North Coast Mandolin Summit

It's a mandolin weekend! Saturday afternoon we are hosting workshops with Matt Flinner and Sims Delaney-Potthoff. That night, we're hosting  a concert with two great mandolin-centered bands, the Matt Flinner Trio and Harmonious Wail. On Sunday morning, there will be a jam session and Sims (and the rest of Harmonious Wail) are available for private lessons.



The Matt Flinner Trio pulls together elements of bluegrass, jazz, and chamber music using mandolin, guitar, and upright bass. Harmonious Wail plays gypsy swing and features a Jethro Burns protégé on mandolin, a dynamite vocalist, and a killer bass player.

See our Upcoming page for more info on the concert.



From 1:30pm to 6:00pm we are hosting workshops with Matt Flinner and Sims Delaney-Potthoff (Harmonious Wail’s mandolinist). This is your chance to study with two great mandolinists for an afternoon. Together, they cover an amazing range of music, from bluegrass to jazz to classical.

The workshops will be great for mandolinists of all stripes. There will be three time slots, with two workshops offered in each. We will schedule the workshops based on participant interest.

The workshops are:

Technique, Tone, and Timing (Matt)
  • Get a pro tune-up of your mandolin fundementals – or get started on the right foot!
Improvising Gypsy Jazz Solos (Sims)
  • Gypsy jazz seems to be more popular than ever and its vocabulary is all over modern acoustic music. Learn to create gypsy jazz mandolin solos from a master.
Increase Your Chordal & Rhythmic Vocabulary: From Chop to Pompe (Sims)
  • Learn new chord voicings and rhythm patterns to add color and flexibility to your rhythm playing.
Double Stops and Position Playing (Matt)
  • These techniques are the building blocks of many a great solo, especially in bluegrass. Double stops are especially effective at breaking ruts!
How to Make a Band Click (Sims)
  • Few things are as marvelous as playing in an ensemble where everyone is in the flow. Get practical tips on how to make that happen.
Introduction to Classical Mandolin (Matt)
  • From Chris Thile’s recordings of Bach to Matt’s work with the grammy-nominated Modern Mandolin Quartet, classical mandolin is hot! This session will focus on the essentials of classical mandolin and how they can be applied to other styles.

In addition to the workshops, Sims (and the other members of Harmonious Wail) are available for individual lessons on the morning after the concert (Sunday November 9th). Email for more info.

Sunday Morning Jam Session

For those who want even more 8-stringed excitement (especially out-of-town visitors), there will be a jam session for workshop participants on Sunday morning (the 9th). This will be a chance to hang out and play with other mandolinists and stretch out Saturday’s fun.

Cost & Registration

The afternoon of workshops is $70 (all to the musicians!) and the workshop and concert package is $85. 

Space is limited! Please email to register for the Saturday afternoon workshops, reserve seats for the Saturday evening concert, or get additional information about individual Sunday morning lessons with Sims or other members of Harmonious Wail.


Matt Flinner

Multi-instrumentalist Matt Flinner has made a career out of playing acoustic music in new ways. Starting out as a banjo prodigy who was playing bluegrass festivals before he entered his teens, Flinner later took up the mandolin, won the National Banjo Contest at Winfield Kansas in 1990, and took the mandolin award there the following year. Since then, he has become recognized as one of the premiere mandolinists as well as one of the finest new acoustic/roots music composers today. He has toured and recorded with a wide variety of bluegrass, new acoustic, classical and jazz artists, including Tim O’Brien, Frank Vignola, Steve Martin, Darrell Scott, the Modern Mandolin Quartet, Dave Douglas, and Leftover Salmon. His current group, the Matt Flinner Trio (with guitarist Ross Martin and bassist Eric Thorin), has forged new pathways in acoustic string band music with their two ground-breaking CDs, “Music du Jour” and “Winter Harvest”. He is also a noted instructor and, in addition to his online bluegrass school, has taught at NashCamp and Swannanon Gathering.


Sims Delaney-Potthoff

Sims Delaney-Potthoff, Harmonious Wail’s founder, leader and mandolinist, credits Jethro Burns with his enticing style of mandolin-driven gypsy-jazz. Sims studied for seven years with Burns, the legendary jazz mandolinist, laying the foundation for Harmonious Wail’s unique acoustic string sound. He furthered his studies with Matt Glaser at Boston’s Berklee College of Music, honing his skills while immersing himself in the “gypsy” music of Django Reinhardt and Stephane Grappelli (Lester Young, Charlie Parker, Bireli Lagrene, Duane Allman, David Grisman, and Louis Armstrong are also on his list of musical heroes). Sims also plays tenor guitar (GDAE), sings, writes and arranges for the Wail. He has taught mandolin and ukulele all over the country.


Plan Your Visit to Cleveland

The workshops and concert are set to be held in our 100 year-old home, where we’ve been hosting house concerts since 2011. It is large and has many interesting architectural details. (If there is a lot of interest, we may find a bigger site nearby.)

The activities will be in Ohio City, a neighborhood with a thriving bar and restaurant scene, Cleveland’s famous West Side Market, and easy access to I-90, I-71, and downtown Cleveland. Here is a guide to Ohio City.

Cleveland offers big city attractions with small city convenience (and prices!). It’s strong restaurant scene has been featured in the New York Times. It has the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum and has the great (and free) Cleveland Museum of Art. Click here for more info on visiting Cleveland. 

There are three bed and breakfasts in Ohio City:
Clifford House
J. Palen House
Stone Gables Bed & Breakfast

There is also an unusually nice hostel in the neighborhood:
The Cleveland Hostel

We are a 10 minute drive from any of the hotels in downtown Cleveland, so those are also good options.

We hope you can join us for this afternoon and evening of mandolin bliss!


Please email for more info or to reserve your spot.

Cleveland Chops!

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