2018 Instructors

Yes, we have our favorites: talented, experienced instructors whom we can count on to deliver the fine educational experience our attendees have become accustomed to. But we also like to shake it up a little every year by adding a few new folks or bringing back some long lost friends. The net result is a teaching team that will deliver exactly what you want and deserve: excellent instruction, engagement, variety, and a rip-roaring good time. Here, then, is the staff (so far) for 2018.

Kevin Carroll

jifkogfiddjpfbbkIt was James Hill who first suggested we bring Kevin Carroll, from Austin, Texas, on board, and are we ever glad that we did.  Kevin continues to dazzle us with his enthusiasm, skill, generosity, and teaching style.  His talent and breadth are phenomenal: everything from  Texas-based music, blues, soul, funk, slide ukulele, family music facilitation, ukulele ensembles, in addition to teaching beginners of all ages! And he is always bringing us something brand new, which helps make each of our retreats the best retreat we’ve ever had. Along with his terrific credentials (which include being a professional educator), Kevin, who has been called the “Pied Piper of ‘ukulele players” by the Austin-American Statesman, has recently launched an ukulele-based, music education charity called edUKEcation.org which brings lessons and instruments to schools and students with limited resources. Need I say more? Kevin is another keeper and a perfect match for us.


Phil Doleman

downloadWe were the first to bring Phil Doleman, the quintessential Englishman and international ukulele super-star, to the U.S. three  years ago and see no reason to stop. As an instructor he brings incredible experience, skill, knowledge, and charm and has the ability to reduce even the most advanced concepts into terms we can all understand. And as a performer, he is just plain fun. On top of that, it turns out that we, apparently, exceeded all of his expectations! Stunned by the skill and musicianship of many of our more advanced students, Phil jumped at the chance to come back again (in a lifeboat, if necessary), bringing a boatload of new and more advanced material, along with a few other “ideas.” Blimey, Phil. I can’t wait!


Jim D’Ville

Jim D’Ville, The “Energizer Bunny” of the ‘Ukulele World,  has helped define the West Coast ‘Ukulele Retreat since the beginning with his energetic, paperless string-a-longs and his passion for saving our trees by encouraging and teaching us all to Play By Ear. Last year he also took on our iconic flash mob, complete with tuba and glockenspiel, and brought down the Crocker Dining Room with Oh! How Happy. And who else but someone with Jim’s talent and crazy energy could create such fabulous camp videos in such a short time? And do you want to know one of the best-kept secrets about Jim D’Ville?  He is an amazing musician. We’re keeping him.


Dave Egan

Photo by Craig Chee 2Dave Egan,  was already  indispensable to the West Coast ‘Ukulele Retreat as an instructor and as our sound man extraordinaire when he  added the “recording studio” to his teaching repertoire. It’s a West Coast keeper, for sure, and unique to this event. But there’s way more to Dave than a trained ear and compassionate recording skills.  He is also a caring and thoughtful  instructor for players of all levels. (And he plays all kinds of instruments, as well!) Known for making explanations clear and logical and making the entire retreat experience fun (and professional), Dave’s goal, always, is to make sure you play and sound your best.  Click here to learn more about Dave, and most specifically, the recording studio he sets up for us at Asilomar each year.

Nancy Piver

One of our original attendees,  Nancy Piver (rhymes with “diver) transitioned into the role of student-instructor at the West Coast ‘Ukulele Retreat three years ago when she started teaching the  increasingly popular “uke-stra” workshop. Now we’re making it it official. Nancy has been tickling the ivories since she was four years old and was awarded her first music scholarship at age seven. So, it’s no surprise to learn that she also picked up the accordion, violin, string bass, banjo, and, of course, the ‘ukulele.  But it is arranging music that is Nancy’s passion, and music of the Ragtime era holds a special place in her heart, as evidenced by last year’s stunning performance of “The Entertainer,” in five ‘ukulele parts! (Those of us in the audience kept looking for the piano player we could have sworn we heard.) She was also the arranger of Hal Leonard’s Flower Power for ‘Ukulele, thirty groovy hits from the Sixties and is the music director of the SLO Strummers, the Ukulele Society of the California Central Coast. We are delighted to have her join us, once again, and can’t wait to see what her uke-stra comes up with this year.


Lynn Shipley- Sokolow

Few people infuse their playing and teaching with as much fun, talent, and compassion as Lynn Shipley-Sokolow whose musical career is long and varied, from playing electric bass in the rock bands of her youth, to playing upright bass and banjo in a contemporary Bluegrass band. And while most of us know Lynn as an accomplished musician and bass player, Lynn is also an award-winning poet, song writer, and lyricist, and will be bringing all those talents, and more, to the West Coast ‘Ukulele Retreat this year.

In addition to being available for any and all attendees needing bass accompaniment, Lynn will be teaching several bass workshops to students of all skill levels.  She will also be sharing songwriting ideas and techniques and offering critiques and encouragement for works in progress.  To find out more about the numerous bass classes and workshops Lynn will be teaching at Asilomar this year, please click here.


Fred Sokolow

How could we possibly celebrate the Summer of Love without including Fred Sokolow? (The question is, does he still have that shirt?)  Fred is the author of nearly two hundred instruction books and videos for guitar, ukulele, banjo, Dobro, mandolin, lap steel, and ukulele (including the best-selling Fretboard Roadmaps) that are sold all over the world.  He has, over the years, also been the leader of numerous bluegrass, jazz, and rock bands and has been the sideman for music luminaries such as  Bobbie Gentry, Jim Stafford, Tom Paxton, Jody Stecher, The Limeliters, and Ian Whitcomb. Fred has played dobro for Chubby Checker and Jerry Garcia, mandolin for Rick James, lap steel in the Tonight Show Band,  and banjo on the Gong Show!

While his musical mastery knows no bounds, Fred’s teaching chops, in demand from California to London (and points in between), are every bit as impressive.  He is committed to his students’ success and is generous with his time and talent. Whether he’s playing ukulele instrumentals, Delta bottleneck blues, bluegrass or old-time banjo, 30’s swing guitar or screaming rock solos, Fred Sokolow does it with authenticity and passion.  And that’s what we are looking for at the West Coast ‘Ukulele Retreat.


Rhan Wilson


Rhan Wilson, recently voted the “Best Music Instructor” in Santa Cruz County, brings nearly 50 years of music study and passion to the party, along with a desire to make sure that everyone plays and performs to their top potential and everything and everyone meets his exacting standards….me included! And after last year’s stellar Battle of the Ukulele Bands performance, I’m pretty sure everyone will want to be in Rhan’s band this year.  In addition to co-leading the Sunday morning gospel sing-a-longs in Santa Cruz, Rhan is the publisher of the Uke-List; author  of “All in Good Time,” a book about playing music for the aspiring ukulele musician; and the director of Santa Cruz’s All in Good Time Orchestra. He brings passion and commitment (and songs in minor keys) to everything he does, and we’re happy to keep him, again and again.


Rick Zeek

img_0566-683x1024Rick Zeek is a man of so many talents, we have lost count! Not only is he a singer and song-leader extraordinaire, as a professional (and very creative) stage manager, always ready and willing to go the extra mile, he gives our evening performances a dazzling and memorable ambiance. Along with Rhan Wilson, Rick co-leads the increasingly popular “Matthew, Mark, UKE and John” gospel sing-a-longs, which they will be bringing to Asilomar the last morning of the retreat. (Another good reason to hang around Asilomar on Sunday morning this year.) And, as an accomplished vocalist and song writer, Rick will be sharing those skills with our attendees, as well. Everything Rick touches is just made better.

That’s it for now.  But don’t forget, we still have a few tricks up our sleeve to make sure this year’s West Coast ‘Ukulele Retreat is the best one, yet!  Stay tunes. Or, better yet, register now!

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