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Would you travel to Australia for a dulcimer retreat?  

You might have noticed the Australian Dulcimer Retreat listed on this website's list of festivals. @Adrian and I are hosting this dulcimer retreat at our place in Daylesford, Victoria, Australia. Our "day job" is to run our group accommodation business at Tasma House and Gardens. We aren't normally involved with the groups who stay on the property....we just prepare it for them and clean up after them.....we appreciate the business, but we don't have much fun doing that. We live in a small cottage on the property and come-and-go separately from "the main house."  So, we have decided to create our own event and reserve the whole property for our own use: the first Australian Dulcimer Retreat! We have the wonderful Australian musician/dulcimer player, Lucy Wise, lined-up to be the main instructor for the event, August 28-30, 2020. (September 1st is the beginning of Springtime in Australia....it should be beautiful!)

I know a lot of people might want to and think they could never travel all the way to Australia. I'm just wondering if our hosting (in our home, basically), the focus on the dulcimer, and a reasonable cost for our event, would make the idea more doable. Adrian and I live half the year here in Australia and the other half in Clarksdale, Mississippi; we do the long travel a couple of times each year. It IS a long commute, but we are physically able (and thankful for that) to do it! 

We don't travel with our dulcimers, to protect them. We have quite a few dulcimers here at Tasma, and we would be happy for participants to borrow one for the Australian Dulcimer Retreat. Especially, if they're flying in from overseas! 

And...if you don't mind....I am going to be building an event page and/or website to provide details about our first Australian dulcimer retreat, and I would appreciate input as to what information you would like or need to know before booking your ticket(s). Questions about accommodation can be answered by looking at Tasma House on Airbnb.com, disregarding the cost shown there, as there will be a minimal per-person accommodation charge for participants for this retreat. (Normally, we rent to one person who books the property for many guests, so the price might look odd.) The cost for the retreat will be shown on the website and/or Facebook event page that I create. Although it's not confirmed yet, I think the cost will be between $300-$400 and accommodation would be included on a first-come-first-serve basis, according to registrations.

It would be great to hear what your ideas are.

Here are a few photos to get you thinking....

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Carla

It looks like a great place to have a Retreat.  I'm probably not going to be able to attend but I hope you have many people attend and have a great time.  Here are some thoughts for information people will need to know.

Which airport will be the most likely airport for people from other countries?

How far is the airport from Daylseford?

What are the transportation options to and from the airport?  We hosted people from Japan last Fall at the East Tennessee Bowed Psaltery Gathering.  They wanted to take a cab but there was no cab service to a small town 40 miles north of the airport in Knoxville, TN.  They also wanted to walk daily from the hotel to the Gathering pavilion, but walking was not a good option.  If more than two people would have been coming from Japan, I was going to rent a van.  For just two people, I provided all of their transportation needs.

Are meals provided at the Retreat?  What options are available for transportation and meals not provided at the Retreat?  Are meals available for people with special dietary needs?

Are people who speak a different language going to attend?  We were fortunate that the people from Japan who came to our Gathering spoke very good English.  Otherwise, we would have needed to explore options for how to manage communication.

Are people who have special needs going to attend the Retreat?  A person with a vision impairment might need special instruction materials and/or help getting to and from locations.  Are all locations wheel chair accessible?

These are some thoughts off the top of my head.  I'll add more thoughts if more come to mind.

Dave 

 

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Thank you for your input, Dave! Transportation and meals will be described in our website(s), for sure. The language barrier problem had not been considered, yet, though. Thank you for your insight on that. At least music is the universal language and a great place to start! :classic_smile: We can only hope for the problem of needing a translator for English. Sometimes, I am my husband's translator, as his Australian accent is not always understood in the Mississippi Delta where we live 6 months of each year. He gets a lot of blank-stares and "say what?" responses, but I'm happy to translate! :classic_laugh: But everyone there understands his music! 

We will, indeed, let potential participants know about the layout of the Tasma House and Gardens property, as we do all our guests in our accommodation business. There are up-to-three steps to enter (as well as inside) the housing areas, because of the hill on which the house was built in the early 1900's. All areas are not wheelchair accessible, as we are not a public facility; we are inviting people into our home. We advise all our guests of the layout of the house and bungalows and suggest that people with special needs will manage well with their own carers, if they want to be here. We don't mean to sound harsh or uncaring. We have had visits from an Australian friend who lives life in a wheelchair as a quadriplegic. He has visited our home in Clarksdale and our home here in Daylesford and managed to get around where he wanted to go with the help of his carer. 

I hadn't thought of the vision impairment problem either, but it is something to consider. My husband and I will address that problem, if it arises. A friend in Clarksdale is legally blind, but she is a musician/visual artist/professor at a local college and has amazing paintings on exhibit and for sale throughout each year. We get to see her enjoying life and dealing with her visual impairment by making decisions that are right for her. Hopefully, if visual impairment is a problem for a participant, the matter will be dealt with between the person and their instructor, at our future events.

The visual impairment consideration reminds me of a major factor about the workshops that my husband and I will be hosting in Australia and in the U.S.A. We will, of course, allow TAB and music notation in all workshops that we host, but we will not require it or emphasise it, as my husband does not read or write music, and I don't have too much patience for it these days -- and neither one of us wants to be left out of learning new music. I have learned to enjoy playing music without the stress/worry of either form of musical notation, although I'll admit that singing and playing by ear without a written reference can be a stressor (for the player and for the listener), if FUN is not a priority!  So, thank you for the reminder to make that clear! And thanks, again, for your suggestions.

 

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That's a beautiful venue you have and it's a great opportunity for combining international travel with playing dulcimer. 😃  I would love to go if I can make everything come together.  I haven't visited Australia before and it would an exciting place to visit.

Have you lined instructors and classes up?  I remember seeing an event last year hosted in the UK (Nonesuch dulcimer club, I think?) that has instructors from the US.  I can imagine some might enjoy doing lessons in Australia as well!  Are there many local dulcimer clubs there?

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52 minutes ago, Admin said:

Have you lined instructors and classes up?  I remember seeing an event last year hosted in the UK (Nonesuch dulcimer club, I think?) that has instructors from the US.  I can imagine some might enjoy doing lessons in Australia as well!  Are there many local dulcimer clubs there?

We have not confirmed any other instructors, but we are hoping to bring in at least one instructor from the U.S.A. Since this is our year of first events (the first Delta Blues Dulcimer Revival in Clarksdale, MS, and the first Australian Dulcimer Retreat in Daylesford, VIC), we're taking it slowly and posting the information as we get it confirmed. We know this will most-likely be a small gathering which is perfect for our location. I think we have plenty of room to house participants and instructors who sign-up early, and Daylesford is a fabulous holiday town with thousands of beds rented as vacation rentals. If we don't have enough room for later registrants, there will be someplace available nearby. As soon as we confirm our price and schedule, we will set-up an online ticket system and start accepting registrations.

There are no dulcimer clubs that I know of here in Victoria. I'm hoping there will be enough local dulcimer interest to launch a club after this first dulcimer retreat, keeping alive the enthusiasm for the instrument. That's how the Memphis Area Mountain Dulcimer Club started in 2002, after the first Memphis Dulcimer Gathering with Larry Conger.

We especially need people like you to attend with your interest in combining a desire to learn more about the dulcimer with your desire to visit Australia! 

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