2018 Youth Educational Offerings

Wintergrass is passionate about music education. Thanks to Education Director, Beth Fortune and a team of incredible educators and mentors we’re pleased to offer programs specifically tailored for young children to young adults. Due to the generosity of the D’Addario Foundation and Acoustic Sound patrons, scholarships are available for every youth education program.

Most Wintergrass Youth education programs take place at the Hyatt Regency (900 Bellevue Way NE, Bellevue WA 98004) in the Evergreen Ballroom. Students and parents should plan to check-in thirty minutes before the start time each day. Parents are always welcome, but not required, to stay and observe the fun. Students should plan to pack a lunch. A substantial snack and drink will be provided to Youth Academy students on Friday at 4pm before their 5pm performance.

Wintergrass Pintgrass

For young students ages 4-6

Thursday/Friday, February 22-23, 2018
8:30am to noon Hyatt Evergreen Ballroom
Register online. Cost: $25 to $45

Pintgrass takes place on Thursday, February 23rd and Friday, February 23, from 8:30am until noon at the Evergreen Ballroom at the Hyatt Regency. Pintgrass is designed for very young students ages 4-6. Students do not need to have experience with instruments to participate. Registration includes the two days of instruction and a 4 day weekend pass to the festival for the student.

Please be sure to include your email address. Youth Education Director, Beth Fortune, will be happy to communicate with you prior to the event so that both you and your child are fully informed and ready to go!

Parents or guardians of Pintgrass students are eligible for the Parent Weekend pass.

Wintergrass Youth Academy

For students ages 7-14
Thursday/Friday, February 22-23, 2018
8:30am to 4pm Hyatt Evergreen Ballroom
8:30am registration on Thursday
Friday performance on the Evergreen Stage from 4:45-6pm

Register online. Cost: $65 to $125

This two-day program is designed for beginners and young players who are just getting acquainted with independence and competence with instruments and performance. A dedicated staff of teachers, led by master educators Beth Fortune, Joe Craven, and Alfreida Moore, provide inspiration and attention to every student.

The 2018 Wintergrass Youth Academy takes place on Thursday, February 23rd and Friday, February 23, from 8:30am until 4pm. On Friday, students perform from 4:45 to 6pm on the Evergreen Stage. The Youth Academy program is designed for beginning to intermediate student ages 7-14. Students will learn and perform in small groups as well as enjoy large group singing and dance activities. Registration includes the two days of instruction and a 4 day weekend pass to the festival for the student.

Please be sure to include your email address. Youth Academy Director, Beth Fortune, will be happy to communicate with you prior to the event so that both you and your child are fully informed and ready to go!

All Youth Academy students participate in small group instruction on their own bluegrass instruments. (If you child needs an instrument, let us know!) Students also get a chance to try out other instruments and receive basic instruction on either guitar, mandolin, fiddle, banjo, dobro, bass, or voice.

Wintergrass Youth Orchestra

For middle school aged students

Rehearsals in Jan. & Feb., 2018 in the Seattle area
Onsite Rehearsal February 24, 2018 8:30am to 1:30pm - Hyatt Evergreen Ballroom
Sunday Feb 25, 2018 Hyatt Grand Ballroom - Performance!

Register online. Cost: $50 - $100

Comprised of middle school orchestra students, the 120 piece youth orchestra learns and rehearses one-of-a-kind arrangements provided by headline performers, who work and perform with the student. This program requires a months-long commitment and culminates with the closing performance on the Grand Ballroom stage on Sunday afternoon.

The Youth Orchestra is comprised of existing middle school youth orchestras and single students from the greater NW region. Participating students receive written music, mp3s of the arrangements when possible, and are encouraged to participate in two full orchestra rehearsals prior to the festival. These generally take place at the end of January and the beginning of February in the Seattle area.

Students convene at the festival on Saturday, Feb. 24 for a lengthy rehearsal with each other and with Mike Marshall & Darol Anger, The O’Connor Family Band with Mark O’Connor, Rushed Eggleston, and The Jeremy Kittel Band. This rehearsal and the performance on Sunday is conducted by Bob Phillips and Dr. Andy Carlson. They will participate in a morning sound check on Sunday and finally the closing performance at 3pm on the Grand Ballroom stage.

This option includes a full weekend pass for the student. Parents of students purchasing this option are eligible for a discounted parent weekend pass.

Wintergrass Youth Academy/Orchestra Package

Register online. Cost: $95 - $190

This package is designed for students who wish to participate in both the Youth Academy and Youth Orchestra. There are a very limited number of this registration type available. This package includes a weekend pass to the festival and registration for both the Youth Academy and Youth Orchestra.



Wintergrass Youth Academy Teacher Training (YATT)

Wednesday Feb. 21 7pm
Thursday Feb. 22 – Friday Feb. 23 8:30am-5pm
For students ages 14 to 21

Register online. Cost: Free (but you must register online!)

Youth Academy Teacher Training is designed for young skilled musicians ages 14 to 20 who are keenly interested in becoming teachers – particularly music teachers – this intense program thrusts students into learning, teaching and performing situations. Students work with fantastic educators, like Beth Fortune, Joe Craven, Tom Petersen and others to gain teaching skills. Mentoring sessions also include performance coaching and tips. Students are given real world experience working with Youth Academy students on Thursday and Friday.

What can you expect?
  1. Specialized coaching session on Wednesday night focussing on how to teach kids and performance tips. Trainers include Joe Craven, Beth Fortune, Tom Petersen and others.
  2. Opportunity to serve as Junior Instructors for the duration of the Youth Academy
  3. The YATT program provides 20+ hours of community service hours for participants
  4. YATT participants are also invited to participate with Rhapsody Songsters evening activities.
YATTs teach younger children how to begin or improve playing Bluegrass-family instruments and to sing. YATTs work with children in one-on-one, small-group, and large-group settings. YATTs are kind, gentle, and patient, while energetic, enthusiastic, and encouraging. YATTs agree to work one long evening and two long days and would likely miss school to do so. They are ambassadors of good will and good cheer throughout the Wintergrass Festival. YATTs enjoy performance access and hospitality privileges.

Rhapsody Songsters

For high school and college aged students
Thursday, Feb 22-Sunday Feb 25
meet at Evergreen Ballroom 1pm Th & Fri
various activities on Th & Fri afternoon
evening activities in the Rhapsody Songsters suite Th-Sat nights


Register online. Cost: $35 to $70
For youth who have already purchased a weekend pass, an upgrade option is available on our ticket site.

Led by award-winning cultural ambassadors, community builders, and folklorists Ben Hunter and Joe Seamons, the Rhapsody Songsters program is designed for students ages 15-20 who are interested in learning the many ways music can fit into a full and interesting life. Being a Rhapsody Songster means enriching yourself by learning to strengthen and diversify the musical community where you live. Each student of the Songster program should be prepared to have zany fun while cutting loose through playing your instrument, dancing with your friends, and cooking excellent food. Playing music is about more than just tunes and songs–it’s about the people and the stories that helped make those songs live! The goal of this program is to introduce young musicians/connoisseurs to the wider world of the music scene and be participants in its traditions and cultural legacy.

Songsters will participate in diverse activities throughout the festival, and have the opportunity to apprentice themselves to various members of the large team that makes Wintergrass go! Activities include:
  1. interviews and job shadowing with festival photographers, sound and light crews, luthiers, artists and more.
  2. afternoon training sessions with Ben & Joe
  3. evening jam sessions/student produced concerts
We fully expect graduates of the Rhapsody Songsters program at Wintergrass to lead the musical community for the next generation.

Registration includes a full weekend pass.



Register for all Youth Educational Offerings
online on our Education Registration Page.

Purchase a Parent Pass (for parents of students registered
for any education program) on our online Registration Page.