Alex Cumming is a traditional Singer, Accordionist, Pianist and dance caller hailing from Somerset, England, now living in Brattleboro VT, USA. He performs songs and tunes from around the United Kingdom and America with a great depth of knowledge of the tradition. Alex has made his mark on the folk scene with his rhythmic dance-able accordion style, strong voice and his fun and engaging stage presence. After over a decade of recording albums and touring with various bands, 2023 sees Alex record and release his debut solo album, ‘Homecoming’, featuring fiddler Audrey Jaber (Wake Up Robin, Free Raisins), guitarist Max Newman (Stringrays, Nor’Easter) and regular recording collaborator Pete Ord (Haystack Records).
Alex is a member of Celtic trio Bellwether (with Louise Bichan, Eric McDonald), award winning a capella quartet The Teacups and critically acclaimed duo Alex Cumming & Nicola Beazley. You may also catch him playing for dances in many combos, including Stuart Kenney’s Red Case Band and trio Crossover. In 2020 Alex, Jeremiah McLane and Rachel Bell co-founded Virtual Accordion Camp together. He is also Artistic Director for Revels North and bookings manager Live To Your Living Room.
Mia Bertelli grew up in the mountains of New Mexico, singing at every chance she could get. Her love of song led her to Vermont at the age of fifteen, where she dove into the polyphonic singing camps of Village Harmony like a penguin into the sea. Since then she has been filling kitchens, streets, concert halls, vegetable gardens, and public restrooms with song, both in the northeast and overseas. Her irrepressible inclination to harmonize and great love of playful nuance have mostly gotten her into all the right sorts of trouble, so she counts them among her blessings. (more…)
Greg BoardmanI traded my electric guitar for a fiddle upon hearing Dave Swarbrick play with Fairport Convention at the King’s Rook, in Ipswich, Massachusetts, back in 1970. Roving out later from my home in central Maine, I soon discovered a cadre of peer fiddling expeditionaries (including many MFC staffers) and a couple of older generations boasting of some very fine country and traditional musicians. Among these, Cherry Frechette, Otto Soper, Fred Pike, Leo Murphy, Simon St. Pierre, Ben Guillemette and Lucien Matthieu, to mention a few, made a great impact upon my life and music. Dudley Laufman of Canterbury, New Hampshire, whose itinerant musician’s license still brings him frequently to Maine, has also been a seminal musical influence, not to mention the very welcome new wave of younger musicians who are infusing our scene with great energy, creativity and feeling. Meantime, I continue to teach bowed strings to elementary school children, produce music events, assist in music for worship, and perform around the state from my family base in Lewiston.
Sandy has been playing for contra dances for over 50 years. In the 70’s, he was a founding member of the Roaring Jelly dance band and the Common Ground quintet. Back then, he played occasionally with Dudley Laufman and the Canterbury Country Dance Orchestra. He spent over 20 years as the hired music director of two long-standing community dance bands (the Berlin Country Dance Orchestra and Oh, CONTRAire!), and has recorded with a number of traditional musicians, including Tony Saletan, Jay Unger, Jerry Robichaud, and Trapezoid. He has played for many well-known dance callers, including Dudley Laufman, Ted Sanella, Larry Jenkins, Tony Parkes, and Lisa Greenleaf
He was a co-founder of The Music School at the Emporium, then in Cambridge, MA, and was the Director of the school for the first four years. As the lead old-time banjo instructor, he taught over 400 musicians how to frail a banjo. He has been on staff several times at Pinewoods, and has led instructional workshops at many festivals including: Fox Hollow, the National Folk Festival at Wolftrap, NEFFA, the Five College Folk Festival, and the DEFFA Festival.
In the past at Fiddle Camp, Sandy has taught pennywhistle and five-string banjo. This summer he will be leading the Great Horned Ukestra in its daily late-afternoon rehearsals, and also leading them at the Country Dances each evening. (Remember to bring a ukulele and/or a horn!)
15 Pipers Way, New Harbor, ME 04554 • Landline: (207) 677-6647
Éric Favreau comes from a family of traditional musicians and has spent a great deal of time playing with other fiddlers, learning their repertoire and studying their varied styles. Éric has explored and exploited various sources including archives and personally made field recordings and has accumulated a rich and fascinating repertoire. Over the years, he has garnered a profound understanding and vast knowledge of Québécois traditional music. (more…)
Noah Fishman is a multidimensional performer, composer, and educator who bends the lines between folk, chamber, and jazz. Raised in coastal Maine, Noah studied music at Princeton and the University of Michigan, and in 2019 was selected for the Betty Carter Jazz Ahead residency at The Kennedy Center. Noah attended and volunteered at Maine Fiddle Camp for many years before joining the staff, and adores the MFC community. For more information go to noahfishmanmusic.com.
Alex FortierAlex has been playing piano since the age of six, even receiving instruction from our esteemed MFC staff at a young age. He now adds his experience with various styles of music to MFC as staff.Having graduated from University of Rochester’s Music program in 2019, Alex is now working both solo and with various projects out of Rochester, NY.Spotify Artist Link: https://open.spotify.com/artist/60n7vsNGsJxyNrpRoH0Om4?si=_s2_vlKLRr2XAIA6zwybMQ
Benjamin FossBenjamin Foss is a musician and luthier based in Brooks, Maine. Benjamin grew up in southern New England attending and playing for contra dances and building fiddles and banjos out of everything he could find. He first came to Maine Fiddle Camp in 2012 and hasn’t missed a session since!Benjamin plays in several contra dance combinations on fiddle, guitar, tenor banjo, and occasionally other stringed instruments and on rare occasions can be found calling dances. When he’s not playing, he’s building and restoring guitars, banjos and mandolins in Brooks. Some of Benjamin’s other pursuits include restoring player pianos and reed organs, stacking firewood, and finding forgotten fiddle tunes and dances to bring back into circulation.
Ellen Gawler is a celebrated fiddler, masterful in many styles, including Irish, French-Canadian, Maritime, Shetland and New England. Her fiddling possesses sparkling clarity, authentically rooted in tradition while at the same time inventive and playful. Her lively delivery of traditional fiddling has sent many a contra dance hall into whirling delight with soaring melodies and driving rhythms. (more…)
Elsie Gawler is a multi-instrumentalist and songster rooted in Maine’s traditional folk music and culture. With her family, the Gawler Family Band, she has played throughout the state and beyond, sharing traditional fiddle tunes, songs, and original works since she was 6 years old. From this foundation she has branched out and launched her debut solo album, Sweet As Honey. The album is a collection of 9 original songs inspired by sacred connection to earth and community. While continuing to play regularly with The Gawler Family Band, her other projects include duo Elsie & Ethan, and trio The Gawler Sisters. She has also been a long-time member of the group Childsplay. (more…)
Born into a musical family, Ed started playing fiddle at the age of 4, learning Suzuki method. His musical interests cover a wide spectrum from Bluegrass to Celtic and beyond and he has been a regular instructor for Maine Fiddle Camp since 2003. Howe has an extensive electronics background, and took an interest in the electric violin. He plays a 5-string NS Design electronic violin and is a featured artist on the NS design artist page. (more…)
Jim Joseph, from Phippsburg,ME, was actually on staff a couple years ago for the inaugural June week. That was before we had an actual accordion track, and now he is back as an accordion teacher. Jim plays button accordion in the Quebecois, New England, and Cajun styles and also plays 5 string banjo, mandolin, fiddle, percussion (foot and otherwise) and is a member of several Maine bands including, T-Acadie, Scrod Pudding, and JimmyJo and the Jumbol’ayuhs, with Fiddle Camp staffers Pam Weeks and Bill Olson. Jim plays single row Cajun accordions (built by Marc Savoy and Junior Martin) and a 2 row Saltarelle D/G box. Here are some videos of Jim in action: A Cajun song with the Jumbol’Ayuhs, and a set of Quebecois reels with T-Acadie.
One of the most in demand upright bass, and five-string banjo players on the US contradance circuit, Stuart Kenney’s regional musical interests sweep from Southwest Louisiana to Acadia. He has a long career in many traditional music genres. His interest in Quebecois music formed through the fiddling of Lisa Ornstein, and performances by La Bottine Souriante. The inclusion of French Canadian music into the living tradition of New England contradance music caught his attention early on. (more…)
Bennett Konesni grew up in Appleton, Maine, 10 miles downstream of Maine Fiddle Camp. He was naturally drawn into the strong communities of old-time music, sailing, and farming in the area. At thirteen he shipped as a deckhand aboard local schooners, sailing Penobscot Bay and learning the traditional work songs of the tall ships as he raised sails and hauled anchor. Later, at Middlebury College, Bennett co-founded the student farm and spent six months studying Zulu farming songs in South Africa. (more…)
Glen gives private lessons for mandolin and tenor banjo from his home in Portland, ME, and plays for contradances throughout the Northeast, and at festivals across the country with bands such as Frigate, Steampacket, Riptide, and Stomp Rocket. Visit Glen at www.glenloper.com.
49 Brackett St, Portland ME, 04102
Elaine Malkin has played the violin since the age of 5. She was part of the resurgence of contra dances in Maine in the early 70’s, having learned from Otto Soper and Dudley Laufman. She played New England contra dances until 2009, when she began an intensive study of Québécois fiddle with mainly Éric Favreau, but also with Lisa Ornstein, André Brunet, Yvon Mimeault, and Liette Remon. This music has completely captured her heart and she uses a traditional Québécois repertoire for contra dances, concerts, and other venues. Learning, teaching, and sharing this special music is her greatest joy.
Helen Newell is a fiddler hailing from the depths of Maine Fiddle Camp–she started playing violin at age 3, and grew up immersed in the folk world. Her parents, Kaity and Carter Newell are founding members of MFC, and Helen spent her entire childhood at camps, concerts, and contra dances.
Recently graduated from Berklee College of Music, Helen Newell pursued a Violin Performance major with a minor in American Roots. She was able to study with notable professors while at Berklee, including legendary Old-Time fiddler Bruce Molsky, jazz violinist Jason Anick, Arabic violinist Simon Shaheen, Turkish, Greek, Middle Eastern (and many others) violinist Beth Bahia Cohen, as well as violinist Mimi Rabson, Sharan Leventhal, Rob Thomas, and cellist Eugene Friesen. These amazing mentors have helped her expand her musical repertoire and technique and develop into a performer, composer and collaborator.
Helen has an active performing life, playing in orchestras, musicals, recording sessions, chamber groups, and bands. She has also been composing orchestral pieces—her most recent composition “7:08” was performed by Berklee World Strings in April 2022.
Another important aspect of Helen’s musical life is teaching. Helen is a certified Suzuki Method teacher, and she teaches both virtual and in-person violin lessons to a wide range of students. Because of her vast repertoire of styles, she likes to bring that exploration to her students and help them explore the world of different styles, repertoire, technique, improvisation, recording, and composing/arranging.
Kaity teaches fiddle in Damariscotta and has played for dances for many years with The Maine Country Dance Orchestra, and with the band The Lady Bugs. A native of Great Britain, Kaity has brought many a fine tune from the British Isles to our local dances. Kaity also plays viola in the local community orchestra and has four children, all of whom play music and come to camp every year.
7 Creek Lane Damariscotta ME 044543 207-563-8440
John started his early musical life as a drummer, but by some miracle got hooked on traditional music in his teens.
John’s been teaching fiddle and harmonica at MF Camp since its start in the mid 90’s. He’s been known to get a few silly skits going for the evening variety show. He teaches fiddle, guitar and harmonica privately and can be contacted at [email protected] 338-0296 (cell 213-3294).
Doug likes to play the “old-time piano” for dances, melodramas, honky tonk saloons, and silent movies. He learned his style from Otto Soper, Geneva Walton, and Danny Patt among many others. He plays with Old Grey Goose and produced all three of their recordings, including the group’s first recording in 1978 for Folkways, “Old Time Country Dance Tunes and Songs from Maine”, now available again on CD. Doug also plays piano, accordion, and fiddle. He is the Camp Director again this year.
116 Pleasant Cove Dr. Woolwich ME 04579 207-522-3800
Sharon has been a student of tin whistle and wooden flute since 1977 when she attended the Willy Clancy Summer School while working in Ireland for the year. On her return to Boston to care for her grandmother, she studied with master flute players in the Hanafin /Cooley Comhalthus branch. She move to Maine to raise her children and became a member of the Portland Ceili Band and Ladies of the Lake. She runs a music studio in Bath, Maine where she teaches flute and whistle and Music Together. For a few months every year since 2000, she happily lives and breathes Maine Fiddle alongside director Doug Protsik. Sharon can be contacted at [email protected] or 207-522-3900.
Kenny first picked up a ukulele at age 8, when a family friend bought him one. Now 50 plus years later, he’s not half bad! He’s got a menagerie of them, from soprano to baritone, and plays a variety of styles, swing music being his favorite. Kenny has been an actor and physical comedian for 35 years, and has performed internationally, as well as on Broadway. He also starred as the lead clown in Cirque du Soleil’s Nouvelle Experience. He and Francis Berks make the acoustic duo The Doppelgangers.
Maggie Robinson has been teaching fiddle since 2003. She began taking fiddle lessons the age of 10 and became concert mistress of her school orchestra during her senior year. Many years later she discovered Contradancing and fell in love with the music She took the violin out of the closet and began learning fiddle tunes. She completed a course in 2003 at the Hartt College of Music, Theater, & Dance on “Teaching Fiddling”.
Currently she is teaching at several locations in greater Portland, and also regularly calls for contra dances around the state.
A new England fiddler and folk singer, Lissa grew up in Maine as an active member of the folk music and dance community, where she cut her teeth as a musician at a very young age. She has continued to explore music throughout her life, leading to her graduation from The New England Conservatory of Music in Boston, Massachusetts (2001). Her list of mentors includes Greg Boardman, Alasdair Fraser, David Kaynor, and Hankus Netsky. While embracing a diverse pallet of musical influences, she still stays true to her New England roots.
For more info on Lissa, check out her website at www.lissafiddle.com
David Stimson began backing up country dance music on the guitar in 1965 at the age of eleven. During several summers the 1960s he attended Pinewoods cape with his family while his stepfather, Bob Guillard, taught Morris Dancing and English Country Dance. David’s was first exposed to Contra Dance during the evening dances at Pinewoods; however, the disease remained latent until he learned English Concertina and joined the Woods Hole Folk Orchestra in1979. (more…)
Bethany Waickman is a guitarist based out of Portland, Maine. She grew up in a musical family in the Adirondack Mountains of northern New York state. After college she spent some time traveling, hiking, and playing music in Ireland. Upon returning, she moved to Boston to focus on music. She co-founded the contra dance trio, Anadama, and is the guitarist for VT-based fiddler/singer Lissa Schneckenburger. (more…)
Pam sings and plays several instruments in the folk trio, T-Acadie, is fiddler and singer for the Maine-based Cajun dance band, Jimmyjo & the Jumbol’Ayuhs, plays fiddle and mountain dulcimer in the contradance band, Scrod Pudding, and performs solo or with guitar player and caller Bill Olson. She is an accomplished tunesmith and has composed scores of tunes, from lively jigs and reels, to entrancing airs and beautiful waltzes.