JUNE 23rd, 24TH AND 25TH 2023
The Dunnville blues harmonica retreat is now in its 8th year! We have changed venues! We are now at Bliss Haven Retreat Centre. For this years retreat we have Todd Parrott, Joe Filisko and Mark "Bird" Stafford sharing their expertise over their collective 60 years of playing knowledge. The retreat consists of 25 workshops to choose from. 4 per day and 3 running simultaneously in one hour and ten minute classes. There will always be a raw beginners class every session and participants can walk freely from class to class. There will be plenty of time to jam in the evenings. The main attraction is often the Saturday night concert and jam out extravaganza!
We will be treated to 6 meals of fresh organic food from the fields to help keep us focused. Friday night dinner followed by breakfast, lunch and dinner and snacks on Saturday and breakfast and lunch on Sunday. Camp, bunk or limited billet spaces for those who want a private room. First come first serve. Meals and snacks in between. Bring your own toothbrush so you don't blow snacks into the works!
Price: $550 for the weekend Meals included
Single rooms Sold Out
Double rooms add $35 Limited
Dorm room add $25 Limited
LATEST WORKSHOP UPDATE:
Our 3 Instructors for 2023 are Todd Parrot, Joe Filisko and Mark "Bird" Stafford.
$250 non-refundable deposit required, through paypal, e-transfers (preferred) and cheques
Note: 4% service charge will be applied to Paypal totaling $260
Contact info firstname.lastname@example.org or call 519-647-0173
Todd has been playing harmonica for 28 years, and has been blessed to perform and record with several artists. Growing up on the church pew in NC, he was exposed to lively music at a young age, and it wasn't long until he picked up his first instrument... the harmonica.
Todd recalls, "I remember as a kid when an traveling evangelist visited our church. The pastor had been announcing that he played a French Horn, but I think he meant French "Harp" instead (which is a common name for harmonica). So, I was expecting this guy to come to the pulpit playing some type of brass horn. When he walked to the pulpit, whipped out a harmonica and started to play, I was amazed!
I was determined that night to learn to play the harmonica, so on the last night of the series of services, I bought a harmonica from him (against my mother's wishes I might add). The other kids laughed and teased me a little bit, but the harmonica kinda "stuck" with me. After several years, I'm still playing harmonica, but have come to realize that this was just the start of something greater. Music has opened so many positive doors in my life. I'm not sure where I'd be today or what I'd be doing had I not picked up that first harmonica. God has blessed me with a gift, and sharing my music with others is my way of partly giving back."
Today, Todd's soulful, gospel harmonica can be heard in churches and other events across the nation, as well as on many studio recordings. He's a regular teacher and performer at the annual Society for the Preservation and Advancement of the Harmonica (SPAH) convention, and at many other harmonica workshops in the USA.
Revered as a master player, teacher, custom harmonica pioneer, researcher and historian, Joe Filisko is arguably the world’s foremost authority on many aspects of the diatonic harmonica and a key figure in today’s harmonica scene. Over the past 20 years he has had a tremendous influence on the developments in all aspects of the culture of the instrument. His much sought after custom harps are used by a truly remarkable roster of players and are prized for their superb response and tonal qualities by a client list that includes a large proportion of the world’s diatonic harmonica elite. Since the early 1990s, his groundbreaking work in improving the playability of the instrument has directly affected the production of all major harmonica manufacturers. In 2011 Joe Filisko entered into a close cooperation with Hohner as Head of Certification Process for the company’s new Affiliated Customizer Program, a bold move to guarantee standards for purchasers of custom harmonicas which is without precedent in the harmonica industry. He also made important design contributions to the latest model of Hohner’s Marine Band range, the Thunderbird, which bears his signature and has been cited as the finest low key harmonica available on the market today.
Fueled by his desire to preserve historical harmonica styles from extinction, Joe Filisko has amassed not only an encyclopedic knowledge of the entire gamut of traditional harmonica techniques, but has mastered them to an extent unrivaled among contemporary players. His passion for both the well-known and the unsung heroes of the 10 hole diatonic has made him a riveting performer in his own right, with a fluid command of a wide range of styles and possibly the most powerful hand effects ever heard. A master of tone and complex, nuanced tongue block rhythms, he has for many years shared his knowledge with students on five continents and so contributed enormously to the widespread understanding of traditional harmonica styles among a new generation of players.
In recent years, Joe’s reputation as a performer and recording artist has been catching up with his legendary status as a customizer and teacher. Since he first hooked up with guitarist/vocalist Eric Noden in 2003, the duo has released three highly regarded CDs and has performed at concerts and festivals around the globe. Reflecting their deep affinity with the tradition, their exciting explorations of seminal pre-war styles styles have won them an enthusiastic international audience and cemented their reputation as one of today’s premier acoustic country blues acts. Joe Filisko was awarded “Harmonica Player of the Year 2001” by the SPAH organization in the USA and performed at the induction of Grand Ol’ Opry star Deford Bailey into the Country Music Hall of Fame in 2006. Documentaries that feature Mr. Filisko include: “Harmonica Summit”, “Imagination is Limitless,” “In the Reeds,” “Tin Sandwich” and “Pocketful of Soul”. A native of Joliet, Illinois, Joe lives in the shadow of Chicago, the Windy City and performs there regularly as well as teaching popular weekly classes at the city’s Old Town School of Folk Music.
Though his work as a scholar and a craftsman have rightly earned him a place in the harmonica pantheon, it is as a player that he truly shines. Joe Filisko coaxes sounds from the harmonica which few before him have ever created and which open up new perspectives for countless players and lovers of this remarkable little instrument.
Mark "Bird" Stafford earned his nickname from his ability to soar on the harmonica in the fiery fashion of Charlie Parker. He shares a phenomenal passion for making music (and, he's been performing since he was knee-high to a sharecropper) with a musical voice that's become somewhat legendary. A serious student of "fat-tone" harmonica, Mark subscribes to the teachings of the masters: Sonny Boy Williamson, Little Walter, Junior Wells and James Cotton, imbuing what he's learned with a healthy dose off his own creativity. If you have had a void in your blues harmonica life since William Clarke passed away, then Mark Bird Stafford is here to take up the slack.
Mark has been a steady fixture on the Toronto Blues scene for the past 30 years bringing his Chicago blues based sound to clubs and venues all over the city. He is well versed in all things harmonica. A teacher, singer and a serious percussionist to boot. He is often playing drums and harmonica simultaneously rocking a steady beat through crowds of blues enthusiasts. He has also been teaching harmonica for the last 8 years at Humber College.