Staff & Instructors

2018 INSTRUCTOR PROFILES

Thorne and Zac

Thorne Ashton

 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.  When not teaching, Thorne will be keeping a watchful eye on everything in camp as Facilities Manager.

Penny Critchlow

Penny Critchlow

Back-up guitar, harmony singing, Old-time dance caller

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 for our contra dance.

dave-gamble

Dave Gamble

Classical Guitar

Dave Gamble has been teaching music in Bakersfield and Tehachapi for approximately 18 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.

Michael Gutin

Accordion

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

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.

 Zac Leger

Zach LegerCeltic Guitar, Bodhran,  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.”

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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.

 Ellen Ramirez

Ukulele

Ellen Ramirez joins us again this year  as one of our ukulele instructors. She comes from Santa Barbara, Ca where she has been studying, playing, and teaching others how to play the ukulele, for the last 9 years. Ellen teaches a very popular class in Santa Barbara, called “Strumming the Ukulele with Ellen” and will be one of the featured instructors at this year’s L.A. International Ukulele Festival this September 2o18.  She has taught many people to take their ukulele strumming to the next level. She looks forward to doing the same with this year’s camp attendee’s.

 

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.

Amy R. Rodriguez

Finger picking Ukulele/Acorn Program Director                 

Beginning on flute and moving on to oboe at the age of 12, Amy learned to play 8 different instruments proficiently by the time she graduated high school. Amy holds a degree in music from Central Missouri State University, where she studied classical oboe from Dr. Andrew Brown for over 10 years. Although she specializes in woodwinds, she also plays guitar, bass, violin, dulcimer, ukulele, and percussion. Amy has taught private music lessons for 25 years, and currently teaches a wide variety of beginning/intermediate lessons at Mountain Music in Tehachapi. Amy enjoys teaching and playing a wide variety of music generes, but will always be a ” rockin’ country girl” at heart.

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,  Guitar, Percussion, Songwriting

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.

2018 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.”

Amy R. Rodriguez

Acorn Program Director/Food Service Manager

Beginning on flute and moving on to oboe at the age of 12, Amy learned to play 8 different instruments proficiently by the time she graduated high school. Amy holds a degree in music from Central Missouri State University, where she studied classical oboe from Dr. Andrew Brown for over 10 years. Although she specializes in woodwinds, she also plays guitar, bass, violin, dulcimer, ukulele, and percussion. Amy has taught private music lessons for 25 years, and currently teaches a wide variety of beginning/intermediate lessons at Mountain Music in Tehachapi. Amy enjoys teaching and playing a wide variety of music generes, but will always be a ” rockin’ country girl” at heart.

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. 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!