Our Teachers





Keith Yoder


Keith Yoder is a talented instructor and musician with an unconventional approach to music education. Self-taught, he first picked up a guitar in high school and has since added numerous other instruments to the inventory he plays. He has played for 35 years (and counting!) and has taught full-time since 1994. Keith teaches and equips students on guitar, banjo, mandolin, fiddle, resophonic guitar, bass, and drums. An Iowa native, Keith loves time with his family, jamming with friends (old and new), watching documentaries on Netflix, eating the famed White Castle or Krystal burgers, and cheering for his sweet Minnesota Vikings.




Andy Hatfield


Andy Hatfield is a creative musician and teacher from Peoria, IL. He is one of 4 people (and the second from Peoria) to win both the National Flatpicking Guitar Contest and the National Mandolin Contest, held annually in Winfield, KS.

Andy's unique playing style comes from over 20 years of playing and studying bluegrass, jazz, and R & B. Andy is an engaging and active teacher, having taught hundreds of students of all levels to play guitar, mandolin, and banjo. Andy teaches and performs full-time in his native Illinois, and loves to find creative ways to make students sound great.




Jonelle Thompson


Hi, my name is Jonelle Thompson, but my real title is 'Austin's Mom.’ I am a self-taught 'acclaimed artist' that will paint anything on anything! From wall murals, patio floors, tennis shoes, ornaments, canvas's and records! (just to name a few) In addition, I work as a Sales Consultant with a Peoria based caterer;  I also coordinate, design weddings/events and customize paintings through 'Fine DeZine' when I'm not listening to live music or shopping! Please stop by my booth to check out this years painted records and say HI!




Julie Boswell


Julie holds an Associate Degree in General Education, as well as her Bachelor’s of Science in Environmental Science. She is the founder of Central Illinois Environmentalist, and works as an administrator, editor, and content writer for Environmental Advanced Sciences. additionally, Julie works as an organic farmer and an industrial hemp farmer. In her free time, she serves as a community garden manager in her local community and enjoys visiting natural areas throughout the state.





Ethen Glasson


Ethen Glasson is an environmental biology graduate from Greenville University. He has studied and managed collections in plants, insects, and birds. He has a passion for exploring the outdoors, learning about wildlife, and teaching others about the world around them. Ethen currently lives with his wife Morgan in Deer Creek, Illinois. When he's not outdoors he enjoys creating pottery, playing the banjo, and watching The Office.





Joe Zich


Joe Zich started is plant based lifestyle about 5 years ago and now he shares is passion for it through workshops, dinner parties and his fermented food business 309 Cultures. Joe is an inspirational speaker, health expert and chef, focused on delicious, raw plant- based cuisine. Sharing his experience, having transformed his own mind and body through healthy lifestyle changes and a raw vegan diet, Joe not only cooks for his clients, but inspires them to make changes - big or small - of their own!




Jolene Renay


Jolene has been teaching yoga since 2014, specializing in thai Yoga Therapeutic Relief, and meditation. Jolene believes that the most important part of yoga is taking time out, so you can sit down and stay connected with what is happening in your body and your mind. Join Jolene each morning of the Wander Down so you can set the stage for a beautiful day of positive vibes and beautiful music.






Brockelle Noel


Hello! I'm Brockelle Noel. I currently work at Illinois Central College in the children's center with children, ages 2-5. I also do the Summer camp there for older children! Just a few things about me: I love listening to live music, whether it be at a huge concert or just someone playing acoustic guitar at a bar. I spend most of my free time hanging out with my husband of 7 years and playing with my dog. I love doing arts and crafts and seeing what I can create from of something simple. I am Austin's older sister and love The Way Down Wanderers.  I look forward to seeing everyone at Wander Down 2019!





John Merikoski


John plays drums with The Way Down Wanderers. He has been playing the spoons for years and loves any opportunity to pass on technique and knowledge about this unique instrument. He recently gave a TedX Talk on learning how to make music with spoons!





John Williams


John Williams is a mildly accomplished poet well-known throughout many Illinois zip codes.  As well as slappin' da bass with the Way Down Wanderers, he will be a decent emcee at the freeform exploration of words and ideas, The Beatnik Poetry Coffeehouse workshop.  His academic contributions are slim, although he passed the AP English test in high school which was pretty cool.  His debut book, Stuff I Wrote, was released last year and has sold zero copies to date.


"Mr. Williams, we are not accepting submissions at this time."

                    ––The New York Times Book Review

"This book does not meet the digital requirements to submit.  Please reformat to upload content."

                    ––The Atlantic





Patty Williams


Patty Williams, mom to WDW fabulous bass player John. Graduated from college in 2005 with a degree in sign language interpreting. For the past 9.5 years, has worked with special needs students in elementary and middle grades at a district in Washington, IL. She is also mom to David, Brian and Katie, mother-in-law to Betsy, Jess and John, and Cookie to her grandchildren Neve, Charter, Ben, Alex, Jack and Simon (all except Katie's husband John are at WDMF). I love to read, sew, travel and spend time with my family.





Henhouse Prowlers


The Henhouse Prowlers have toured more than 25 countries as musical diplomats for the US State Department, bridging cultures through the shared language of music.  Join these Bluegrass Ambassadors at a workshop where attendees will experience music from far off lands, hear  stories of wild adventures and walk away with a deeper understanding of places unknown.





Micahlan Boney


Micahlan Boney, a singer-songwriter from Nashville, TN, is turning heads with her original music and unconventional approach to the fiddle; She is currently the youngest person to have won the John Hartford Memorial Songwriting Contest and has been nominated for Female Artist of the Year by the Georgia Country Music Awards. When not touring nationally, Micahlan is recording her first album with Dolly Parton’s producer.


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