Croatian American Cultural Center Logo
facebook  twitter  youtube


Festival of the Mandolins

  Sunday , Apr 10, 2011         9:30 AM        $15 Children free. $12 Adv.

Event Details

mandolins2_425Join us for the annual gathering of the mandolins. Five diverse ensembles will be performing on this year's program! Gravenstein Mandolin Ensemble, Grandpa Banana, Aurora Mandolin Orchestra, The Axelrod, Cary, Foss Jug Band and Marla Fibish & Gari Hegedus. Add the BYO Mandolin Orchestra (Bring Your Own), all the mandolin workshops, the fine vintage mandolins on display by Bear Paw Fiddles, and you have a day that cannot be missed.

The performances for the public will commense at 1PM.  Workshops at 9:30AM. Food and drink will be available from 1PM. Hristos Kolev will again provide ethnic food.  Advance tickets at


gravenstein_140hThe Gravenstein Mandolin Ensemble

The Gravenstein Mandolin Ensemble is the only all-mandolin ensemble in the North Bay, consisting of mandolins, mandolas, mandocellos and guitar. The group has been rehearsing in Sebastopol, in a home surrounded by Gravenstein apple orchards. The ensemble is directed by Gus Garelick, mandolinist and fiddler for The Hot Frittatas, and a former member of the Berkeley Mandolin Ensemble. Garelick, a former Petaluma resident, currently lives in Santa Rosa.
The Gravenstein Mandolin Ensemble's eclectic repertoire includes music from George Frederic Handel to Scott Joplin, Brazilian choros, Italian polkas, Klezmer waltzes and more. They have performed at the San Francisco Mandolin Festival, the Sebastopol Center for the Arts, the Sonoma County Public Libraries, and the Classical Mandolin Society of America (Seattle convention, 2010).

Gari Hegedus & Marla Fibish
At this year's Festival of the Mandolin, Gari and Marla will explore combinations of melodies and rhythms from their respective areas of immersion, finding new and delightful musical expression on this family of instruments mandolin, mandocello, oud, saz, laouto,violin, viola.

garisepia_140Gari Hegedus plays violin and viola and variety of stringed instruments from Greece and Turkey including lauoto, oud, saz and hand drums. In addition to playing in the duo Teslim with violinist Kaila Flexer, he performs with world music group Stellamara and Persian vocalist Hamed Nikpay. He has studied with oud master Naseer Shamma and has recorded and performed with Ross Daly. He has toured with the Mevlevi Dervish (Sufi) Order of America and continues to participate in Turkish ceremonial and devotional gatherings around the country.

marlafibish_140Marla Fibish plays mandolin, mandola. Thirty years ago, when Marla got bit by the Irish music bug, her late grandfather's mandolin was the instrument that found its way into her hands, and soon into her heart. It has been her primary instrument and partner ever since. A San Francisco native, Marla is a long-time feature of the Bay Area Irish music scene, and an unapologetic proponent of the mandolin in Irish music.  Marla currently plays in the trio Three Mile Stone, which released its eponymous CD in March 2010 to enthusiastic response, and as a duo with the legendary Irish singer and bouzouki player Jimmy Crowley. Jimmy and Marla will be releasing a new CD in early 2011.  Marla teaches privately as well as at many music camps, including Lark Camp, California Coast Music Camp, and will be on the staff of the upcoming 2011 Mandolin Symposium and Portal Irish Music Camp.

acf_140Axelrod, Cary & Foss Jug Band

Axelrod, Cary & Foss found each other through the local Jug Band scene and decided to play jugband music, rags, blues and old jazz together with abandon and grace.

Bill Foss (mandolin) plays several styles of American Southern string band music. He was greatly influenced and inspired by Harry Smith’s Anthology of American Folk Music (what Greil Marcus calls the music of  “the old weird America”). For the last several years he has delved deeply into rags, jugband and blues mandolin.  He has performed and recorded with the Crooked Jades, Devine's Jug Band and the Earl Brothers. He has toured the mid-west playing the fiddle with the Stairwell Sisters, and has taught mandolin and Old Time music at Lark in the Morning music camp and the Golden Old Time Festival. He has played such venues as The Great American Music Hall, the Freight & Salvage Coffee House, the San Francisco Bluegrass & Old Time Festival, the Grass Valley Bluegrass Festival and KPFA radio.

Keith Cary (mandolin, cello, harmonica) is a multi-talented, multi-instrumentalist who’s playing exemplifies the “stomp and swerve” of American rural pop music of the previous two centuries. He has played with Bob Armstrong, The Cheap Suit Serenaders, Clarence Van Hook, Jolie Holland, Pete Bernhard, Little Charlie Baty, John Tacicai and many others, on string bass, cello, harmonica, mandolin, steel guitar and a few other things. He lives in Winters, CA where he builds and repairs stringed instruments, including the mysterious Commodium, a stainless steel resonator mandolin. He's recently performed at the Chapel of the Chimes event in Berkeley playing an exercycle.

Meredith Axelrod (vocals, guitar, jug, kazoo) is a young blues diva originally from Chicago and steeped in the sounds of pre-1930s American pop music. She truly sings like "they" did. As a guitarist, she is trained in the hillbilly tradition and her playing explodes with energy and vintage rhythms. She has performed with Dan Hicks, Maria Muldaur, Craig Ventresco, Terry Zwigoff, and Robert Crumb at such venues as The Great American Music Hall, the Freight and Salvage, and Jazz at Pearl's. She enjoys sleeping twelve to fifteen hours a night, and reading books about serial killers.

grandpabanana_140hGrandpa Banana

Lowell Levinger, a talented multi-instrumentalist known to locals and fans as Banana, has been a familiar figure in West Marin since he moved there from Boston in 1967, the Summer of Love, with Young and the Youngbloods.They had just recorded "Get Together," the top 40 hit that became the peace and love anthem of their generation. Today Banana styles himself as Grandpa Banana, and performs Americana-style songs from his repertoire of thousands, including traditional bluegrass, blues, and old Youngbloods tunes.

The Aurora Mandolin Orchestra

aurora03_4_200The Aurora Mandolin Orchestra (AMO), the largest orchestra of its kind in he San Francisco Bay Area continues to perform many concerts to thousands of audiences at festivals and organizations throughout the area. The Artistic Musical Director is Josephine Pellegrini. The orchestra was reorganized in 1970 and will be celebrating its 41th year this year, and this will be its 11th year playing at the SF Mandolin Festival. The Aurora Mandolin Orchestra consists of up to thirty professional and amateur musicians (mandolin, mandola, mandocello, guitar, string bass, accordion, flute and percussion) from various parts of the Bay Area. The uniqueness of this group is its varied repertoire including traditional and semi-classical Italian, Spanish, Russian, specialty ethnic and contemporary orchestral compositions. They have given public performances to thousands of music lovers and are especially proud to have played Davies Hall at San Francisco Symphony’s festive opening night in 1984, the Academy of Sciences at Golden Gate Park, Santa Clara University, and the annual San Francisco Mandolin Festival.


9:30AM    Door open
10:00AM    BYO Mandolin Orchestra-main hall
11:00AM    workshop: Marla Fibish 
11:00AM    Workshop: Bill Foss                   
12:00PM    Workshop: Gus Garelick                                              
12:00PM     Workshop:  Grandpa Banana 
1:00PM       Marla Fibish & Gari Hegedus
1:45PM       Aurora Mandolin Orchestra
2:30PM        Grandpa Banana          
3:15PM       Gravenstein Mandolin Ensemble
4:00PM      The Axelrod, Cary, & Foss Jug Band 
*schedule is subject to change. Be sure to check closer to event.
*Food available around Noon.

Home  |  About Us  |  Events  |  Store  |  Contact