May 16th, 2019 – May 19th, 2019 Chad Manning, Sharon Gilchrist, Michael Witcher, Keith Little and Scott Nygaard – Bluegrass Vocal and Instrumental Workshops

  • Chad Manning – is a Bay Area bluegrass, old-time, and swing fiddler who currently plays with the David Grisman Sextet and the David Grisman Bluegrass Experience.  For many  years he was also a member of Laurie Lewis and the Right Hands.  He has performed and toured with many bluegrass greats such as J.D. Crowe, Curly Seckler, Alan Munde, and Tony Trischka, to name a few. Chad also finds great joy in teaching and working with all levels of fiddle students. He and his wife, Catherine run Manning Music, a bluegrass/oldtime/traditional music school in Berkeley, California where currently 250 students take lessons.   Chad is also an instructor at Peghead Nation where he currently offers three courses.
  • Keith Littleacoustic guitar, and vocals. A Sierra Nevada Foothill-native, Keith is a nationally acclaimed bluegrass musician, recording artist, and composer. Throughout a forty plus year performing career, Keith KL2has been a key member of many national and international touring bands: Vern Williams Band, Rose Maddox, Grant Street String Band, High Country, the Country Gentlemen, Ricky Skaggs & Kentucky Thunder, Lonesome Standard Time; Keith has maintained a continuous presence on the national and international concert and festival circuit. At home on center stage, or in a supporting role, Keith performs as a solo artist, and with his group the LittleBand. He is also a featured member of the David Grisman Bluegrass Experience, and the Peter Rowan Bluegrass Band. Well known to bluegrass music audiences from performances on award winning recordings (Dolly Parton, Chieftains), Keith is an amazing vocalist and honorary lifetime member of the California Bluegrass Association.  (


  • Michael Witcher Dobro and vocals. Michael began playing at the age of fourteen. Influenced by the many styles of music he heard, he was soon playing with father Dennis and brother Gabe (the Punch Brothers) and the legendary band The Witcher Brothers. In high demand as a session player, Michael has worked with Dwight Yoakam, Dolly Parton, Bette Midler, Peter Rowan, Sara Watkins (Nickel Creek), Laurie Lewis, John Paul Jones (bassist of Led Zeppelin), Joan Osborn, The Gibson Brothers, Willie Watson (Old Crow Medicine Show), and Fernando Ortega among others. He has played the Grand Ole Opry and Prairie Home Companion many times. Michael is a gifted and caring teacher. Over the last 15 years he has developed an effective method of teaching the resonator guitar, one that allows the student to integrate complex concepts quickly into his or her playing. He has written two instructional books, and teaches at the top acoustic music camps around the world, including Rob Ickes’ Reso Summit. (                                                                          
  • Sharon GilchristSharon Gilchristmandolin and vocals. Sharon has a wide reach into American roots music, sharing her passions through nation wide performances with a plethora of groups on variety of instruments, including vocals and original composition. She has long made her home in the American acoustic music scene. Whether playing mandolin, thumpin’ the upright bass, singing a traditional ballad or performing one of her original pieces, you’ve heard an artist steeped in traditional Appalachian music. Sharon is currently playing in a trio with John Reischman and Scott Nygaard, and has performed with Darol Anger, Peter Rowan and Tony Rice Quartet, Laurie Lewis and the Right Hands, Uncle Earl, Ger Mandolin Orchestra directed by Mike Marshall, Scott Law, Kathy Kallick Band, Bill Evans, and Donald Rubinstein. Sharon graduated from Belmont University with a degree in Mandolin Performance. In addition to performing, Sharon is a deeply caring and respected mandolin teacher. She has been teaching mandolin for 15 years and has taught at many of the nations’ finest music camps. She served as the adjunct professor of mandolin at The College of Santa Fe from 2004-2011. Currently she teaches private lessons in Berkeley, California, is available for lessons on Skype and is also an instructor of Beginning Mandolin at the online instruction website PegHead Nation (                                                                                                                                                
  • Scott Nygaard                                                                            Grammy-winning guitarist Scott Nygaard is one of the most inventive and original flatpicking guitarists in the bluegrass/acoustic music scene. His solos, a seamless amalgam of bluegrass, folk, and jazz influences, shift easily from breathtaking virtuosity to soulful melodic musings and his accompaniment is always intriguing, supportive, and propulsive. He has performed and/or recorded with Tim O’Brien, Joan Baez, Chris Thile, Darol Anger, Jerry Douglas, Peter Rowan, and many others, and has released two solo albums, No Hurry and Dreamer’s Waltz, as well as self-produced albums with his band Crow Molly, Roger Tallroth and Scott Nygaard, and the Websters and Scott Nygaard. And in 2016, he released Harmonic Tone Revealers with John Reischman and Sharon Gilchrist. Scott was the guitarist on three recordings that have proven to be extremely influential on the contemporary acoustic music scene: Chris Thile’s Leading Off, Tim O’Brien’s Red on Blonde, and Jerry Douglas’s Slide Rule. Formerly the editor of Acoustic Guitar magazine, Scott has written hundreds of articles on music, musicians, guitars, and guitarists and taught at most of the United States’ best-known bluegrass and/or guitar workshops. Scott is co-founder and editor of Peghead Nation. You can learn guitar from Scott on Peghead Nation in his courses Roots and Bluegrass Rhythm Guitar, Intermediate Flatpicking Guitar, Flatpicking Guitar, and Weekly Guitar

Note:  due to outgrowing our current location, this workshop will take place at the beautiful Camp Sierra, just beyond Shaver Lake.  It is about a 4 hr drive from the SF Bay area, about 4.5 hrs from southern California.  More data will be sent upon registration.

Workshop Schedule


2-4 PM arrive and unpack

4-5:00 PM Happy Hour – Appetizers, meet fellow students and your instructors, go over the weekends schedule

5:00-7:00 Sessions with fellow students

7:00-8:00 Dinner

8:00-10:00 Group activity

Friday and Saturday

8:00-9:00 Breakfast

9:15-10:30 Workshops in all instruments (guitar, dobro, vocals, mandolin), techniques

10:30-10:45 Break

10:45-12:00 Workshops in all instruments, integrating skills from the previous workshop into your playing, thus making it your skill

12:00-1:00 Lunch

Afternoon Break


4:30-6 Workshops


6:00-7:00 Dinner

8:00-10:00 Band Scramble (how to create a band and the dynamics involved). students will form three bands, the last part of the second night will be showcasing the 3 bands creations.



8-9 Breakfast

9:15-12:00 Workshops

12:00-1:00 Lunch, fill out class survey

1:00-2:00 A listen session

2PM Pack and make your way home.  Those wanting to stay another day may do so.  You can pay the facility directly once you are there.  You will need to provide your meals for the extra day.



Costs for 3 day workshop per person (fees below include all meals, workshops and activities):

Camping: $550

There is a designated camping area at Camp Sierra with its own bath house.

Dorm Room (up to 4 in a room) $650

Private room (for couples or families)  $650

This facility is a camp with rooms of various sizes.  Couples will be given their own room, as well as families.  Beds are mostly single, a few double size.  Dorms will be 2-4 in a room.

Bedding and linens are not provided.  Please bring twin sheets, blankets, or sleeping bag, pillow, pillow case, towels, bath mat (those assigned a double bed will be separately emailed to bring bedding for a double bed).  Note: all bathrooms at camp Sierra are communal.

Workshop Registration

Thanks for your interest in a workshop at Kowana Valley Folk School.

Please fill in this form to register. Once we have received your check for the full amount of the workshop, your reservation will be finalized. Final payment is due By 1 Dec. Cancellations with full refund must be requested by 15 December.

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Workshop & Lodging Deposit

Mail deposit to:
Keith Little
PO Box 733
Garden Valley, Ca 95633

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