For the 2018 Maryland Folk Retreat, we have a wonderful group of instructors with unique backgrounds.
Pat & Patrick Costello:
A father and son team who have together introduced tens of thousands of people around the world to the joy of making music with the guitar and banjo.
Sarah grew up in a musical family and started playing violin and piano and composing at a young age. She attended the preparatory division of New England Conservatory, participating in chamber music, youth orchestra and composition.
While in graduate school studying Arts Integration in Education, Sarah started attending Scottish Fiddle jams and became enchanted with this type of playing.
When she moved to Wichita, Kansas she joined Old Time and Irish fiddle jams. Sarah has taught fiddle workshops around the country and private fiddle, violin, viola and piano lessons to students ages three to ninety-three. She was also the strings instructor at Newman, University in Wichita Kansas, where her original works were performed at faculty concerts.
Sarah writes a wide variety of music ranging from classical to fiddle and she has been featured on several recordings. In addition, she self-published a collection a 103 fiddle tunes. She has been a member of several bands, one of which, Out of the Blue, she formed to perform at Contra Dances. She has also performed in musicals, orchestras, chamber music groups, and a country western band.
Currently Sarah teaches violin at Pritchard Music Academy and is a member of the Columbia Orchestra. In addition to musical pursuits, Sarah enjoys rock climbing, gourmet cooking and writing.
Born and raised in NYC, he now lives in Atlantic City, New Jersey with his wife Kate, two of his three sons, and a small menagerie of pets.
Jared Denhard teaches and performs on banjo, ukulele, Celtic harp, mountain dulcimer, trombone and highland bagpipes. He is the founder and director of the Baltimore Ukulele Symphonette, and a member of the Celtic rock band “O’Malley’s March,” and is one of the music faculty at Stevenson University, Howard Community College and St. Timothy’s School of Baltimore Jared is also an active composer whose works have been performed and recorded by the United States Air Force Band, The Kinetics Dance Theatre, the London Portable Harp Company, and the Annapolis Brass Quintet. Jared is a graduate of the Peabody Conservatory in Baltimore, Maryland.
E. Lowell Jacobs:
Delaware’s ‘sea-level mountaineer’ and our banjo craftsman E. Lowell Jacobs started carving (whittling) his own toys from soft pine produce (‘orange’) crate wood shortly after getting his first pocket knife pre-teen. The boyhood home most remembered among a succession of several was a 20’ x 24’ four room house with a wood stove to heat it and no electricity or running water or plumbing, on two acres of mom’s families old homestead farm immediately adjacent to the Shawnee National Forest in Southern Illinois, roughly east of St Louis Mo and north of Paducah KY. Sputnik in 1957 made Lowell into a civil engineer and he has subsequently worked as such in California, Illinois and Delaware for the last 34 years, but he never really stopped whittling. He has done utilitarian furniture for his family and others, gunstocks, woodcarvings, large scale Church carvings including a full size crucifix, and countless small carvings very similar to those of 50 years ago. When he moved to Delaware and became interested in the five string banjo, and didn’t feel comfortable with the cost of one compared with the needs of his family, he discovered the section on Mountain Style banjos in Book 3 of the Foxfire series which looked like a doable woodworking project, so he built one, then another, and another, and then other styles including 8” piccolos and 11” dowel stick open backs, and a couple of bluegrassers, and one Strad pattern fiddle which doesn’t look very polished but sounds fairly decent, for about 175 instruments total, plus occasional repair work. He wrote several articles about banjo construction for Banjo Newsletter Magazine, and his work was featured on the cover three times. The 8” piccolos were particularly challenging as no parts were commercially available, so he had to build 8” block maple rims, an 8” tone ring, an 8” tension hoop, of course a short scale neck, and for resonator backed instruments, a downsized resonator and one piece flange. He is not amused by people that claim to have reinvented the block maple rim or who claim to be builders and the parts are identifiable as commercial components, and those who say they’ve built say “8” instruments and claim they’re a ‘builder’. Jacobs has more than 175 instruments to his little home basement shop credit and to this day says he doesn’t know exactly how any particular instrument is going to sound until it’s completed and maybe seasoned a bit. There is entirely too much self promotion and mysticism for ego stroking and marketing purposes around. The standard designs that have evolved thru the years are the ones that are going to work well for nearly all of us. Very few of these periodic ‘improvements’ are going to last. It would be a stretch to say Jacobs could probably build a banjo from a tree and a rock, but he’s been closer than most!
Joe and Rosa Hopkins:
Joe and Rosa Hopkins are gospel singers. Rosa Hopkins, by God’s grace, is a prolific songwriter who has written over 1,000 songs in many styles, including Calypso, folk, Celtic, 50s, Alternative, Hard Rock, Reggae, Bluegrass, Country, Rockabilly, Punk, Blues, and more. Joe and Rosa Hopkins play, to various degrees, fiddle, piano, guitar, banjo, harm
onica, ukulele, bass, drums, and mandolin. They are the owners of Great Commission Records, and their three studio albums have received radio airplay on country gospel stations throughout the country. They can be heard weekly on Huntington WV’s 107.9 FM WEMM. Rosa is a writer for the Huffington Post, and her essays have appeared in print media and on her blog, www.gutsychristianity.com. Joe and Rosa enjoy playing country gospel music at nursing homes, churches, and for youth groups throughout Maryland, Pennsylvania, and West Virginia. They live in the hills of West Virginia with their miracle baby, a feisty Jack Russell, and a shapeless hound name Lou. You can find them at: www.youtube.com/joeandrosahopkins.
Guy and Karen Stinson:
Guy and Karen Stinson come to us from the beautiful shores of Lake Michigan. They’ve made Glenn their home for the past 47 years. They are a husband and wife guitar, banjo duo. In the local area they are fondly called The Glennbillies.
Guy comes from a long line of family musicians. Many of his childhood memories are of night long jam sessions with country, folk and classic rock music aplenty. He has been told by many that he is ‘a walking jukebox’.
Karen’s passion for music developed later in life. She first picked up her banjo at the age of 50. She hasn’t stopped adding to her repertoire of songs since she clawed her first string.
As a duo, Guy and Karen share their love of music by presenting volunteer performances at care facilities, schools, churches and community events; tunes for both young and old! In 2017 they made their first journey to the Maryland Folk Retreat and found a wonderful family of fellow musicians to jam with. They are looking forward to the 2018 retreat!