Sore Fingers Week 2024



A bit late but worth waiting for. Here is our tutors line up for Sore Fingers number 28 next Easter. As usual, we have a great line up of tutors to teach you the finer points of playing your instruments and some additional courses to take that playing technique a little further.

Andy MacKenzie will be continuing on his quest to help you develop as musicians and giving you the tools to help your creativity.

Sue Pomeroy did such a good job last October that we had several requests for her to come back. Well why not and she will be with us to take the song-writing class.

Please note that we will not appoint a second tutor until we have enough students booked to justify employing another tutor. Where we do invite a second tutor, all concerned students will be contacted and given an opportunity to chose.

The rest of the line up speaks for itself and we have a few returning tutors who we just can't do without. So, read on, and see what you fancy. But there's one thing that not listed here: FUN! You'll have a load of it and all with a lovely crowd of people.

John, Moira and the team



MICHAEL POOLE Michael is a native of North Carolina and lives in Chapel Hill, NC. As an Autoharp Player. He is self-taught in both the chromatic and diatonic styles and mentored by many wonderful players. His trademark style is based on clear accurate melody, rhythmic background, complex chromatic and diatonic arrangements, open note accuracy, musicality, and expression. As an active private teacher, he’s taught private students for over ten years and enjoys teaching workshops and performing at festivals and house concerts.

In 2018, Michael became the Mountain Laurel Autoharp Gathering champion and was the recipient of a Cohen-Grappel Recording Endowment grant which allowed him to record his first CD, Beneath Still Waters. Further recordings followed with musical collaborators Maggie Dodd and Rick Fitzgerald releasing Chasing Sunshine in 2019.

Michael is a founder member of the Triangle Autoharp Circle based in the Raleigh, NC area. Other music activities include singing with Vox Virorum (Men’s Chorus of the Triangle) and playing with friends in local jam sessions like the Bynum Front Porch Pickers.

This is Michael's first visit to Sore Fingers Week and we hope the UK Autoharp fraternity will give him a huge welcome.




GABE HIRSHFELD ...............CLASS FULLY BOOKED Gabe Hirshfeld will be standing in for Jeff Scroggins who had to pull out of this year's S.F. Week.

Availability was a bit of problem and many tutors were already committed but when I began thinking about it, I thought we didn't really get enough Gabe last year..

A fabulous player, first class entertainer with a unique sense of humour, we thought, yes we could take a bit more of this man even so soon after his first visit. He's promised to refresh his teaching programme, get some new jokes, etc. You'll have great banjo picking time with Gabe.

Here's a bit of information about the man:

Gabe, a native of Newton, Massachusetts, first heard Earl Scruggs on the radio aged 15. Like for many others, that sound changed his musical life!

Having tried several musical instruments and not found a chemistry with any of them, the banjo and that Scruggs drive did the rest. He took every bit of spare time to play at breaks between classes at school etc. but he assures us he still did his school work! His parents were keen for him to go to college and a friend suggested that he should go to music college as there was a good one very nearby.

So eventually Gabe ended up at the Berklee College and went on further voyages of discovery but continuously developing ideas and ways of playing innovative banjo. Whist still at the college he formed a band with fellow students to play at a wedding. The groom’s request was for a Bluegrass Band that played Beatles songs. They did a fine job breaking down the more complex arrangements and covering them with Bluegrass instrumentation.

Gabe has taught at some of the most prestigious camps, Augusta, Banjo Camp North, Mid-West Banjo Camp and can now add Sore Fingers Week to that list.

We’re privileged to have such an amazing player come to Kingham Hill School to teach the finer points of Banjo playing and, expect the ghost of Scruggs to make an appearance, in sound if not in the flesh!



RON BLOCK ......................2 PLACES NOW AVAILABLE Where does one start with this man? He’s a great musician and one who rates as the most attentive to detail that I know. Everything he does is analysed, dissected and studied in the greatest detail. If Ron does it, you can be sure it’s been thought through. He doesn’t do flash, just purposeful.

Of course he’s known for his work with Alison Krauss and more recently in the UK for his collaborations with tenor banjo player Damien O’Kane. That is by no means the limits of Ron’s track record, having been part of many bands and produced a multitude of recordings outside of the mainstream AKUS releases. His work as part of his duo with Damien O’Kane is nothing short of fantastic. Blending tenor and 5-string banjo is not easy but they have written the tunes that crack it.

Ron comes to Sore Fingers even when he’s not teaching. Serves the tea, laminates badges and we’ve even seen him run the vacuum cleaner round the event office! To call him a friend of the event is a bit of an understatement he’s a great ambassador.

However, it’s Ron’s teaching that we're concerned with here and he did a lovely job at last October weekend. The COVID lockdown gave Ron a perfect opportunity to review his tuition methods and unsurprisingly for him, he found things he could improve and fine tune. He stated recently he’d totally changed his approach and now feels his classes are much more productive for the students.

So, banjo players, rejoice, and be prepared for some intensive teaching from a master who covers every aspect of playing from timing, through tone, to delivering your breaks so that they stand out and dazzle the listener.

The brilliant thing is that Ron, by becoming much more than a visiting tutor but an integral part of the organising team, really understands the spirit of Sore Fingers and knows exactly what we are trying to achieve. Needless to say, he helps us succeed.

It’s a pleasure to have him on board again and Ron, you are very welcome!




SAM QUINTANA Anyone on the British bluegrass scene will be familiar with Sam as an original member of the North East band, The Kentucky Cow Tippers. He made his name alongside his colleagues in that energetic band who played far and wide across the UK. Two of his musical collaborators are past tutors at S.F, Evan Davies and Niles Krieger. This is a first time at S.F. for Sam, who is well qualified for the job and will carry on that vital mission to turn you all into skilful bass players!

Surrounded by music from an early age, Sam Quintana took up electric bass at 12 years old and double bass at 18. Since graduating from the jazz course at Leeds College of Music in 2014, he has become an active member of the city's thriving music scene. He has shared the stage with some of the finest musicians from across the UK and frequently performs alongside renowned artists from the jazz, folk and pop idioms.

As well as being an in-demand sideman, Sam is a member of an array of diverse creative projects and tours frequently around the UK and internationally. He has played at esteemed venues and festivals, embarked on lengthy tours and has several television appearances to his name. Sam has performed overseas in Iceland, France, Germany, Holland, Belgium and Ireland.

Sam composes for and leads his own group 'Wandering Monster', who are signed to London-based jazz label 'Ubuntu Music'. In the bluegrass field he performs with 'The Often Herd' (winners of the 2018 band competition at La Roche Bluegrass Festival) and 'Jaeja'.

As an educator, Sam has years of tuition experience, has led workshops in schools and higher education institutions and has worked as a guest lecturer at Leeds Conservatoire, where he also works as an accompanist.




IVAN ROSENBERG Since releasing his first solo album in 2001, Ivan Rosenberg has gained a dedicated following for his melodic, expressive acoustic music on Dobro and Clawhammer Banjo.

Millions have heard his original songs in the background of over 400 television programs and films including The Daily Show, Oprah, Call of the Wildman, History Detectives, the Special Edition DVD of Serenity, and the Hollywood blockbuster Kangaroo Jack.

Ivan earned an IBMA Award for co-writing the 2009 Song of the Year; played on the CD Southern Filibuster: A Tribute to Tut Taylor (produced by Grammy award winner and Dobro legend Jerry Douglas); and performed with Chris Coole, The Foggy Hogtown Boys, Chris Jones & The Night Drivers, the April Verch Bigger Band, Lizzy Hoyt, Chris Stuart & Backcountry, and many more.

Ivan is also in high demand as an instructor, having taught a combined 50 weeks at music workshops such as Steve Kaufman's Acoustic Kamp, Rob Ickes' Reso Summit, Sore Fingers Week in England, Walker Creek Music Camp, California Bluegrass Association Music Camp, 108 Mile Cabin Fever Bluegrass Workshop, NBCMS Acoustic Music Workshop, British Columbia Bluegrass Workshop, Midwest Banjo Camp, Grand Targhee Music Camp, and Old School Bluegrass Camp.

Ivan is back by popular demand which is not surprising as he’s a fine player and teacher. Watch out for outstanding showcases performances, all part of the package!




BRIAN WICKLUND It's a pleasure to welcome back an old fiddle friend who has been a tutor at S.F. on several occasions in the past. His energy is infectious and he often finds some extra curricular activity to entertain the students, like his fiddle blow-out involving just about every fiddle player present on campus to make a mass noise in one of the concerts! That's Brian, a man you can't keep down and one totally in tune with the spirit of Sore Fingers Week.

Brian Wicklund is widely regarded as among the top fiddle teachers and performers in the country. He is the author of the best-selling book series, The American Fiddle Method, published by Mel Bay and heads AFM online school. He is an instructor at top camps and workshops in the US, Canada, UK and Sweden including his own AFM Fiddle Camp. Brian has been a member of bluegrass bands for decades
including: Stoney Lonesome, Judith Edelman Band, Kathy Kallick Band, and the Chris Stuart Band. He currently fronts Minnesota-based progressive bluegrass band, Barley Jacks.

Hey, it's good to have you back Mr Wicklund!




STASH WYSLOUCH ...............CLASS FULLY BOOKED It’s always great to welcome fresh faces and especially players with a fresh approach. When we first set eyes on Stash playing with the Deadly Gentlemen and later with Bruce Molsky and the Mountain Drifters, we just knew we had to bring him to Sore Fingers. He is different, and plays differently. It was evident that he had influences from outside of the bluegrass and old time scenes. Read on...

Polish-Colombian Stash Wyslouch is an avant-garde bluegrass guitarist, singer and songwriter. His music delights in story-telling, improvisation and outer-space worthy composition. Despite his heavy metal beginnings in middle and high school, bluegrass music has been central to Wyslouch's life for the past 15 years touring and recording with groups such as The Deadly Gentlemen, Bruce Molsky's Mountain Drifters, The Jacob Jolliff Band, and Tony Trischka's Early Roman Kings.

His 4th and most recent album “Plays and Sings Bluegrass Vol. II” was released April 30, 2021. Conceived as a gift back to the music that’s framed his career, “Plays and Sings Bluegrass Vol. II” is a collection of zanily deconstructed bluegrass classics. “Wyslouch tries to approach bluegrass from completely new angles — upside down, sideways, an interdimensional vortex only accessible from within his own mind.” – WBUR.org (March 2021, A. Mason)

An upside down, sideways approach? This sounds very interesting. Guitarists are going to come out of this class with new ideas about their playing. A fantastic opportunity to look into the unknown.




TRISTAN SCROGGINS We are over the moon to have secured Tristan's services to stand in for Matt Flinner. An absolute dream replacement and we know there will be several delighted students who have been asking for this man to come to Sore Fingers Week. Well here he is!

With a signature raw mandolin groove, bold fashion sense, charismatic yet soft-spoken confidence, and keen sensitivity to style and artistic innovation, twenty-six-year-old GRAMMY nominated mandolinist Tristan Scroggins is quickly becoming a highly influential voice of both music and community in the world of bluegrass.

An old soul with the drive and curiosity of youth, Tristan is dedicated to learning the history of bluegrass while creating an open and inclusive space for the music moving forward.

Tristan was honoured with a nomination for the International Bluegrass Music Association's Mandolin Player of the Year Award. After a decade of full-time touring with Jeff Scroggins and Colorado, he now lives in Nashville, Tennessee where he has become a part of the thriving bluegrass and acoustic scene and can be found performing, teaching, researching, and writing about music.




JOE WALSH ......................1 PLACE AVAILABLE Roots music isn't made in a vacuum. It's the creation of a community, of a circle of friends, of a teacher and a student. It’s something to be passed back and forth to be treasured. As an acclaimed master of American roots music, mandolinist and songwriter Joe K. Walsh knows this better than most. He’s toured with countless artists, collaborated with other master musicians like Darol anger and the Gibson Brothers, founded progressive stringband Joy Kills sorrow in the early 2000s, and is currently on faculty at the prestigious Berklee College of Music. His new album, Borderland, is an exercise in subtlety and careful creation. Turning through songs he wrote, or setting the words of Yeats to music, and picking out instrumental tunes of his own creation, Walsh plays and sings with the kind of ease that comes from years of practice and creation.

The touch of sawdust in his vocals, or the buzz of the mandolin strings may hint at the deep rural roots of this music, but what he’s creating now is a new kind of tradition. His first inspiration came as a teenager when he heard David Grisman, and then again when first hearing Del McCoury. The music he heard at that young age opened a window to new harmonic possibilities, and started Walsh exploring how to create new American roots music. What’s surprising then is that his new album is no act of wild fusion. Instead, it’s a joyful exploration of just why he loves this old music so much in the first place. With mastery comes restraint. With nothing left to prove, Walsh has dived deeper into the tradition, seeking to craft new music from old roots.
Borderland brings together Joe's frequent collaborators like seminal old-time fiddler Bruce Molsky, innovative bluegrass guitarist Courtney Hartman (of Della Mae), in-demand fiddler Brittany Haas (of Dave Rawlings Machine), blazing bluegrass banjo player Gabe Hirshfeld (of The Lonely Heartstring Band), and eclectic bassist Karl Doty. In creating the album, he pulled together these close friends for a series of acoustic adventures through original and traditional songs and tunes, revelling not in the kind of flashy showmanship one might associate with Walsh’s bluegrass roots, but in a sense of great camaraderie and deliberate craft. You can hear this on “Never More Will Roam,” as each instrument circles the other in easy counterpoint while Walsh’s voice floats above, a keening edge to his vocals. Or in “Innisfree,” as Walsh cleverly sets a famed poem from William Butler Yeats in a verdant Appalachian setting. Of all the tracks, “Red Skies” hews closest to Walsh’s bluegrass roots, but even here he’s playing with the form, subverting the idiom just a little bit. Borderland is the kind of album that’s constantly striving to move forward, to find new paths through the thickets of our shared heritage.
Sore Fingers Summer Schools will add another lifetime achievement when Joe was part of the world’s “most expensive Square Dance band” to play for one of jackie Kempton’s impromptu late night dances at Kingham Hill School! Good to have you back Joe.




ANDY MACKENZIE & MIKE PRYOR This course is now established as part of the S.F. Week programme and is the next step on the road to becoming a creative musician. We've taught you the the techniques to improve your playing; now we want to help you understand how you can use that technique to create innovative breaks and accompaniments to songs and tunes. There's a whole world out there and Andy has just about all the formulae.

The course is for all, from guitarists to banjo players, singers to songwriters, anyone wanting to learn how to structure creative music. All are welcome.

Andy Mackenzie has over forty years of experience as a freelance recording and live performer covering a wide ranges of musical styles and still performing up to 150 live concerts a year!

Alongside his live and recording work, Andy was the jazz guitar tutor at Bangor University and has delivered several classes in jazz and improvisation, including at prestigious institutions such as LIPA. He also co-authored Masters of Jazz Guitar, published in 1999 and continues to write reviews for the music press.

And to top that all, Andy is a proficient flatpick bluegrass guitar and banjo player!

His knowledge of music, scales, harmony and chord sequences equip him perfectly to deliver this great class.

Andy will be assisted by Mike Pryor, see below.




MIKE PRYOR Andy MacKenzie and Mike Pryor formed a bit of a team last year at S.F. Week. To say they bonded musically is an understatement and we could not run this course again without asking Mike to come back too!

Mike Pryor began playing music in 1969 and since then has performed as a semi-professional musician in acoustic-based groups on mandolin, cavaquinho, double bass and guitar.

Performances have included television, radio and numerous festivals in the UK and mainland Europe, including Glastonbury.

With these groups he has recorded numerous CDs, including the British bluegrass No. 1, Small Town. He currently plays with Cavacante, The Bill Smarme Rock’n’Roll Trio, Los Adjustes and the Pond Skaters. Mike has studied mandolin under Mike Marshall, Simon Mayor, John Reischman, Butch Baldassari and Andy Townend; he has studied guitar under Stefan Grossman, John James and Chris Moreton, and double bass under Danny Thompson.

Mike has taught private students and has tutored group classes at various festivals, Sore Fingers Bluegrass Summer Schools and at BMG Federation Festivals. He was a regular contributor to British Bluegrass News and Mandocrucian’s Digest and helped organise the original Didmarton Bluegrass Festival for ten years.

Well there’s a busy man and that’s just music! So, we are lucky to have him join our team of tutors



SAMI BRAMAN ...................CLASS FULLY BOOKED Sami Braman she has been playing the fiddle since she was 6 years old, coming up amid the music festivals and jamming communities of the Pacific Northwest’s vibrant traditional Old-Time music scene. Under the instruction of fiddle tradition-bearer Ruthie Dornfeld, she studied both classical and fiddle music. At 8 she and her long-time musical buddies Leo Shannon and Riley Calcagno formed The Onlies, which plays at festivals and gigs around the country and whose traditional Old Time sound they further refined in 2016 with the addition of acclaimed folk musician Vivian Leva.

The Onlies have released an EP and three full-length albums, and performed on stages at the Father's Day Bluegrass Festival, Berkeley Old-Time Music Convention, Santa Fe TradFest, Delaware Valley Bluegrass Festival, AmericanaFest, and the Portland Old-Time Gathering. In 2017, The Onlies won first place at the Clifftop Appalachian String Band festival’s prestigious Traditional Band Contest and returned to perform there in 2018. In Asheville, NC they recorded an album,"The Ruglifters," with old-time music heroes John Herrmann and Meredith McIntosh, released in 2018. That group just won first place in Clifftop’s 2019 Traditional Band Contest.

Sami is a buoyant, intuitive, and versatile fiddler who values deep understanding of the stories behind the tunes and seeks inspiration from historically marginalized artists. She most frequently plays in the Old-Time, Cape Breton, and Bluegrass styles, but her enthusiasm extends in many directions, including Irish, Scandinavian, Scottish, and jazz. At Whitman College, where she graduated in 2020 in music and English, Sami performed regularly with Latin jazz guitarist Eddie Manzanares and jazz department head Dr. Doug Scarborough. Under the tutelage of classical violinist Dr. Amy Dodds, she presented a senior honors recital that tracked the origins of folk melodies across both classical violin compositions and fiddle tunes. Upon graduation she was awarded the Vinson Award for music excellence.

Sami now teaches and performs across the U.S., primarily with The Onlies and Willie Watson (David Rawlings Machine, Old Crow Medicine Show). She has appeared onstage alongside Watchhouse, Laurie Lewis, Bruce Molsky, Elvis Costello, Darol Anger, Kristin Andreassen, Critter Eldridge, Cahalen Morrison, Eli West, Pharis & Jason Romero, Meshell Ndegeocello, and Altan. She has performed at festivals like MerleFest, Freshgrass, and Bristol Rhythm & Roots. In her tune-writing, Sami melds creativity with tradition, producing a number of old-time tunes which have made their way into festival sessions across the country. In her teaching, she brings positive engagement and a high standard that encourages and challenges students. Sami recently moved to Nashville, TN, to pursue music full-time. To all her projects Sami brings joyful energy, a driving bow, and an abiding love for the traditional music community which formed her.




ALLISON DEGROOT ...........CLASS FULLY BOOKED Allison de Groot combines love for old-time music, technical skill and a creative approach to the banjo forming her own sound – unique and full of personality. Although firmly rooted in old-time and music, she has shown her ability to collaborate and create outside this genre, pushing the boundaries of the clawhammer banjo.
Allison has toured all over the world with various groups, performing at venues such as Newport Folk Festival, Stockholm Folk Festival, Winnipeg Folk Festival and Tønder Festival in Denmark. The music scene in her hometown of Winnipeg, Canada, immersion in Appalachian old-time communities, a performance degree at Berklee College of Music in Boston, and touring extensively throughout North America and Europe have all had a great impact on her playing. She is dedicated to honoring old-time music, the community that music creates and exploring the clawhammer banjo style. She is currently performing with Bruce Molsky's new project Molsky's Mountain Drifters and The Goodbye Girls, among others.




LUKAS POOL By all accounts, this man makes fabulous banjos and he also plays em’ fabulous! Highly recommended, Lukas joins us late to assist us in running a second Old Time Banjo class along side Allison DeGroot’s class.

Lukas’s banjo playing and building has an earthiness that reminds us of the traditional builders and players who've inspired generations. As a respected performer and teacher of traditional music, he is known for his innovative playing style and respect for Old-Time tradition. With his home in the foothills of the Ozark Mountains, he lives on a small farm with his family, building banjos and has taught thousands of banjo players through his online lessons and music camps.

Another Graduate from Berklee College of Music, Lukas has gone on to record with fiddling legend Darol Anger, and performed at a wide array of venues and festivals including the Grand Ole Opry in Nashville, TN and is a two-time National Old Time Banjo Champion.

Lukas and his wife Eden, as Ozark Banjo Co., have sent cherished heirloom banjos all over the globe, making the world a happier place - one banjo at a time.

Well I could add something but, I think Lukas has said it all. All we need now are some Old Time Banjo players. You are lucky, what a choice of tutors!




DEDE WYLAND Dede first came to Sore Fingers Week way back in 2002! A return was planned for Easter 2020 and we all know what happened to that event... We wanted to stick with our commitment to all the tutors booked for the "COVID year" and it is only now we have managed to make the schedules work. So, finally Dede makes her return to Sore Fingers Week, after 22 years!

A native of Wisconsin, singer and guitarist Dede honed her bluegrass skills from 1975 through 1979 playing throughout the Midwest and Central states with the Milwaukee-based band "Grass, Food & Lodging". She then moved to New York, where she became a founding member of Tony Trischka and Skyline, one of the leading progressive bluegrass groups of the 1980s. She toured internationally with Skyline through the ’80s. During those years her clear, powerful voice made her a perennial nominee in the annual awards poll of the Society for the Preservation of Bluegrass Music in America (SPBGMA). As one of the few women at the time who was performing in a high-profile touring bluegrass band, Dede was a role model and an artistic influence for a generation of female bluegrass musicians who would shape the music in the years to come.

After leaving Skyline in 1987, Dede moved to Tucson, Arizona, and then to the Washington-Baltimore area in 1990, performing regionally and concentrating on her work as a vocal coach. Since 1999, Dede’s singing has won her a shelf full of “Wammie” awards from the Washington Area Music Association. Her first full-length solo recording, “Keep the Light On” (Patuxent Music 189) was released in 2009, and her career is the subject of its own chapter in Murphy Hicks Henry’s 2013 book “Pretty Good for a Girl: Women in Bluegrass” (University of Illinois Press). Since 1994, Dede has helped countless amateurs express themselves through singing, and has guided professionals to their full vocal potential.

Her goal is to help singers find their natural voice, and their style, by teaching techniques that lead to greater range, flexibility, and overall vocal quality. Ultimately, she seeks to give her students tools to bridge the gap between what they feel and what they can express. With this goal in mind, Dede teaches her students basic vocal anatomy, posture, correct breathing, and breath support. Once that foundation is established, she moves on to address each student’s individual needs and musical styles.

Dede studied in New York City for 7 years with highly regarded singer and voice teacher Rona Klinghoffer, and has also worked with other celebrated coaches focusing on modern technique for non-classical styles of singing.

She studied the anatomy and physiology of voice production at the University of Maryland, is a member of the National Association of Teachers of Singing, and makes a point of staying abreast of developments in the world of voice teaching.

We are real pleased to welcome Dede – singers are in for a treat and will learn with someone who is committed to vocal excellence. In fact, she has devoted most of her professional life to this quest!




SUE POMEROY With harmonies at the heart of her performances and song-writing, Sue Pomeroy has always been steeped in bluegrass, old-time and country music. She has hardly missed an opportunity to soak up influence from the masters herself by attending workshops with the likes of Val Mindel and Alice Gerrard (and by being a fierce attendee at SFSS!)

It was the quality of vocal harmonies in her previous band The Woodberrys which won them first prize in the band competition at Ely Folk Festival in 2012. Sue now performs as one half of the “The Rye Sisters” with versatile singer Ishani Siriwardena. Very soon, more awards followed. The Rye Sisters won the ‘BBC Song for Lincolnshire 2016’ song-writing competition.

To get that kind of success and recognition, you don’t just survive on talent – for singing you need good material and Sue’s reputation as a songwriter is gaining momentum. She’s conducted workshops on the subject all over, at festivals, clubs and at last October’s S.F. Weekend.

Her songs are great. They get aired straight away. With Sue's partner Ishani’s help, they cannot fail – a good song performed by a delightful team of ladies who can deliver.

So, how's it done? Well, Sue has some tricks you can integrate with your intuition and inspiration to help you finish that rhyme in that unfinished song.

Sue, a professional teacher, is a great asset for Sore Fingers; someone who writes songs, then goes out and expertly performs them on stage in front of an audience. That, folks, takes a lot of courage and determination.

Let Sue tell you how it’s done.




PHIL DOLEMAN & PERCY COPLEY Phil’s voice is as big as his ukulele is small, and his love of vintage blues, hokum, jug band and jazz shines through in his intricate picking and driving rhythms on both uke and tenor banjo.

Phil has travelled all over the UK and to Europe and the US, performing and leading workshops at festivals, theatres, clubs and events. He has appeared on several albums, performed on BBC radio and TV, taught over 1500 ukulele players, and shared the stage with some of the world’s finest players.

Phil has taught at S.F. Week a few times before, always to great acclaim. He was heard to say that he’d come and teach any event where he got to play on stage with Ron Block. It’s about to happen again!




PERCY COPLEY Percy Copley performs solo, or accompanied, using different types of ukulele - tenor, soprano, resonator, uke-banjo - singing a variety of songs from 20s/30s to more modern too. Jazz, blues, country, etc all with energy and fun!Songs, chords, strums, right hand rhythm... Music theory for ukulele. Fingerpicking, chords and solos... Learn new techniques, improve your own style - take the uke beyond the group session for more personal enjoyment and playing.

Percy’s first instrument was ukulele, playing old songs from the 20s and 30s. At a young age he played in many places doing George Formby numbers and magic tricks! He has an infectious sense of humour but behind the façade, there is a real professional at work. His class is guaranteed to be fun but expect to meet a dedicated master of his art. This is a man of many talents who is equally adept on Mandolin, Banjo (tenor and five string) Guitar and Bagpipes! He has taught several times at Sorefingers (on other instruments too) as well as many other workshops/camps in France etc.

There's no one better to get you started on an instrument and Percy enjoys teaching beginners and gets a lot of satisfaction from seeing them progress during the week.

Want a great start to Uke career? Look no further!




HEATHER FARRELL-ROBERTS Heather has virtually run the Sore Fingers Autoharp department for the best part of fifteen years. Ultimately qualified to do the job, she has selected the best tutors from here and the US to teach at Kingham.

At Easter, Heather takes the beginners and helps them to integrate into the main class, a job she does well as a retired teacher.

But, she’s also a master player and always delights the S.F. audience with a beautiful piece in the Tutor concerts. Heather has been part of the S.F. machine for as long as the Autoharp has featured and knows the format, the spirit and her instrument.

So, you’re in good hands, there will be no messin’ in her class! And if you think “Oh she’s in England, I can see her anytime” you’d be wrong as she lives in deepest Devon – a long way from Yorkshire that!



ED HICKS & PETER EARLE Ed Hicks is an experienced music tutor with over ten years experience of teaching people how to play folk music. Primarily a banjo player specialising in old time music, Ed also plays fiddle, guitar, mandolin, sings and has a working knowledge of a range of other folk music instruments (accordions, whistles, string basses and more).

Ed has worked as a banjo teacher and folk music workshop leader for the English Folk Dance and Song Society (EFDSS) for ten years and was a lead tutor on their Full English project. He has trained in music workshop leading with Spitalfields Music, EFDSS, Music for Change, Musicleader, Sing Up, Folk Arts England, Platform for Arts and the Discover Centre.

Firmly implanted into the SFW roster, he takes the class for the third time and this man will set you on the road to become a great bluegrass or old time player.

Ed will be assisted by Peter Earle, see below.




PETER EARLE Peter Earle is a graduate of the Leeds College of Music, where he majored in percussion and piano. After many years playing drums and keyboards in various genres, he discovered bluegrass in 2006 after attending his first Sore Fingers.

After a few years playing banjo, he moved to double bass, which has been his main instrument for the last 15 years.

Now resident in Otley, West Yorkshire, he performs as part of an Americana duo, and has also appeared regularly at many of the UK bluegrass festivals, as well as in Ireland and the US.

He is a familiar figure at Sore Fingers, and for the last few years has run the popular Basic Music Theory elective, where he has utilised his training as a teacher to de-mystify the murky world of chords and scales! For 2024, he will be teaching the Beginners class together with Ed Hicks.