Staff & Instructors

2017 INSTRUCTOR PROFILES

Thorne and Zac

Thorne Ashton

Beginning Mandolin

Thorne Ashton is a regular part of the Tehachapi traditional music scene, and part of the “House Band” at Fiddlers Crossing. He loves singing old-time and bluegrass songs and playing guitar, mandolin and fiddle in jam sessions. His twins, Zac and Zoe, will be participating in Acorns, and when not teaching, Thorne will be keeping a watchful eye on everything in camp as Facilities Manager.

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Suzanne Botha

Fiddle

Music has been an inspirational force in Suzanne’s life from the time she started playing violin at age eight. Upon moving to Tehachapi at age ten, Suzanne quickly became involved in the local classical and traditional music scene. She played in the Tehachapi Symphony, was the first concertmaster of TPOPS (The Tehachapi Pops Orchestra), and a member of several traditional music groups. She holds a bachelors in Music Education from CSU Bakersfield, and has been teaching violin, viola and piano in Tehachapi and Fresno to students of all ages and skill levels for 12 years. With an open mind to learning, Suzanne loves to share music with the world.

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Kerry Patrick Clark

Songwriting, contemporary (pop) guitar, performance workshop

Kerry Patrick Clark is an award-winning singer-songwriter, with chart-topping singles in the Country, American and Folk genres. For three decades, his music has celebrated all that is good in us, with themes that resonate with humility, love, healing and giving across the lines that would try to divide us. He was a member of the folk group the New Christy Minstrels. His songs have been used in film and TV. His song, “Ground Zero,” was included on Wolf Blitzer’s CNN special commemorating the six-month milestone after the terrorist attack on the World Trade Center on September 11, 2001. He has been called “a musical Norman Rockwell” for his honest, often humorous, depiction of everyday life.

Penny Critchlow

Penny Critchlow

Back-up guitar, harmony singing, Old-time dance styles, Acorn Program crafts

Penny Critchlow is a long- time resident of North Fork, CA in the mountains of Eastern Madera County. She is an award-winning singer as well as a dance caller and guitarist. She regularly performs with Mark Olson in their duo, “Twice as Nice,” at festivals and camps, including the Berkeley Old-time Music Convention and as part of the contra dance band at the Strawberry Music Festival. The two have lately been adding vintage country and bluegrass songs and tunes to their repertoire. At Camp Kiya, Penny will share her multiple talents by teaching back-up guitar, harmony singing and Old-time dance styles. She will also serve as a dance caller and as an arts and crafts teacher in the children’s Acorn program.

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Amy Doyal Rodriguez

Acorn Program Director

Amy has been playing multiple instruments since she was 13. She specializes in winds, including oboe, flute and saxophone, along with percussion. Since has been teaching children since she was 19. Since coming to Tehachapi and working at Mountain Music, she has added violin, guitar and ukulele. This is her third year at Camp Kiya, and in her words, the Acorn program this year will “ROCK.” Amy is a member of TPOPS and Lancaster Community Orchestra, and holds a degree in music from Central Missouri State University.

SteveEubergSteve Eulberg

Mountain & Hammered Dulcimer

Steve Eulberg is a master player and teacher of both mountain and hammered dulcimers, based in the Bay Area. Raised in Pemberville, Ohio, he was exposed to music at an early age, first piano, then trumpet. At one point he borrowed his mother’s ukulele and taught himself to play it, along with guitar and harmonica. He discovered the dulcimer family in college, and learned how to make his own. An Award-winning multi-instrumentalist and singer-songwriter, Steve has sung and composed for religious communities, union halls, picket lines, inter-faith retreats, mountain-top youth camps, as well as the more familiar venues: clubs, coffeehouses, bookstores, festivals, charity benefits and showcase concerts. He holds a Masters in Music Education degree from Boston University. His mother was happy when he took up the dulcimer so she could get her ukulele back. Find Steve online at owlmountainmusic.com.

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Dave Gamble

Guitar

Dave Gamble has been teaching music in Bakersfield and Tehachapi for approximately 15 years. He obtains a B.A. in Music Education from CSUB and has worked for several schools and organizations throughout Kern County. Mr. Gamble has been playing guitar professionally for over 30 years. He has recorded and performed with several different ensembles throughout his career and enjoys playing a vast array of musical styles that incorporate acoustic and electric guitar. He is most comfortable playing rock, classical, blues, country, folk, jazz, and pop, to name a few.

Diane Grotjohn

Diane Grotjohn

Beginning/intermediate Irish Whistle

Diane Grotjohn has been a professional educator for 30 years. She is the founder of Pint of Irish, a non-profit organization in the High Desert area around Victorville formed in 2011 to promote Celtic music. The organization provides music lessons and workshops, gives concerts and holds jam sessions for High Desert Celtic musicians. Diane also plays the Irish whistle in a local band and in sessions around Southern California.  She has  taught whistle classes in schools and in a variety of camps, including Lark Camp, for several years.

Michael Gutin

Accordion “From Scratch” to advanced

Accordion firebrand Michael Gutin hails from Santa Barbara, CA, where he is in demand for contra dances and all manner of events and festivities. It might seem unusual for the accordion to be such a popular attraction at a fiddle camp, but Michael can play anything on the squeeze box, from “Light My Fire” to fiddle tunes. He will again teach a workshop on playing music for contra dances, as well as giving everyone a “hands-on” opportunity to tickle the accordion keys.

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Deborah Hand

Improvisation, Mountain Dulcimer

Deborah Hand has been singing and playing cello, ukulele and guitar from her early childhood, and mountain dulcimer for the last few years.  She is the owner of Mountain Music, co-owner with her husband, Peter Cutler, of Fiddlers Crossing, and a former Mayor and Council member of the City of Tehachapi. She has performed with the Scottish Fiddlers of Los Angeles on bass, cello and guitar (not at the same time!), as well as with other local bands and orchestras. She teaches cello and mountain dulcimer at Mountain Music.

Jon HammondJon Hammond

Nature and Native American Culture

Jon Hammond has lived in Tehachapi all his life and writes a weekly column for the Tehachapi News on nature, and local history. He speaks and teaches the native Kawaiisu language.

Susie HastingsSusie Hastings

Hammered Dulcimer

Susie Hastings has being playing the piano since she was a child. She took up the hammered dulcimer when in high school. She is a retired school teacher from Los Angeles, and loves teaching about the hammered dulcimer and how to play it.

Ann JonesAnn Jones

Beginning Mountain Dulcimer

Ann was in the last class of local Mountain Dulcimer Guru Al Crisalli Jr., who was a student of Janita Baker. Al passed on in 2013, and Ann, along with Jon Hammond and Deborah Hand, are maintaining his legacy in Tehachapi.

Zac Leger

Zach LegerCeltic Guitar, Bodhran, Advanced Whistle  

Zac Leger has toured, performed and taught music all over the U.S.,   Canada and Ireland, and currently resides in Los Angeles. He has won numerous medals on various instruments from both the U.S. and Ireland, and is one of the few Americans to hold a prestigious All-Ireland medalon the uilleann pipes. Zac has recorded on over a dozen albums and has on the uilleann pipes. Zac has recorded on over a dozen albums and has played, recorded and performed with numerous world-renowned musicians, including Eileen Ivers, Jamie Laval, and the Irish-based show “Celtic Crossroads.”

Ken Leiboff

Harmonica

Ken Leiboff, AKA “Campfire Ken, the banjo sing-along guy,”  is a multi-instrumentalist who has been playing with Tehachapi musicians for years. As a member of Planet he performs on harmonica with local singer-songwriter Gary Mazzola.  He is fluent in both chromatic and diatonic (blues) harmonica. For 15 years, as Campfire Ken, he entertained children in the Yosemite and San Francisco Bay areas. Now a resident of Newbury Park in Ventura County, Ken plays and records with various singer-songwriters in Southern CA. Whether harmonica, banjo, guitar, or ukulele, Ken plays for fun, and takes his fun seriously.

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Aedan MacDonnell

Harp, back-up piano, Cape Breton step-dancing

Aedan MacDonnell taught herself to play piano and read music at the age of seven. She went on to study classical piano for the next ten years, along with tap and ballet. In her early 20′s she found Celtic music and the harp, and fell in love with both. Aedan initially studied Celtic harp with Deborah Friou. She went on to study harp in Ireland from Máire Ní Chathasaigh. Over the past 20 years, she has opened for Scotland’s Battlefield Band, and has played on radio shows, public television, and festivals. She learned Cape Breton step dance from various teachers, and performs it in her own style, as well as teaching the basics.

Mark Olsen

Mark Olson

Old-time fiddle, mandolin, harmony singing

Old-time fiddler Mark Olson hails from North Fork, CA, in the Central Sierra Nevada Mountains. He has played in dance bands and in concerts for many years, winning awards along the way from various camps and festivals, including Strawberry Music Festival, the Grass Valley Bluegrass Festival, and the Berkeley Old-Time Music Convention. Mark has a varied repertoire that includes tunes from the Carter Family, the Louvin Brothers and others, as well as unnamed tunes from old-time “back-porch” fiddlers he has met and played with over the years. Mark plays with Penny Critchlow in a duo, “Twice as Nice,” and will join her in teaching harmony singing and leading the dance band at Camp Kiya.

Maury RichmondMaury Richmond

Scottish Fiddle, Beginning-Intermediate Fiddle

Maury Richmond grew up in Hawaii where he learned to play the violin at an early age.  He was a school principal in Europe for many years and played with local orchestras, including the Orchestra de Camera in Madrid and the Zaragoza Symphony. For 40 years, he lived part of the year in a mountain village in Northern Spain and gave village concerts throughout the region under the auspices of the Spanish Ministry of Culture.  Maury discovered Celtic fiddling 30 years ago when watching Alasdair Fraser perform. He has since learned from and played with both Fraser and Martin Hayes. He has been in several Celtic bands including Celtic Blue, Paint-A-Rose, Golden Bough, and SFLA as well as touring Scotland with a Scottish band. He also had a long career as an educator in Europe, and taught fiddle for many years at the Claremont Music Festival.

Scott SparlingScott Sparling

Banjo

Scott Sparling plays banjo and sings with the local bluegrass/gospel group, the Bear Mountain Boys. He plays and teaches both clawhammer and finger style banjo, and will get students playing old-time tunes after the first lessons.

Jan Tappan

Scottish Fiddle, Learning to play by ear

Jan Tappan is an internationally known Scottish fiddler, educator, competition judge, performer and composer. She counts John Turner, Alasdair Fraser and Alastair Hardie among her mentors. Jan was a founding member of the Scottish Fiddlers of Los Angeles, and assumed the role of director in 1989. She was also one of the founders of Alasdair Fraser’s prestigious Valley of the Moon Fiddle Camp in Northern California. She has taught Scottish fiddle workshops across the U.S., and also teaches private lessons. Jan started Fiddlers Crossing in 1986, selling Scottish music and books. Several years ago she sold it to Debby Hand as part of Mountain Music, and it is now a venue for traditional music concerts.

Max ValentinoMax Valentino

Bass Guitar,  Percussion

Bass Guitarist Max Valentino brings an entirely new dimension to the role of “Bass Player”. With an inventive “chord-melody” technique, coupled with judicious use of digital looping technology, Max re-defines the capabilities of music performed on a four string acoustic-electric bass guitar. As a solo bass guitarist Max, has performed at numerous music festivals including the Millpond Music Festival, Big Sur Experimental Music Festival, and the Santa Cruz International Music Festival. As a studio and session musician he has worked with artists ranging from Martin Simpson to Ziggy Marley to Bill Frisell. Max is currently the “house bassist” at Buck Owens’ Crystal Palace in Bakersfield, CA where he has backed up a wide range of today’s country music stars including Brad Paisley and Dierks Bentley.

Alex Wilson

Cello

Alex Wilson has been a student of Natalie Haas at Valley of the Moon. He is a professional cellist, playing classical music with the Bakersfield Symphony and other groups, and alternative and Celtic cello styles in a duo with fellow cellist Erin Esse. He will teach tunes as well as backup styles for traditional music. Alex teaches cello in Bakersfield, both privately and in the schools.

2017 STAFF

Deborah Hand

Director

Deborah Hand started Camp Kiya as a two-day fiddle workshop in 2009.  She is the owner of Mountain Music, co-owner with her husband, Peter Cutler, of Fiddlers Crossing, and a former Mayor and Council member of the City of Tehachapi.  She is also the founder of TPOPS, the Tehachapi Pops Orchestra.  She teaches  mountain dulcimer and cello at Mountain Music. 

Peter Cutler

Sound Engineer

Peter Cutler has been the engineer for the internationally syndicated radio show FolkScene for nearly 40 years. During that time, he has recorded many of the greatest singer-songwriters and traditional musicians. He and his wife, Debby Hand, run Fiddlers Crossing, a venue that is keeping live acoustic music alive and well in Tehachapi. Peter is also an accomplished singer and guitarist. He and Debby perform as “Occasional Folk.”

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Amy Rodriguez

Acorn Program Director/Managing Director

Amy has been playing multiple instruments since she was 13. She specializes in winds, including oboe, flute and saxophone, along with percussion. She has been teaching children since she was 19. Since coming to Tehachapi and working at Mountain Music, she has added violin, guitar and ukulele. This is her fifth year at Camp Kiya, and in her words, the Acorn program this year will “ROCK.” Amy is a member of TPOPS Community Orchestra, and holds a degree in music from Central Missouri State University.

Thorne AshtonThorne and Zac

Facilities Manager

Thorne Ashton is a regular part of the Tehachapi traditional music scene, and part of the “House Band” at Fiddlers Crossing. He loves singing old-time and bluegrass songs and playing guitar, mandolin and fiddle in jam sessions. His twins, Zac and Zoe, will be participating in Acorns, and when not teaching, Thorne will be keeping a watchful eye on everything in camp as Facilities Manager.

Marcy Luikart

Accounting

Marcy Luikart is the owner of Monarch Office Services, Inc, a bookkeeping payroll and tax service in Santa Barbara.  She is also a writer.  Her short stories have appeared in many literary magazines and her novel RiverBraids was recently published.  She is an aspiring fiddle player and has spent the past 18 months making her own violin. It will soon be completed and she will be playing it at Camp Kiya this summer!