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Meet some of our Music Teachers

Ron and Carol Whisler


Ron and Carol both started out teaching and then began running the Barberville Pioneer Settlement first Saturday free music workshops and jam in the summer of 2011. 

Their biggest thrill in life is passing on the traditional playing of Old Time Appalachian music to others and sharing their joy of music with anyone willing to listen and learn. They feel very fortunate to be able to do the thing they love the most and help support the Barberville Settlement at the same time.


They also appreciate and love the other teachers who volunteer their time and effort to help them make this an outstanding place to learn to play acoustic music.

Ron Whisler


Ron has been teaching clawhammer banjo at the Barberville Settlement now since around 2009.  He and his wife Carol, took over the running of the program in 2011.  Clawhammer is a style of banjo played on open back 5 string banjos with no picks on the fingers.  Ron played Bluegrass banjo for many years before learning about this style and finding his true musical passion.


He was the Florida Old Time Music Championship banjo champion in 2010 and has won awards at the Florida Old Time music Championships and the Banjo Contest held at the Florida Folk Festival each year.  He has been awarded the Edward Lee Flemming award given to accomplished musicians who exemplify the spirit of Old Time music in 2010 and theThelma Boltin award for supporting and nurturing Old Time music in Florida in 2014.


He has tutored students who have won awards in clawhammer banjo and it thrilled him more than winning himself.


He plays banjo, guitar and sing in the Old Time band, Just In Time.

He gives private lessons in his home.  He can be contacted at or find him and Carol on facebook at

Carol Whisler  


Carol has been teaching the fiddle at Barberville now for about 6 years and loves every second of it.  She has had two students win ribbons in two different fiddle contests and expects them to go far in their musical accomplishments.


She has won fiddling awards in the Florida State Fiddle contest and the Florida Old Time Music Championships.  She has also been honored with the Thelma Boltin award for supporting and nurturing the Old Time music community in Florida in 2014 and the Edward Lee Flemming award given to accomplished musicians who exemplify the spirit of Old Time music in 2015.  She has also won awards for singing, band and rhythm.


She is the current President of the Florida State Fiddler’s Association and loves organizing and putting on Jamborees and festivals.  She also give private lessons from her home.


She is the lead singer, fiddler and guitar player in the Old Time band Just in Time.  You can find them performing at festivals and giving home concerts and workshops all over the state of Florida.  They have been featured as guests on the radio in Florida and West Virginia, her home state.


She can be reached by emailing or look them up on facebook at

John Alison

John now lives just south east of Palatka Florida, but grew up mostly in Gainesville with his mother and grandparents, and also spent a lot of time in Latin America with his father. Living in two different cultures he was exposed to a wide variety of music and by age eleven he knew that it was going to be a big part of his life.

He started out on the cello and later moved up to the double or upright bass.  In the seventh grade he joined the school band and played several brass instruments.  In the eighth grade he moved to Tallahassee to live with his aunt, uncle, and five cousins.  That year with the help of his older cousin, he started playing guitar.  It became his obsession. 

After returning home from military service he went to Florida State University to study music and biology.  In 1973 he met Bluegrass guitar player Doc Watson. John says "He changed the whole way I played guitar.  Doc became my mentor.  And although I learned his techniques, he always encouraged me to play in my own style."

John has played music all over the world.  He plays Jazz, Rock, Blues, Country, and Bluegrass.  He has played on over sixty records and CDs and have been teaching guitar and mandolin for more than thirty-five years.

Barry Brogan 


Barry Brogan plays the twenties and thirties pieces that have been played in dance halls and front porches, and a few juke joint jazz bands for over a hundred years.


--Fingerstyle Guitar. Travis Picking.   Picking patterns for songs in 2/4, 4/4, 4/4 arpeggio, And modified patterns for Caribbean, blues, and ragtime.


--Piedmont Blues.  A little background on Piedmont blues, sometimes called Ragtime blues explored with songs in several keys.

--Blues. 12-bar blues, Delta Blues, sometimes called Country Blues, emphasizes the vocal, and simple accompaniment.  Simple elegant, not simple stupid.  Highly improvisational.  The next generation developed the boogie and the shuffle from this fertile source music. 


--Bottleneck Guitar

Is any guitar you play with a bottleneck. Generally, the guitar is in an open tuning, and the guitar is a “round-neck” guitar. 

Carolee Stewart


Carolee has taught hammered dulcimer at the Pioneer Settlement since 2013 and is a substitute teacher for mountain dulcimer as needed. She teaches both instruments to private students, the bowed psaltery and beginning autoharp. Carolee is Co-Director of the Central FL Dulcimer & Autoharp Festival held in Mount Dora, FL during the 2nd weekend in February. 2017 will be the festival's 12th year with over 300 participants.  She also coordinates the Lake Eustis Area Dulcimer (LEAD) Players monthly session in Eustis every 3rd Saturday of the month.  Carolee has been involved with dulcimers and traditional old-time music for over 25 years. Prior to her move to FL, she operated a retail store in upstate SC that specialized in dulcimers and other unique folk instruments, participated in area festivals, taught dulcimer for 11 years during summer youth camp at Furman University, and shared her love of both dulcimers, their history and music with many school and community organizations. Carolee's passion includes the goal of retrieving dulcimers from every closet and hidden under every bed, dust them off, and bring their unique "sweet sound" to life again.  She can be reached at

John Simmons


John enjoys sharing his knowledge of the harmonica with both novice and more experienced players alike.  He can be reached at

Randall Herron

Randall's musical career started in Washington ,D. C., opening for the
Jefferson Airplane, Alice Cooper, and Peter, Paul, and Mary as a folk solo artist.
Opening for the Airplane, he performed before 500,000 people outdoors on the
Washington Mall. He moved to Nashville Tennessee to learn music publishing and
record production. During those eight years he published two albums of countryrock material releasing two 45rpm records for Music City Workshop. He trained as a studio engineer and electronics technician and helped build Conestoga Records Studios for the Jeanie C. Riley group,”The Homesteaders”. He later joined the Billy Cartier Experience, a country rock spinoff of the Nashville Brass touring that summer with the Earl Scruggs Rockgrass Review featuring Gary and Randy Scruggs. They toured the ski resorts of Colorado and New Mexico for the now defunct Colombia Records. He first came to Florida to perform as a solo variety artist on the Dixie Queen Riverboat and moved to Daytona Beach. Since then he has performed on every riverboat in the area for the last twenty years as a banjo playing storyteller. He is a quick study, reads music, is an A.F.M. affiliate in good standing, and owns his own state of the art recording equipment and labs. He plays guitar, bass, pedal steel, banjo, and sings tenor leads and harmonies. You can contact him 24/7 for your project needs at: Or at his studio at 386-761-1585 or Mobile at 386-334-9636

 Sharon K  Durrant 

Sharon has been playing Dulcimer for over 30 years since she first saw one in the North Carolina mountains.  She has played with several groups of friends over the years.  She participated with the Picky Chicks and Chaps in Sanford Florida for several years, broadening her skills and enjoying a nice and talented group of folks. For several years she has been playing weekly with the Folk Ensemble at her church. There she does what she loves most--playing by ear and improvising harmonies.
She enjoys teaching at Barberville because she "loves to contribute to a student's excitement at learning musical skills."


Sharon can be reached by emailing:

We would like to say thank you to all of our wonderful volunteer teachers for giving their time and talent to help support us in our mission.

Thank You! 

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