21 – 23 JUNE 2019




Each year we will be welcoming back a tutor from the previous year and this year it is the wonderful Samantha Muir. Many will know Samantha from her fantastic arrangements of classical and campenella style pieces for ukulele. As well as a wonderful arranger Samantha is a respected performer and teacher on the ukulele scene.

Samantha is an Associate of the Royal College of Music, London and a recipient of the Madeline Walton Guitar Prize. As a classical guitarist she has taught and performed in Australia, Europe and the UK.
After picking up a ukulele in 2012 Samantha fell in love with the instrument and has dedicated herself to extending the classical ukulele repertoire. Her arrangements include classical works by Carulli, Sor, Carcassi, Giuliani, Tarrega and Bach. In 2015 Samantha was commissioned by music publishing giant Schott to arrange a book/CD of 35 Scottish Tunes for Ukulele. In 2016 she released her first solo ukulele CD, The Beauty of Uke – a compilation of her classical and campanella arrangements.
Although Sam has only been on the ukulele circuit for a couple of years she has performed and given workshops at leading ukulele festivals in the UK, including GNUF, Uke East, BUG Day, the Highland Ukulele Gathering and the popular Halsway Manor Ukulele and Singing Weekend.

Her interest in ukulele history led her to the machete de braga – an instrument from Madeira and a precursor of the ukulele. She is regarded as a leading exponent of the machete and has given presentations at the International Guitar Research Centre at the University of Surrey and the Consortium for Guitar Research, Sidney Sussex College, Cambridge. She is a member of the Cohort for Guitar Research, Sidney Sussex College, Cambridge and is currently doing a PhD at the University of Surrey entitled New Classical Works for Ukulele.


We’re delighted to introduce you to a new tutor for this year; Percy Copley. Percy is a performer and teacher who I have admired for many years having heard amazing things about his teaching at Sore Fingers – the music camp that was in part an inspiration for what we do at The Retreat. A bit part of what we do is to try and bring in the best experienced teachers and great musicians, and Percy is one of the best.

Percy Copley is a performer and multiinstrumentalist on banjo, guitar, mandolin and ukulele (his first instrument). He performs a variety of songs with a ukulele – entertainment with fun and laughter. Jazz, blues, country, folk – Fats Waller to Lyle Lovett, Washboard Sam to Gillian Welch.

He started playing ukulele from a young age, entertaining at school and local events. After drama college he worked in theatre and music as a professional actor, singer and musician. He has played at festivals in the uk and Europe and recently completed 24 years at Disney in France, playing and singing in different types of groups and shows. Soprano Uke, resonator Uke and tenor Uke, fingerpicking and stonking rhythm to accompany his fine singing voice. He also teaches and has been a regular at the SoreFingers music camps in Oxfordshire on banjo and mandolin, and taught their first ukulele weekend and Easter week.


Paul is another new tutor for this year and we’re really excited to have him on board. Paul is a really fantastic tutor and brilliant arranger.

Paul  is a professional classical guitar & ukulele teacher,  performer, session musician & author based in Northampton with an Honours Diploma (AVCM) on the ukulele & grade 8 (distinction) on the classical guitar. He has published two books,  ‘Classical Uke’ and ‘Ukulele School’ – both published by Kevin Mayhew Ltd, and a album ‘Me, My Ukulele and I’ is available on KM Records.

In 2018 listed Paul as one of the top 10 ukulele players in the world. Paul has over 25 years experience in the music industry & his songs have been featured on Radio 1. In March 2019 Paul was the first ever ukulele player to be featured on the cover of BMG Magazine.


A man that needs no introduction but we’ll give you one anyway! Phil has kindly stepped into the breach at the last minute as a recent injury has meant Elisabeth Pfieffer can no longer make it (don’t worry – we’ll get her over for another event in the near future.) We’re so glad he can make it though because Phil is not only a brilliant performer, but one of the best teachers I know.

Phil’s love of vintage blues, hokum, old-time, and jug band music shines through as he blows the dust off obscure old songs and gives new life to classics with his intricate picking and driving rhythms on both ukulele and 5-string banjo. His original songs blend in seamlessly, with many believing them to be old songs that had passed them by.

“massively entertaining”
Blues Matters Magazine

“Genuinely good-time music from ukulele stalwart, who also plays a mean banjo”
Roots Magazine

Phil has traveled all over the UK and to Ireland, Germany, Finland and the US performing and leading workshops at festivals, theatres, and clubs. He has appeared on over 20 albums (and a number 2 hit single), performed on BBC radio and TV, taught over 1500 ukulele players, and shared stages with some of the world’s finest players.

He has performed live on various BBC regional radio stations, and has appeared on national BBC and ITV TV, Radio 4 and NDR TV (Germany).

He is a regular contributor Uke Magazine, and is the author of the book “How Music Works On The Ukulele”


A rough itinerary of the weekend is outlined below. This is subject to change but should help give and idea of how things work.

Friday evening – welcome drinks from 7pm. We’ll also have a special communal learning jam and a few open mic spots.

Saturday daytime – lessons from 10am. We split into four groups that rotate around all four tutors so everyone gets very special small group tuition from each expert tutor. We’ll have a buffet lunch and then more lessons in the afternoon

Saturday evening – After a break we’ll have a BBQ on the terrace followed by the Teacher’s concert where each tutor performs an inspirational set.

Sunday daytime – Each group will be given a tutor to teach them two special pieces that will help refine your playing and teach you new skills.

Sunday ukulele hike (optional) – After a buffet lunch there’s an option to join Matt for a really fun ukulele hike. We’ll trek a short distance into the woodland and to the top of a small hill where we’ll jam whilst enjoying the beautiful view. This is  fun addition for this year.

Sunday evening – The students concert. As a group you’ll get to take to the stage with your tutor and perform the two pieces you learned. Don’t worry – this is a warm, welcoming and fun space where everyone supports everyone else. Last year, this was a real highlight.

We’ll finish around 7pm Sunday evening –  a bit more time for learning than last year but still gives people a chance to travel home Sunday night if required.


There are many options for local accommodation including great B&Bs, hotels and inns. Here are a few places to try:

Farmers Boy Inn:

Littledean House Hotel:

Yew Tree Inn:

House Martins apartment:

Crown Inn Lea: