Bluegrass Class with Cherry Blossom Special

Learn how to play in a bluegrass ensemble with other beginner-to-intermediate musicians! Come with your fiddle, guitar, mandolin, banjo, or bass - or the willingness to learn a new instrument. With the guidance of Cherry Blossom Special (with SMT teachers, Mari Carlson, Justin Heath, and Nick Cameron), you will learn how to play and sing with proper technique, blend in a group on your instrument and voice, and prepare for a performance.

This class is open to middle school age students and above (students under the age of 12 should speak to us prior to registration).

The class will culminate in a recital, in which the group will be the opening act for Cherry Blossom Special. Come join the band!

CHERRY BLOSSOM SPECIAL – Drawing from the rich history of Washington D.C.’s acoustic music sphere, the folk quintet’s compositions and arrangements seek to go beyond storytelling. Rather, the group uses their vibrant music to examine the complex spectrum that blends tradition and innovation, begging the question, what do the stories we tell say about ourselves?

Award-winning vocalist and mandolinist, Nick Cameron, brings technical proficiency that allows them to pen sharp and forward thinking arrangements. Banjoist and lyricist, Gabby Cameron, pulls songwriting inspiration from her ethnomusicological scholarship, having been named the 2022 IBMA Neil Rosenberg Bluegrass Scholar for her groundbreaking research in Jewish bluegrass music. Cellist, Sophie Chang, brings rhythmic vitality through her experience as a versatile contra dance musician. Enhancing the group’s genre ambiguity, Mari Carlson’s playing styles range from traditional Swedish fiddle to keen jazz violin. Guitarist, Justin Heath, offers the group a mellow and intuitive tone, bridging his harmonic insight from jazz and tango with bluegrass flatpicking.


Students may elect to rent an instrument from the House of Musical Traditions, depending on availability.

Health Protocols

We are following the Montgomery County Department of Health and Human Services guidelines for health and safety. Students are encouraged to wash hands upon arrival.

Registration Policy

We require a minimum of 3 attendees for all group classes & workshops. Classes will be cancelled if we have not met the 3-person minimum 72 hours in advance of the start time.

In the event of a cancellation, you may choose between either (1) a full refund, or (2) a full credit to private lessons or a future workshop.


Fri, April 7, 2023
Thu, April 20, 2023
Thu, May 4, 2023
Thu, May 18, 2023
Thu, June 1, 2023
Thu, June 15, 2023
7:00 - 8:00 PM EST
Takoma SPARK
7112 Willow Ave
Takoma Park, MD 20912
$150 for 6 sessions