Sunday, June 8, 2014

Bing Futch's Bio and Workshops


Bing Futch - Festival Co-Founder
Performer and Instructor

With a big smile and a wild toss of his dreadlocks, Bing Futch kicks off every performance with a buoyant energy that is inviting and innervating. Using Appalachian mountain dulcimer, Native American flute, ukulele, drums and electronic effects, he deftly navigates the varied waters of folk and pop with passion, wit and a genuinely huge heart for sharing music with a crowd. Known for his musical shape-shifting, Futch switches the channels on style with every new song, sung in a limber tenor voice and woven together with the other instruments. His casual way with any audience, coupled with a fierce originality on the lesser known mountain dulcimer, makes each show a one-of-a-kind and good-timing romp. As a nationally touring solo performer he's headlined at such events as The Florida Folk Festival, Old Songs Festival, The Big Muddy, Kentucky Music Weekend and Common Ground On The Hill. With a strong love for traditional music, Futch has enjoyed a career on both sides of the folk and rock divide, first as guitarist for CCM post-punkers CRAZED BUNNYZ in 1986 and much later in 1999 as co-founder of MOHAVE on mountain dulcimer. That band, with bassist Mike Burney and drummer McGyver, took off after their debut performance at the House of Blues at Walt Disney World and over the course of the next seven years would become a crowd favorite and open for the likes of MOLLY HATCHET, ST. SOMEWHERE and THE CRESTS.
In 2006, Futch began performing solo at county fairs and festivals across the country, along the way opening for Grammy-award nominated artists Sam & Ruby, bluesman Scott Ainslie and sharing the stage with Grammy-award nominated act The Dixie Beeliners among others.
Futch's music has been featured in film and video productions, video game soundtracks and exhibits at the Orlando Museum of Art. He was composer and musical director for "The Jungle Book: A Musical Adaptation" which ran for 66 shows at Stage Left Theater in Orlando, Florida. He also contributed music to the soundtrack of The Castle of Miracles at Give Kids The World Village in Kissimmee, Florida.
When not performing, Futch can be found teaching music workshops at various festivals and colleges, presenting music education programs at schools and libraries and producing episodes of his video podcast "Dulcimerica" which has been viewed by over a million people worldwide and is currently in its seventh season.


Introduction To Chromatic Mountain Dulcimer! (MD)

This easy-to-digest workshop will get you understanding the chromatic mountain dulcimer not only as its own instrument but also as it relates to the diatonic mountain dulcimer (give or take a few frets.)  We'll work out of the DAD tuning and get familiar with the notes on the fretboard using reference frets and other visual tricks.  I'll not only demonstrate how to convert all of the chords that you already know from diatonic to chromatic but I'll also show you how to change those familiar shapes in order to get cool new extended chords and chord progressions.  Best yet, I'll get you over the hump of how to approach playing it by starting with tunes you already know and then dressing them up with the new options at our fingertips.   You'll have more than a passing relationship with the instrument by the end of this workshop! (Intermediate - Advanced)

A Spoonful Of Blues (MD)

Brand new workshop but perfect for those who want to learn the blues on the mountain dulcimer.  We'll go quickly through the basics of Delta blues on the instrument and then shift focus to the one-chord modal strut of the song "Spoonful" which has been recorded by Howlin' Wolf, Etta James and Cream.  We're gonna do a whole lot of playing in the key of E, first barreing and then capoing at the first fret, so don't forget your capos and get ready to have some juke jointin' time with some blues on the mountain dulcimer!  (Intermediate)

Learning To Play Native American Flute

This beautiful, haunting and expressive instrument dates back 4000 years on the North American continent. Originally used in courtship and later in ceremonies and, more recently, ensemble performance, the Native American flute now enjoys great popularity in all types of music. You'll be surprised at just how easy it is to play! In this workshop, you'll learn basics: flute anatomy, how to hold it, breath control, major and minor scales, ornamentation techniques and how to discover your very own spirit song. Must have a six-hole Native American flute in the key of "B minor." You can purchase one from Ray Wood at Island Flutes. Be sure to tell him it's for Bing's workshop. (All Skill Levels)


The Manatee Orchestra - Mountain Dulcimers (MD)

Back by popular demand!  Everyone had such a great time last year performing in the Saturday evening concert (even if half the audience was on stage) so we're going to do it again this year with three brand new songs that will feature mountain dulcimer, hammered dulcimer, pennywhistle, steel drums and ukuleles on stage at the Saturday evening concert. The Manatee Orchestra will refuse no player, all skill levels are welcome.  This session is specifically for the mountain dulcimers.  Check the schedule for the hammered dulcimer, pennywhistle, steel drum and ukulele sessions. (Beginner - Advanced)  

Taking A Bite Out Of Apple's Garageband

Also back by popular demand!  This was a very crowded session, so we're preparing this time with a big screen and pro audio so you can really get the most out of this informative session. Many of you have Mac laptops or desktops with Garageband pre-loaded on there.  Some of you are already mucking around with it while others aren't sure where to begin.  In this workshop, I'll demystify Garageband using a video screen so everyone can see the details.  What kind of equipment do you need?  What all can you do?  What are plug-ins and why are they so important?  What's a loop and how do you use it?  Everything from basic recording to advanced sound equalization and mixing techniques.  If you've ever wanted to record your own albums you'll have a good head start by the end of this class!  Laptops running the latest version of Garageband are encouraged but not required. If you're not running Apple, the basic instruction applies, no matter what DAW (Digital Audio Workstation) you're using. (Beginner - Advanced) 


How To Play "Juke Joint Hen"

Alright, you asked for it.  This workshop will endeavor to teach you how to play my version of "Cluck Old Hen" which I call "Juke Joint Hen."  It's on "Dulcimerica: Volume 2" and I've played it on-stage with the likes of Stephen Seifert and Butch Ross; it's one of my most requested tunes and many people have given their own spin on my roadhouse blues approach to this ancient old tune.  In any case, I'll teach you how I do it currently, note-for-note, with all the bells and whistles including bends, staccato accents, rapid slides, one-handed tapping, right and left hand palm muting and, finally, a two-octave solo on the bass string.  This workshop will not @#$%! around; we will be getting after it so bring your game face and a dulcimer with a 1 1/2 fret (you'll need it for the walking bass.  Oh. Yeah.) (Advanced)


Practical Applications For Looping


This is a new workshop that ties together the performance aspect of looping with the practice time at home aspect, which is key to working out arrangements, songwriting, practicing solos or simply creating walls of sound just for the simple exploration of it. I'll also cover performing with a looper, some basic bullet points, details you might've missed, as you attempt to work the machine into your set (take it from someone who has, and continues to, run that ragged road.)  If you take this workshop, you must know what a looper is.  If you've got one, bring it and a small battery-operated amplifier (can be something like a Roland Micro-Cube for $120 or even the little Danelectro Honeytone N-10 Mini Amps for $20) because part of understanding your looper pedal is using it.  I'll have my rig set up for those who want to give it a go, which is always fun the first time someone gets to layer tracks and play off of your self.  No wonder more and more people are starting to loop!  (All Skill Levels)

Saturday, February 8, 2014

Join Us In 2015!

It's official!  We'll be back for the 3rd Annual Florida Gulf Coast Dulcimer Retreat January 29th - February 1st, 2015 at the Homosassa Riverside Resort!  Once again sponsored by Folkcraft Instruments and featuring as instructors Bing Futch, Richard Ash and Guy & Sharrie George.  We'll be doing the Manatee Orchestra again as well as our post-retreat run to Walt Disney World.  Don't miss out on another year of fun!  The information to the right has been updated - get your registration in and your accommodations set soon; we had peak attendance this year and will need to cut off registration at some point.  People are finding out about our fun little secret in Old Florida.

And take a look at some of the pics and video from this year's event!

Day 1 - http://tinyurl.com/FLretreat2014-1

Day 2 - http://tinyurl.com/FLretreat2014-2

Day 3 - http://tinyurl.com/FLretreat2014-3



Monday, February 3, 2014

Day Four: The Sun!


Well, we did manage to get a little sun on the fourth and final day of the retreat.  We control many things, but the weather is not one of them.  At least it wasn't freezing and snowing during our four days of fun; here's hoping that next year is even warmer!

Please think about joining us again next year where we'll have all new workshops, same four instructors.  It's an awesome formula and we'll stick with it.  January 29th - February 1st, 2015!  Thanks again to the Homosassa Riverside Resort for providing an incredible place for us to do this.  Thanks to Folkcraft Instruments for sponsoring the event and to Richard Ash for his fantastic classes, concert performance and assistance with the guests.  thanks to Guy George and Sharrie George for the workshops, wonderful performances and organizational details.  To Allen and Deborah McCord, Tom Ransom, Les Green and all the volunteers who lent a hand to make this retreat really sing a smooth song, THANK YOU!  And to Jae Futch, my wife and my life, thanks for everything you do behind the scenes, and onstage, to bring magic to the events we produce.  Most of all thanks to everyone who attended from near and far!  Please post your pictures of the event and share with others - let them know that we'll be capping attendance next year to keep it intimate, so don't miss out on another fantastic week in Old Florida!

Oh, and Bill Colbert once again has given us permission to use his photos from the retreat.  He did a great job last year, so here are the links to see what Bill saw through his lens.  Thanks, Bill!




Saturday, February 1, 2014

Day Three!



Looking forward to tonight's concert and the debut of the Manatee Orchestra!  Also, be sure to lock in your registration for next year - sign up and pay by the end of the retreat and you're in!

Friday, January 31, 2014

Day Two!


After a chilly, but great, first day - the sun begins to warm us up on the second day as workshops continue in full force!  Awesome jams last night and all you can eat blue crabs for dinner.  Today's a big day of rehearsals for the Manatee Orchestra, which will perform on Saturday night during the concert.  Be sure to share your pictures if you are here with us!  If you're not here, it's not too late to join us for the weekend at a per diem rate of $40 per day!

Thursday, January 30, 2014

Day One: Here We Go!


The first day is here and we're already having a blast!  Many folks had to battle the unusual cold weather to get here and are still arriving due to the frozen roads; we're keeping everyone effected in our thoughts today.

If you're still thinking about joining us - you can!  $40 per diem rate for each day - concert is $10 at 7 pm on Saturday.  Whether you come for a day or for the remaining three - we've got plenty to offer!

Jam tonight at 7 pm during the all you can eat blue crab dinner at the Monkey Bar and Riverside Crab House!

Sunday, January 26, 2014

See Monkeys


When G.A. Furgason bought the land that is now the Homosassa Riverside Resort, he had a potential eyesore in the form of a rock pile in the marina outside of the restaurant.  So, he put a lighthouse on it and then added some local monkeys that he'd been working with.  The result is a longstanding tourist
attraction dubbed "Monkey Island" which is currently home to five spider monkeys named Ralph, Sassy, Ebony, Eve and  Emily.

The monkeys are easily seen from the Riverside Crab House, Monkey Bar, Yardam Lounge or marina and boaters can navigate right up to the island.

Be sure to check out this article on the monkeys and say hello during your stay this week!