Vanderhoof musician wins trip to study original bluegrass

A Vanderhoof-born mandolin player won a scholarship to learn the father of bluegrass’ style and technique in Nashville this month.

Dylan Ferris won the third annual Monroe Mandolin Camp’s video scholarship competition by playing Bill Monroe’s classic

Dylan Ferris won the third annual Monroe Mandolin Camp’s video scholarship competition by playing Bill Monroe’s classic

A Vanderhoof-born mandolin player won a scholarship to learn the father of bluegrass’ style and technique in Nashville this month.

Now living in Nelson, Dylan Ferris, 22, won the third annual Monroe Mandolin Camp’s video scholarship competition by playing Bill Monroe’s classic, “Southern Flavor.” With tuition, lodging, and meals covered from Sept. 14 to 18, Ferris had the opportunity to choose from 77 classes led by Monroe-style instructors including camp director and co-Founder Mike Compton, David Davis, whose uncle Cleo was the original Blue Grass Boy, Dr. Richie Brown, Adam Tanner, Lauren Price, Mark Royal, and Alan O’Bryant from the new banjo track 2016, stated the non-profit group in a news release.

Campers can also engage in private one-on-one individual tutorials with an instructor of their choice, an All-Camp Assembly Round Table, three special presentations, organized camp jams, and jams late into the night.

Ferris first learned the mandolin when he was nine years old, attending the 108 Mile Cabin Fever Workshop for the first time with his mother.

“My parents played in a bluegrass band in Vanderhoof when I was growing up, so there was always music in the house,” he said. “I think what attracted me to pick up the mandolin was its relatively small size compared to me.

“I was a small kid, and I could actually hold a mandolin!”

Learning mostly by ear, Ferris’ only instruction with the mandolin occurred once a year at the Cabin Fever Workshop, where he met his mentor — and his most influential teacher — John Reischman from Vancouver.

A mandolin player for 13 years, Ferris recently graduated from Selkirk College’s contemporary music and technology program with a major in audio engineering.

“I learned a lot at school about different styles of music, theory, and improvisation,” he said. “This has gotten me to play styles like jazz, Latin, funk and classical, as well as bluegrass.”

Though not in a band, with no plans laid out yet for the mandolin, Ferris is currently working with music.

“You never know what’s in store for the future,” he said. “I’ll never stop playing regardless of how much, or how little, I am playing publicly.”

Ferris’ entry to the video scholarship competition can be found at

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