnered duo performed at the landmark Plough and Stars pub for 13 years.

Currently, Herold plays with Wake the Dead, the self-described “Celtic All-Star Grateful Dead Jam Band.” The group has won acclaim for its high level of musicianship and its inventive and fun intermingling of the Celtic world with Grateful Dead favorites. Herold appears on all three of the group’s albums, Blue Light Cheap Hotel, Buckdancers Choice and Wake the Dead.

She also records and performs regularly with Euphonia, a café-style acoustic combo featuring harmony vocals and sophisticated musicianship. The group’s two albums—The Old Jawbone and Lovely Nancy—blend modern and traditional folk songs and dance tunes from the Americas, the British Isles and across Europe.

The Pop Top Trio is yet another active ensemble that Herold performs regularly with. The trio creates unique, lush three-part harmony arrangements of jazz and pop gems from Gershwin to the Bee Gees, from the Rascals to Marvin Gaye, and also Brazilian-tinged originals from musical collaborator Ed Johnson.

Herold has performed at numerous festivals, including the Strawberry Music Festival, the San Francisco Jazz Festival, Centrum Hot Jazz, the Hardly Strictly Bluegrass Festival and the Sugar Bowl Music Festival. She is a frequent instructor at prestigious adult music camps such as Puget Sound Guitar Workshop, the California Coast Music Camp and Lark in the Morning Music Celebration.

Read more about Sylvia at her website www.sylviaherold.com

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Larry Baione (Massachusetts)
Teaching Jazz & Swing

Chair of Guitar Dept, Berklee School of Music

Larry Baione has been a faculty member since 1974, and has been chair since 1990. He has studied with Lenzy Wallace, Mick Goodrick, Bill Harris, William Leavitt, Bucky Pizzarelli, and Jim Hall. He received his bachelor’s degree from Berklee and his master’s from New England Conservatory. 

After graduating from Berklee, Baione was principal guitarist in the Army Band, stationed in Washington D.C. He performed in the White House and throughout the United States with the Army Blues. In 1996, Baione toured South America for the state department as one of the inaugural Jazz Amabassadors.

He is author of the Berklee Practice Method for Guitar. He performs in numerous jazz, concert, and recording ensembles, settings that range from solo guitar to big band. He continues to perform and give clinics throughout the world. His recent recording Playing Time consists of original compositions and standards in a trio setting.

“I learn from the students, just as the students learn from me. I enjoy their individual talents, and I also enjoy the passion that the students have to learn the instrument and perform. Having a lot of experience as a performer, I’m able to relate my experiences to the students, and know what they’re going through. The more I perform, the more I learn—it gives me more material to work on with the students. Every time I perform, I learn something. And I’m able to talk about it firsthand.”

Read more about Larry at https://www.berklee.edu/people/larry-baione

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Del Rey (Washington)
Teaching Blues & Ragtime

Women in American Music

“Rey is one of the greatest modern players of the metal-bodied resonator guitar.” Acoustic Guitar Magazine

“Whilst known for her amazing instrumental skills … it should not be overlooked that she always provides a very entertaining show, full of variety, drama and humour.”  

“Del Rey is one of the most sublime modern guitarists. “ La Hora del Blues Barcelona

I started playing guitar when I was four. At the age of thirteen I was introduced to the world of traditional acoustic music, when a friend and I stumbled into a concert at Folk Arts Rare Records in San Diego. About 20 people were sitting on the floor under the record bins listening to a kid named Tom Waits play his original songs.

Lou Curtiss, proprietor of Folk Arts and artistic director of the San Diego Folk Festival suggested I quit wasting my time playing “Stairway to Heaven” and listen to some Memphis Minnie. He put me on stage with Sam Chatmon when I was fourteen, and introduced me to Lydia Mendoza and Howard Armstrong. Lou gave me recordings that still influence everything I do on solo acoustic guitar. I soaked up country blues, stride piano, classic jazz and hillbilly boogie. It was a musical education hanging around the record shop. Thirty years later, I became fascinated with the ukulele. I try to play the same kind of complicated rhythmic blues and ragtime on four strings as on six. I expect a lot out of the little instrument.

“Virtuosic in just the right way, which is to say, in order to realize a musical idea. A very nice unlikely blend of things, accessible, slightly nostalgic, but fresh and thoughtful. ” (CD Baby review, “At The Ukeshack #1)

I play solo concerts world wide and also present a concert/lecture on women musicians called Women In American Music.  I also collaborate and tour frequently with guitarist Steve James, Suzy Thompson and Adam Franklin. I’ve contributed to projects in honor of The Mississippi Sheiks, Sister Rosetta Tharpe and Johnny Cash. I occasionally write about music for various publications, including Acoustic Guitar. All of my albums are available from Hobemian Records.

Learn more about Del on her website delreyplays.com

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Photo by Andy Cambria

Flynn Cohen (New Hampshire)
Teaching Celtic, Irish,  Folk & Bluegrass

Low Lily,  Keene St. College Instructor

Flynn presently teaches select classes in Music theory, history, and performance at Keene State College. He can also be found teaching guitar and mandolin lessons at The Music Emporium in Lexington, MA. His teaching resume also includes Visiting Lecturer at Bridgewater State College (now “University”) and Northern Essex Community College; guitar instructor at Augusta Heritage Center (WV), Swannanoa Gathering (NC), Brian Wicklunds Fiddle Pal Camp (MN, WI, MA) and major bluegrass and folk music festivals in the Northeastern US.

Flynn is a former student of John Renbourn, Davey Graham, Scott Nygaard, and Bill Titley (steel-string guitar); Stephen Gordon and Paul Binkley (classical guitar); and Agustín Fernandez, Frank Denyer, Alvin Curran, Pauline Oliveros, and Allaudin Mathieu (composition).

Private lessons also available in western MA and southern VT: general acoustic guitar and mandolin, folk, bluegrass, Irish traditional music, beginning classical guitar, composition and theory.

Read more about Flynn on his website flynncohen.net

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Molly Mason

Molly Mason (New York)
Teaching Swing, Folk, Classic Country

Jay Ungar and Molly Mason

Molly grew up in Washington State with a fondness for traditional fiddle music and ’30s and ’40s popular tunes. She played clubs and colleges on the West Coast and took a liking to the jazzy sound of the Swing Era.

Molly met Jay Ungar in the late 1970s when each was performing at the Towne Crier, a rural New York club. They hit it off musically and played together from time to time until Molly headed off to Minnesota to work in the house band of a new radio show: Garrison Keillor’s A Prairie Home Companion. Meanwhile, back in New York, Jay put together a band with fellow fiddlers Evan Stover and Matt Glaser and guitarist Russ Barenberg. When Fiddle Fever, as the collaboration was called, needed a bassist, Molly signed on.

The early ’80s also saw the beginning of the Ashokan Fiddle & Dance Camps, a world-renowned destination for enthusiasts of American music and dance traditions. Several years later, Molly became a full partner in designing, running, and teaching these programs. Jay and Molly married in 1991.

The duo of Jay & Molly has won international acclaim for their performance of Jay’s haunting composition Ashokan Farewell — the musical hallmark of Ken Burns’ landmark PBS documentary The Civil War. The soundtrack won a Grammy and Ashokan Farewell was nominated for an Emmy.

Jay & Molly perform timeless renditions of hard-driving Appalachian melodies, Cajun and Celtic fiddle tunes, stirring Civil War classics, sassy songs from the golden age of swing and country, stunning waltzes, and moving original works. Wit, warmth and consummate musicianship that cheer the heart and feed the soul.

What the media says…

“Jay and Molly make music that is simple and overwhelming . . . joyful and full of feeling . . . an apotheosis of American traditional music.”

Garrison Keillor, host and creator of
“A Prairie Home Companion”

“As composers, virtuosi and folklorists, [they] light up the concert stage and are a sure-fire hit for all music loving audiences.”

David Amram, noted American composer,
folk singer and jazz musician

Read more about Molly at her website: jayandmolly.com

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Tony Watt (Massachusetts)
Teaching Bluegrass

Bluegrass University,  Southeast Expressway,  Greyfox Festival Instructor  

Award-winning flatpicking guitarist and mandolinist Tony Watt has performed throughout the United States and Europe, on the Grand Ole Opry, and beyond. He has been featured in Bluegrass Unlimited, Bluegrass Now and Flatpicking Guitar Magazine multiple times, including the recent Waltz Issue. Tony toured and recorded with Nashville-based Cages Bend, east Tennessee-based Meridian, with Rounder Recording artist Alecia Nugent, and most recently with Leigh Gibson, guitarist for The Gibson Brothers. Tony currently performs with his band, Southeast Expressway, and with Laura Orshaw & The New Velvet Band. He is a graduate of Leadership Bluegrass 2012 and currently serves on the International Bluegrass Music Association(IBMA) Education Committee, the IBMA Board Selection Committee, and is a Board Member of the Boston Bluegrass Union (BBU).

Tony has taught privately for over 15 years, and now teaches courses in bluegrass guitar, mandolin, harmony singing and more for the BBU’s Bluegrass Academy, as well as jamming classes as a certified Wernick Method jam class instructor. Tony is the director of The Bluegrass University, which offers classes for adult beginners at the Jenny Brook Bluegrass Festival (VT), at the Pemi Valley Bluegrass Festival (NH), and at Thomas Point Beach (ME). He has also taught workshops and Kids’ Academies at bluegrass festivals including Grey Fox, Joe Val, Thomas Point Beach, and many more. Tony currently teaches lessons, classes, workshops and jam sessions in Albany, NY, Hartford, CT, Cambridge, MA, points in-between, and anywhere in the world via on-line Skype videoconferencing.

Read more about Tony at his website www.theoriginaltonywatt.com

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Peter Davis (New York), Camp Organizer:
Teaching Swing, Improv, Beginner Track,  Tenor Guitar

Annie & the Hedonists, Reggie’s Red Hot Feetwarmers, Whippersnappers  

Peter’s multi instrumentalism includes clarinet, alto sax, 5-string & tenor banjo, piano, guitar, mandolin and whistle as well as an intuitive approach to a variety of musical genres including traditional folk, blues, vintage pop and jazz forms.

Peter Davis’s parents told him that when he was one year old,  he was scat singing arias from Rigoletto.  When he was five, Peter took piano lessons with an acclaimed teacher, but after six months he was fired as a student because he was playing by ear instead of reading notes. At eight, Peter finally connected with his private clarinet teacher, and continued five years of lessons, culminating in playing the Mozart clarinet concerto. It was then that he was handed a saxophone in 8th grade band class and was introduced to the 12 bar blues progression and Elvis Presley. In 9th grade, Peter was playing  rock and roll music with older kids in bars around Babylon, Long Island.  His dad bought him a Selmer saxophone and a Gibson guitar and sent him to a local teacher who taught him chord/melody stylings of standards. For 10th-12th grade, Peter was sent to Quaker boarding school where he was exposed to political activism and folk music and listened a lot to Bach, Thelonius Monk, Mississippi John Hurt and Earl Scruggs. At SUNY Binghamton Peter minored in music –  played in a jug and bluegrass band,  had one of his music theory classes taught by John Cage – acted in plays, sang in a doo wop and madrigal groups and played reeds in pit bands for musicals. Peter spent three years in Malawi, Central Africa where he directed his school’s a capella group and jammed South African zulu jive with some of his students. 

Peter’s current projects include Annie and the Hedonists,  Whippersnappers, an eclectic string band; Reggie’s Red Hot Feetwarmers, a dixieland jazz band, which is the house band at Saratoga Racecourse each summer as well as Peter, Paul, and George, a group that does elementary school residencies in traditional music and dancing; Lindy Hop Heaven, Peter’s own swing dance band; and The Clayfoot Strutters, a rocked-out contradance band from Vermont.  He loves playing music with Jay and Molly and Swingology….

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A note about class levels: Ashokan classes are both practical and conceptual. Most contain some combination of technique, theory and repertoire. Although classes do have ability guidelines, one can attend any class to glean some chestnuts, even if a bit above or below one’s skill level. Audio recording and note taking are welcomed, so that if an instructor’s pace is beyond someone’s ability level, one can always return to the material. Most classes will include handouts. Video recording is not permitted.


While the 2017 daily camp schedule is in development, you can view information and photos from last year’s camp.

Tuition & Meals

Tuition includes all classes, dances, workshops, and meals. Work exchange and youth scholarships are available.

Adult  $625
Ages 13-25  $520
Ages 5-12  $415
Parent/Guardian*  $415
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.

Lodging is additional.

You may select regular, vegan, vegetarian, or gluten-free meals. We make every effort to include a range of allergen-free dishes and to inform diners of meal ingredients.

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.


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

What to Bring

  • If you are staying onsite: Sleeping bag or sheets, blanket, pillowcases, towels, soap, toiletries. 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 wet and dry weather.
  • Public consumption of alcohol is discouraged.

Acoustic Guitar Camp “What to Bring” info sheet – See this page for more info about what to bring, the schedule for the first day of camp, directions to Ashokan and additional important information.

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 available 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 office@ashokan.org 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.


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Visit and like the Ashokan Acoustic Guitar Camp Facebook page for videos, discussion, photos and more!