Lee Ritenour performing at the 2011 COC Guitar Festival

Lee Ritenour performing at the 2011 COC Guitar Festival
Photo © Brenda Ahearn

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David Feffer

Crown of the Continent Guitar Foundation


650 Latigo Lane
Bigfork, MT 59911
1-406-837-2574 (fax)

David Feffer



P.O. Box 2882
Bigfork, MT 59911
Crown of the Continent Guitar Workshop and Festival 2012
LAT: 48.0487
LON: -114.0930
Elevation: 2887 FT (880 M)
Description of Group or Organizational Experience

A star-studded line up of music masters will be featured as Artists in Residence at the Crown of the Continent Guitar Workshop and Festival this summer in Bigfork, MT, from August 26 to September 2, 2012.  Seven of the world’s leading guitarists will take time from their busy touring and recording schedules to share their knowledge and perform at the week-long event. Workshops will be offered in seven guitar genres: jazz, rock, blues, classical, singer/songwriter, acoustic, and beginner.  A new workshop for bass players was added this year along with clinics for guitar players to work with master keyboard, drum, and rhythm players.


Jazz master Lee Ritenour, a 50-year music legend, will return to the workshop for the third year. Ritenour is recognized as one of the true multi-stylist guitarists in rock, jazz, and blues. A Grammy winner, he has recorded over 40 albums, with 35 chart hits. He will do a workshop with students and a public show, then host the World Finals of the Lee Ritenour/Yamaha Six String Theory International Guitar Competition, featuring six finalists from around the world vying for the grand prize.


Completing the jazz genre will be one of the hottest up-and-coming young jazz masters, Julian Lage. Lage is a protégé of vibraphonist, Gary Burton, who is hailed as a “giant in the making” by All About Jazz magazine. Lage will bring his drummerTupac Mantilla and bassist Jorge Roeder, who will perform and also teach at the new rhythm clinic.


Filling the blues slot, will be Sonny Landreth, a slide-playing, pioneering, Louisiana bluesman. Over his 39 year career, he has released 11 albums, plays frequently with Eric Clapton, and has performed annually at each of the Crossroads Festivals. He has recorded or toured with a range of top musicians including Jimmy Buffett, John Hiatt, Mark Knopfler,and Bonnie Raitt.


Patty Larkin, a self-described “guitar driven songwriter” will fill the singer/songwriter slot.  Larkin weaves imaginative lyrics with inventive guitar wizardry. Rolling Stone praises her “evocative, subtle sonic shading” while the Chicago Tribune says she is “hypnotic.” Larkin holds an Honorary Doctorate of Music from Berklee College and she counts 11 Boston Music Awards among her accolades.


Chris Hillman and Herb Pedersen will bring their country rock and singing style to the workshop and also perform at the Festival. The duo has had a lasting musical friendship spanning over 45 years since their initial meeting in Los Angeles during the early folk and bluegrass movement. Hillman has carved his niche into the American music scene as a cowboy singer/songwriter and country rock architect. After years with such influential bands as The Byrds and The Flying Burrito Brothers, he eventually formed the eclectic band “Manassas” with Stephen Stills. Hillman returned to his roots in Bluegrass and Country music with the Desert Rose Band.


Pedersen is a legendary vocalist and all-star multi-instrumentalist who fronted his own band, The Laurel Canyon Ramblers, for 40 years.  He has collaborated with the likes of Emmylou Harris, Earl Scruggs, The Dillards, Dan Fogelberg, Stephen Stills, and many others.


Theclassical guitar artist in residence this year will be Dennis Koster.  Truly a unique musician, he is one of the few in the world considered to be a master of both classical and flamenco guitar.   At his Carnegie Hall debut, The New York Times praised his “… brilliant, aptly, fantastic performance.” Koster also transcribes violin, piano, and string quartet masterworks for the guitar and is the author of a best-selling method book, “Keys to Flamenco Guitar.”


An honored special guest this year will be American pianist and music maestro, Dave Grusin. An icon in the music world, Grusin’s prolific 50 year career as a performer and composer has garnered him an Academy Award and 12 Grammy Awards for his feature film scores, television soundtracks, and recording work.  He will lead a clinic for guitarists to enhance their ensemble performance skills and do an evening performance for the public with Lee Ritenour and an all-star rhythm section.


The new rhythm and bass workshops and clinics will feature world-class musicians. Bassist Melvin Davis worked with Don Cornelius on the TV show Soul Train,and he has toured and recorded with Lee Ritenour, Chaka Khan, The Pointer Sisters, and some of the nation’s finest guitar instructors.  Jorge Roeder (stand up bass) is a Grammy nominee and a versatile, creative player on the New York jazz scene. Roeder has performed with a range of musicians from Zakir Hussein toMedeski, Martin and Wood, to Gary Burton.


Drummer Sonny Emory is a Grammy winner best known for his ground-breaking work with Earth, Wind and Fire and has performed with the proverbial “who’s who” in pop and jazz music.  Tupac Mantilla is an accomplished percussionist with a Master of Music Honors Degree from the New England Conservatory (Boston, USA) and is the First Prize recipient of the 2002 Bogota's Philharmonic Orchestra's Classical Soloist Competition.


Filling out the workshop faculty will be some of the nation’s finest guitar instructors drawn from the National Guitar Workshop, including Jody Fisher (jazz), Andrew Leonard (classical), Matt Smith (blues), and Doug Smith (acoustic). Instructors for the bass workshop include Clipper Anderson, a Polson, MT native, who will be joined by NGW teaching staff. Visit the website for the full list of instructors and workshop offerings.


As part of the Guitar Festival activities, five nights of public performances, including the finals for the Lee Ritenour Six String Theory International Guitar Competition will be held. Visit the website www.cocguitarfoundation.org for information about which artists will be performing on each night. Tickets are limited and all of the events were sold out last year.


Festival tickets will go on sale June 17 in select Flathead Valley outlets and through Tix.com.  For more information about the workshop and festival go to http://www.cocguitarfoundation.org or call 406-407-5962. 




Founded in 2009, the nonprofit Crown of the Continent Guitar Foundation celebrates the love of the guitar and the magical splendor of Montana. The Foundation provides scholarships for students and collaborates with other non-profit organizations including: The Glacier Park Fund, Montana Public Radio and Public Broadcasting, The Montana Land Reliance, North Valley Music School and Ravenwood Outdoor Learning Center. The workshop is a perfect opportunity for drawing inspiration, perfecting technique and deepening one's passion for the guitar and music. visit www.cocguitarfoundation.org

Host or Sponsoring Group for Experience

Crown of the Continent Guitar Foundation

Activity Level to be Expected


Appropriate Ages for Experience

Teenagers through Oldsters!

Special Skills that May be Required

Workshops are available for beginners to expert guitarists.

Date or Dates for Experience

August 26, 2012 - September 02, 2012

Overnight Shelter Arrangements (if an overnight experience)

Other Lodging

Costs to Participate

Workshop fee varies; Festival events available to public for entrance fee (check website)