Mandolins at Settle 2020

29th March – 2nd April 2020. Falcon Manor Hotel, Settle (map)

Hilary James will also be hosting an art group  – scroll down for details

Description… and a few T&Cs

While the two regular weekend Mandolin Retreats I’ve hosted over the last few years at Kenwood Hall, Sheffield and Halsway Manor, Somerset continue to be very popular, Mandolins At Settle is a longer, four day gathering. Group playing is still an important part, but we’ll be covering fewer pieces than on my weekend courses, and using the extra time to polish the ensemble sound. You’ll also get a chance to play in smaller groups, and to play a solo or two if you feel up to it (I hope you do).

This is a chance to push your boundaries a little and to learn from each other in what – as veterans of these things will know – is always an atmosphere of wonderful camaraderie and mutual support.


Luthier Mike Vanden and mandolinist and historian Paul Sparks will be our special guests. Mike will be discussing his approach to mandolin building and of course showing examples of his craft. Paul will give an illustrated talk about the differences between old Neapolitan mandolins (C18 Vinaccia) and modern instruments.

Falcon Manor Hotel

The Sessions
I try to cover all aspects of mandolin technique in the sessions, to de-mystify music theory, and to choose a varied repertoire with pieces that relate in some way to particular aspects of technique. I’m also planning that it should be less intense than the weekends, with formal sessions in the morning, and informal time in the afternoon where I’ll be ‘on duty’ throughout if you want to buttonhole me about any mandolin related issue. There will no doubt be sessions in the bar in the evening too. I’m also planning on having at least one guest speaker. I’ll post more details on this later. If you prefer to do something non-mandolinny in the afternoon, you can explore the lovely town of Settle, go for a walk in the surrounding countryside, seek out a steam train, go down a cave or whatever.

Falcon Manor is a cosy, country house hotel, bursting with charater, and set in very beautiful North Yorkshire countryside. The whole hotel (just 15 rooms) is reserved for us mandolinists for the four days. At our first visit in 2019 it gained a universal thumbs up from those who came for the excellent food, service and lovely rooms. You can take a look at the Falcon Manor website, but don’t be put off by the deliriously happy bride and groom on their homepage; getting married is not a prerequisite of mandolin playing!

Falcon Manor Hotel

Oh, and it’s got real ale.

How good do I have to be? Ideally you’ll be able to get from start to finish of a fairly simple tune without stalling, and you’ll be able to read music or tablature to a reasonable standard (if you’re an experienced player but have only ever played by ear, tablature is very easy to learn). If you’re a guitarist or violinist trying a mandolin for the first time, you should be OK, but this is not going to be suitable for a beginner. I will send out PDFs of music/tablature and sound files in advance.

£760 Single participant.
£630 per person for two people, both participants, sharing a room (double or twin).
£900 for a couple sharing a room, only one of whom is a participant.
We ask for a non-refundable deposit of £300 per person to secure your hotel room and place, with the outstanding balance payable one month ahead of the event.

Falcon Manor Hotel

What’s included in the price?
All tuition, accommodation, breakfasts, evening meals (three courses) and teas and coffees.
NB. Lunches are not included, but the hotel offers a good selection of bar snacks and meals and there are many cafés in the town centre (5-10 minutes walk).
Mandolins At Settle spans four days from evening meal on Sunday 29th March to breakfast on Thursday 2nd April.
We schedule use of the hotel’s function room until mid-afternoon on 2nd, but the hotel requests that you vacate your room after breakfast.
We will send you details of how to pay upon receipt of the form here.

Special diet?
The hotel can cater for special dietary requirements; please let us know in advance.

The function room, dining room and bar are all on the ground floor, with no steps from the car park. Unfortunately there is no lift, so wheelchair access to the bedrooms is not possible.

You are advised to take out cancellation insurance should you need to withdraw
(check your holiday insurance – it may include it).

Your payment will be fully refunded if the event is postponed or cancelled.

Hilary James art group

Hilary will be hosting an informal art group aslongside the mandolins. Please use the form on this page  or phone to register your interest and to enquire about cost.
+44 (0)118 926 8615.  


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Hilary James' Art Group
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