Frequently asked questions

What should I bring? An alphorn in the key of F, a portable music stand, any alphorn music you may have, trachten to wear for the performance (white shirt/black pants are acceptable if you do not have any traditional clothing), outdoor clothing appropriate for hiking, hiking boots or shoes, rain gear (jacket, pants, waterproof shoes), personal effects and toiletries, any food or drinks you would like to have for yourself during the retreat (the cabin includes a large fully equipped kitchen), and anything else you need to feel comfortable for a weekend away from home!

What key does my alphorn need to be in? All participants must bring their own alphorn in the key of F.

What if I want to participate but I don't own an alphorn? We will try to accommodate everyone who wants to attend the event. If you do not own an alphorn please contact Monica Hambrick at

How far will we be hiking?  The hikes we will be doing range from .2 miles to 3.2 miles. You will be allowed to choose where you go based on how far you would like to hike.

What if I can't or don't want to hike? One of the key aspects of the event is the word "adventure." We hope everyone who attends will see the value in carrying their horn a little farther than usual in order to get to a place worthy of such an inspiring instrument. However, for those who do not want to or cannot hike, you are encouraged to drive somewhere near to where we are playing and listen to the alphorn from the other side for a change!

What if I want to hike but can't carry my horn that far? Each hiking group will be assigned an able-bodied hiking guide who would be more than willing to carry a horn for someone who is not physically able. 

What if it rains? If weather does not cooperate an indoor rehearsal space is available, but bring rain gear in just in case! Each day we will attempt to spend at least one session playing in the New River Gorge. The morning rehearsal and afternoon hike times are flexible. If weather looks better in the morning we will hike first then rehearse in the afternoon. 

Do I need to be able to read music to participate in this event? Reading music is useful but not required for this event. We will be rehearsing and performing written music, so having some knowledge of musical notation is helpful. However, our highly trained instructors have worked with students of all ability levels, and they are more than happy to help you learn this skill to the point that you can feel comfortable playing in the group.

How can I schedule a private lesson? Private lessons can be scheduled with Laura Nelson for $40 per half hour. You may email her in advance at or set it up in person at the retreat. Lessons are first come, first served.