North Shore Music Association Enter

Bluegrass Masters Weekend

28th Annual Bluegrass Masters Weekend: November 2-4, 2018

Celebrate, make music, learn, and listen at the North Shore Music Association’s 28th Annual Bluegrass Masters Weekend! Over a quarter-century of this popular event has been satisfying appetites of bluegrass musicians and fans from all over MN, the U.S., and Canada, who come to listen to and learn with the nation's best bluegrass players and instructors. Three days of jamming, a full day of workshops, and an evening concert by our featured group make for a pickin' weekend in a relaxed setting—a great opportunity to connect with your bluegrass friends.
No matter what the featured instrument is each year, given the ensemble nature of Bluegrass it's a great time for all. It's also a wonderful opportunity for families and friends to get together and get away to Lutsen Resort and the north shore of Lake Superior, stunning at any time of year. See you in November!
More Event Information: call 218-387-1272 or e-mail

Lutsen Resort 1- 888-752-2399, 5700 W. Highway 61, Lutsen, MN
(18 miles south of Grand Marais on Hwy. 61)
Reserve rooms now for your bluegrass weekend at Lutsen Resort on Lake Superior! Don't miss their "3 days for the price of 2" special, for Bluegrass Masters Weekend attendees only. Call (888) 752-2399 for reservations.

The North Shore Music Association, partnering with Lutsen Resort, presents the 28th Bluegrass Masters Weekend on November 2-4. Registration and concert ticket sales are at the event only. There's no max on workshop participants. Just look for our information table in the lobby when you arrive, and we will help you get set with all you need. 

This year the Masters Weekend concentrates on the “vocal instrument," including vocal control, protection, projection, key choice, arrangement, and more. Our “Master” will be Valerie Smith. She is a certified music teacher with a Master's degree in music from the Conservatory of Music at the University of Missouri in Kansas City. With years of experience as a performer, Valerie has information, tips, and instruction that can help you become a better singer and singing partner in your bands and jams.

Valerie wants to cover many issues in her Saturday workshops. They include: Vocal and breathing techniques - relaxation, pitch control, developing range, volume, phrasing, and dynamics; Song selection - relatability, melody, lyrics, and matching your voice capability; Phrasing a song - putting in the emotion and feeling; and Harmony - how it works considering solos, duets, trios, and quartets.

Valerie has gained some remarkable experience since she started her professional musical journey in 1998. Her first mentor, Charlie Louvin, invited her on stage at the Grand Ole Opry, and Alan O’Bryant produced her first album, "Patchwork Heart." Valerie’s hit single, “Red Clay Halo,” written by Gillian Welch and David Rawlings, climbed the Bluegrass Unlimited, Country Music, and Americana reporting charts, receiving heavy radio airplay for five years. Bluegrass Unlimited included the song in their list of the top 60 songs of the decade. Valerie tours internationally, has appeared on several television shows (including Ronnie Reno’s Old Time Music on RFD-TV), and writes, produces, and records with her own Bell Buckle Records.

Valerie is bringing her whole band, Liberty Pike, to jam with and perform for you, and some will join you in the workshop to help with your harmony singing.

Lutsen Resort has a reduced rate for you if you stay at least three days. Jam when you arrive and jam the whole time you stay if you wish, or just come to listen and watch.

Workshops are from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Saturday, and are broken down hourly into several topics. Attendance is unlimited, open to all, and will be $40 for the entire day, or you can attend part of the day at $2/each 15 minutes. The workshop schedule is attached below.

The Concert begins Saturday night, Nov. 3 at 8 p.m. Tickets will be available at the NSMA table in the resort lobby and at the ballroom door: $20/adult and $10 for ages 12 and under.

Call Lutsen Resort at 888-795-7425 or book on line at For more information about the weekend, call the North Shore Music Association director, Kate Fitzgerald at 218-387-2916; email Kate at; call Wayne Russ, at 218-370-8949, or visit our web site at

Saturday Workshop Schedule (Nov. 3)

Singing Workshops with Valerie Smith

9:00 - 9:30: Warm up the voice (bring water)

9:30 - 10:30: Correct Breathing and Placement (bring a trouble song)

10:30 - 11:00: Sing Songs and Practice Techniques Just Covered

11:00 - 12:00: Choosing the Right Song for Your Voice and Style (bring your songs!)

12:00 - 1:30: Lunch

1:30 - 2:30: How to Phrase a Bluegrass Song (bring your songs!)

2:30 - 3:30: Learn the Different Styles of Bluegrass Harmony

3:30 - 3:45: Break

3:45 - 5:00: Vocal Issues and How Do You Prevent Future Problems?

What Happens on Friday and Sunday?

Lots and lots of small-group jamming! Valerie Smith and other band members will join you as you socialize, make music, and relax in your comfortably rustic and beautiful surroundings on the shore of majestic Lake Superior. There are no pre-organized events on these days. 

Calendar of Events
7pm Sones de Mexico Ensemble
Sones de Mexico Ensemble
Sones de Mexico Ensemble
03/01/2019: 7 PM@ Arrowhead Center for the Arts
Sones de Mexico Ensemble is the country's premier folk music organization specializing in Mexican 'son', including the regional styles of huapango, gustos, chilenas, son jarocho, and more. 25 years ago, the group was formed in Chicago to keep the tradition of Mexican 'son' alive in its many regional forms. The two-time Grammy-nominated group has developed and popularized many original arrangements of Mexican traditional tunes and toured nationally and internationally, including performances at the Getty Museum in L.A., New York's Carnegie Hall, and the Kennedy Center in Washington, DC.

While in Grand Marais, Sones de Mexico will perform an Evening Concert of music and dance for the public at the Arrowhead Center for the Arts (51 West 5th St.) on Friday, March 1 at 7 pm. The event is general admission, $15 adults and $5 youth ages 18 and under. General seating. Tickets can be purchased now at www.aca. (no fees), by phone at 218-387-1272, and at the box office on March 1 (opens at 6 pm).

In addition to their evening concert, NSMA will host Sones de Mexico's Music Jam and Dance Class for the general public at the Grand Marais Art Colony from 7 to 9 pm on Thursday, Feb. 28. $5 per person, all ages. Bring your guitar, fiddle, drums, banjo, flute, voice, your name it, and comfy shoes if you want to dance! No reservations – just drop in.

Also while in Grand Marais, the ensemble will teach a two-day residency at Great Expectations School, with themes including Musical Geography of Mexico, Mexican Tragic Ballad Songwriting, Danza de Los Viejitos Maskmaking, and Ancient Aztec Dance. 

These activities are funded in part by the Global Awareness Fund of the Duluth Superior Area Community Foundation.
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