Sign up for The Bluegrass University classes!

If you're interested in attending The Bluegrass University classes at Grey Fox, Thomas Point Beach (TPB), Jenny Brook, Pemi Valley or Podunk, or if you have any questions, please e-mail: tony@thebluegrassuniversity.com

 

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Here are some of the teachers who have taught The Bluegrass University classes at various festivals over the years:

Roger Williams

Chris Brashear

Ben Pearce

Steve Roy

Catherine "BB" Bowness

Tony Watt - Founder, Director and Educator

Tony WattAward-winning flatpicking guitarist Tony Watt has performed throughout the United States and Europe, on the Grand Ole Opry, and elsewhere. He has been featured in Bluegrass Now Magazine and Flatpicking Guitar Magazine, and toured and recorded with Nashville-based Cages Bend, east Tennessee-based Meridian, with Rounder Recording artist Alecia Nugent, and most recently with Leigh Gibson, guitarist for The Gibson Brothers. Tony currently performs with his band, Southeast Expressway. He has taught privately for over 10 years, and now teaches courses in bluegrass guitar, mandolin and jamming for the Boston Bluegrass Union's Bluegrass Academy. He has also taught workshops and Kids' Academies at bluegrass festivals including Grey FoxJoe ValThomas Point Beach, and many more. Tony teaches lessons,classesworkshops and jam sessions in Albany, NY, Cambridge, MA, and points in-between.

Ira Gitlin - Banjo

Ira GitlinIra Gitlin is widely known and respected in Washington-Baltimore music circles as a versatile multi-instrumentalist, teacher, and writer. A former National Bluegrass Banjo Champion, he has backed up such nationally known performers as Bill Harrell, the Johnson Mountain Boys, Laurie Lewis, Peter Rowan, and Peter “P.D.Q. Bach” Schickele. Ira has taught at numerous music camps, including Augusta Bluegrass Week, the Swannanoa Gathering, Banjo Camp North, Pete Wernick's Jam Camps, and the Maryland Banjo Academy. A frequent contributor to Bluegrass Unlimited and Banjo NewsLetter, he has lectured on bluegrass for the Smithsonian Associates, and also delivered a paper at the 2005 Bluegrass Music Symposium. In 1993 Ira was a one-day winner on Jeopardy.

Jeff Horton - Bass

Jeff Horton has been playing and singing bluegrass for thirty-eight years. He was a founding member of the Neon Valley Boys, once Rhode Island's premiere bluegrass band. For six years in the early 90’s he played with Northern Lights, touring nationally and recording three CDs. With Northern Lights, Jeff performed with Jonathan Edwards, Peter Rowan and the late fiddle legend Vassar Clements. He currently plays with The KroppDusters, a trio of Northern Lights alumni and two other top musicians. He and Mike Kropp are also members of The Pegheads. As if he isn’t busy enough, Jeff also plays with The Mary Maguire Band and electric bass with Nickel Jukebox, a Motown band out of Providence. And there is more... for 16 years, Jeff has done bass workshops at the Grass Roots Stage at Grey Fox, sometimes with such notables as Mike Bub.

Andy Katz - Dobro (a.k.a. resophonic guitar)

Andy KatzWhen Andy Katz first heard the dobro (played by Jerry Douglas, on Tony Rice's Native American album) he was stunned, hooked by the plaintive vocal sound of the instrument. When he finally saw one played live, it was Roger Williams who got him started with an instrument and some pointers. Andy soon discovered Josh Graves, “Uncle” of the bluegrass dobro, and studied with Mike Auldridge, Andy Hall, Sally van Meter and Rob Ickes. He enjoys working out and picking fiddle tunes, though he feels that the “voice” of the dobro is particularly suited to supporting a singer. He's been fortunate to have picked with nearly every bluegrass picker in New England, and is a founding member of the Boston-based band Flatt Rabbit.

Bronwyn Keith-Hynes - Fiddle

Bronwyn Keith-Hynes is a Boston-based musician originally from Charlottesville, Virginia. Accepted on a scholarship to Berklee College of Music at age 16, she graduated in 2013 with a diploma in Violin Performance.  Bronwyn is fast gaining recognition for her fiddling in both Irish and Bluegrass circles. Bronwyn has shared the stage with renowned musicians including Peter Rowan, Darol Anger and Mark O'Connor.  She has performed at The John F. Kennedy Center for Performing Arts; The Inter-Celtic Festival in Lorient, France and Grey Fox Bluegrass Festival, among others. She toured France in 2012 with the international Irish music and dance show Celtic Dances, and she has also performed with Tomaseen Foley’s Irish Times show alongside Grammy winner Bill Coulter.

Mike Kropp - Banjo

Mike Kropp is New England's premier 3 finger style banjoist. As a member of Northern Lights for 17 years, he has recorded CD's on Flying Fish, Red House and Prime CD. Since the 1960's, he has performed and recorded with artists ranging from Vassar Clements & Peter Rowan, to Don MacLean and Jonathan Edwards. Described as a "master banjoist", Mike is fluent in all styles of five string banjo, ranging from Folk, Old time, and Classic styles to traditional Bluegrass and modern Newgrass styles. He has taught banjo for over forty years, and has participated in numerous workshops at festivals across the country. He was Bluegrass Director for Banjo Camp North as well as a Music Director of Old Time Music Camp North. His column, “Tunes from Tug Hollow”, appears in Banjo Newsletter, in which he was interviewed and featured on the cover of in 1990. Mike currently performs regularly with his band, The KroppDusters.

Mary Maguire - Lead & Harmony Singing

Mary MaguireFormerly lead singer and guitarist for Northern New England’s renown acoustic swing and bluegrass ladies, Sweet, Hot & Sassy! , Mary Maguire now heads her own distinctive trio, The Mary Maguire Band. She has 6 recordings and has been a guest artist on recordings of others, and toured with southern New Hampshire’s Second Wind Bluegrass Band.  2011 will be Mary and Jeff’s 11th year presenting their well-loved vocal workshops at New York’s Grey Fox Bluegrass Festival, as well as repeat classes at Joe Val (MA), Podunk (CT) Bluegrass, and Thomas Point Beach (ME) Festivals.  Mary is also a long-time teacher of guitar and piano, and a song-writer.

Lincoln Meyers - Guitar

Lincoln MeyersLincoln Meyers is an award-winning guitarist who has been on the New England music scene for the past eighteen years, and has been playing professionally for thirty. Lincoln, who was featured on the cover of Flatpicking Guitar magazine’s November/December issue 2010, has toured the world and has performed with bands including Erica Brown & The Bluegrass Connection, The New England Bluegrass Band, Tony Trischka, April Verch, and most recently Frank Solivan and Dirty Kitchen. Lincoln is a veteran instructor, teaching private lessons as well as being involved with and conducting guitar workshops and seminars around the country.

Chris Moore - Mandolin

Chris MooreChris Moore is the Director of Music Education at 317 Main Community Music Center in Yarmouth, ME (317main.org). 317 Main is a nonprofit organization that was founded in 2004 with the idea that everyone interested in playing music, regardless of age or level of experience, deserves outstanding instructors and a stimulating environment. 317 Main employs 23 musicians who teach over 400 lessons weekly to students ages 3 to 90, as well as ensembles, drop-in jams, summer camps, and public events. 317 Main believes that music is the ideal way to bring people together and to promote a sense of community. Chris has dedicated his professional career to the practice and promotion of music, community, and education. He studied with mandolin masters Andy Statman and John McGann. He has worked for Homespun Tapes in Woodstock, NY and the Arts at St. Ann’s in Brooklyn. Chris founded the band Rust Farm with Boston guitarist John McGann and released two albums, the second produced by Tim O’Brien in 2000. Maine audiences also know him as a member of The Fogg Brothers bluegrass band. Chris has composed, performed, and recorded music for dance, film, television, theater, and visual art projects. His songs have been recorded and performed by Adrienne Young, Mark Erelli, Rani Arbo, Carol Noonan, Northern Lights, Dennis Brennan, and others. From 2003-2013, Chris lived in Nashville, TN and founded the band Kindling Stone with fiddler Mark Wingate and vocalist Charlotte Avant. In 2008, Kindling Stone released an album of Chris’ original songs and selections from the Sacred Harp and Shaker traditions. During his years in Nashville, Chris worked as assistant to Tim O’Brien.

Laura Orshaw - Fiddle

Laura OrshawFiddler and vocalist, Laura Orshaw, performs with Pennsylvania-based Lykens Valley Bluegrass Band and according to Bluegrass Unlimited, “has firmly established [herself] as a significant emerging artist in the arena of traditional American music”. Laura grew up in a musical family in Northeastern Pennsylvania; at age 10 she learned to play and sing from paternal grandmother and regional Old Time musician, Betty Orshaw. Throughout her teens Laura performed across the Northeast with her father in The Lonesome Road Ramblers, a four-piece vintage bluegrass band performing classic bluegrass from the 1950’s around one mic. She recorded two solo fiddle projects in her early teens, and recently finished an album with Lykens Valley Bluegrass Band entitled “Nails and Glue”. Laura teaches fiddle lessons and workshops, and has also conducted educational programs covering traditional American music at various colleges, public schools, libraries, and home-school events throughout the Northeast. Her passion for teaching is also evidenced in her professional education, as a master’s level school counselor.

Lauren Rioux - Fiddle

Lauren RiouxLauren Rioux is enthusiastically sought out for her teaching expertise and leads classes and workshops across the globe. In her private studio, she teaches a delightfully rowdy group of over thirty violinists, violists, and fiddlers ranging in age from 5 to 70. Lauren has toured the United States, Europe and the UK with Darol Anger and his Republic of Strings, as a duo with Brittany Haas, with Scott Nygaard and Crow Molly, and most recently with her husband Sten Isak. Her online learning community
www.JamWithLauren.com
provides students the world over with access to her innovative curriculum and inimitable teaching style.

Betsy Rome - Guitar & Mandolin

Betsy RomeBetsy Rome is a well-known guitarist in the Northeast bluegrass scene. Her swing-grass band "Too Blue" performed at Grey Fox 2012, has played at the Joe Val and Podunk bluegrass festivals, and recently opened for Claire Lynch. Betsy's playing blends bluegrass, old-time, Celtic and swing, and she has been featured in Flatpicking Guitar Magazine. Noted for her rock-solid rhythm and inventive leads, she has won or placed in contests including Roxbury, CT and the Pizza Hut International Bluegrass Showdown. Betsy teaches from her home in Woodbury, CT and can be contacted through her band's website, www.toobluemusic.com.  "Betsy plays with a direct, highly effective approach. She’s not flashy, but that’s her strength. Clever, insightful intros, outros, solos and backup parts flow from her guitar like a blue mountain brook rollicking downstream. Everything about her playing is catchy and infectious, the sign of a total pro." (Flatpicking Guitar Magazine).

 

Sam Stambler - Dobro (a.k.a. resophonic guitar)

Sam has been playing guitar, banjo and Dobro since he was 14. He is known for his high energy performing and outside the box approach to bluegrass. He has an eclectic musical background and is not afraid to admit that he loves both Scruggs, Sondheim and Schubert. He also likes Schrödinger, though not much of a musician, he was one heck of a physicist (Sam's other love in life). Sam has performed regularly for years with various Boston-based artists including Red Hot Black Top, Tony Watt & Southeast Expressway, Slatt & Fruggs, and Grace Van't Hof.

Rich Stillman - Banjo

Rich StillmanRich has been a banjo player-about-town in the Boston area for many years. Among other acts, he founded and led the progressive bluegrass band WayStation and played and recorded for Adam Dewey and Crazy Creek, The Bogus Family and currently Southern Rail. His banjo playing has appeared on a number of studio releases by other bluegrass folk and acoustic artists as well. He is six-time winner of the bluegrass banjo category at the Lowell Fiddle and Banjo Contest, and winner of the 2002 and 2003 New England Banjo Championship held at Maine's Ossipee Valley Bluegrass Festival. Rich is currently teaching at The Music Emporium, The Real School of Music and at his own studio, and at Tufts University as an Applied Faculty member. He also teaches Internet lessons through Skype, with students in four countries, and teaches private lessons at several New England bluegrass festivals. Rich is a regular faculty member at Banjo Camp North and contributed a chapter to the book Banjo Camp, along with Pete Seeger, Tony Trischka, Pete Wernick and others.

Bruce Stockwell - Banjo

Bruce StockwellBruce Stockwell has been playing bluegrass banjo since 1968 and began teaching in the 70s.  By age 16 he had won banjo contests, recorded his first album and opened for Earl Scruggs, Doc Watson, John Hartford and many others.  In the late 70s he worked with Phil Rosenthal and Mike Auldridge as Old Dog.  Since the 80s Bruce has performed with brothers Barry and Al in various acoustic/electric formats.  In 2005 he won the Merlefest Banjo contest.  And in 2008 a NH Arts Grant led to the formation of Hot Mustard, a double banjo bluegrass band with his wife Kelly and a NH couple Bill and April Jubett. He's also been on staff at Banjo Camp North since 2004.

Kelly Stockwell - Bass

Kelly StockwellKelly Stockwell started on banjo, and soon realized two banjos in one house was two banjos too many.  She switched to doghouse bass in 2006 and never looked back.  She learned through the school of hard knocks and dirty looks from guitar players;  joining in at jams, parties, and as the staff bassist for Banjo Camp North and Mandolin Camp North.  Now a fearless bass player she's willing to jump onstage with anyone who will ask.  Able to pull a bow and slap a little, Kelly continues to expand her range on the bass.  Not afraid of carpentry work she has also figured out the best setup for her bass to be loud and easy to play.

Bill Thibodeau - Mandolin & Fiddle

Bill Thibodeau started his musical career at an early age with help from Sam Tidwell (his father) and Fred Pike. They would teach him as he wanted and eventually performed with both of them. Bill also performed with Bluegrass Supply Company, Stan Tyminski, Union River Band and White Mountain Bluegrass and many others. Bill was involved in developing Main Street Music Studios in Bangor, Maine where the design was to have a complete musical experience from learning to play to recording a full length recording. Bill taught Bluegrass music to many students teaching mostly mandolin and banjo and assisting with many recordings at Main Street Music Studios. Bill moved to Rhode Island 2 years ago and began teaching at Rick’s Musical Instruments in Cumberland RI where he still works and teaches. Most of the students he has are currently learning mandolin or banjo with a few fiddle and guitar students focusing on Bluegrass.

Stash Wyslouch - Guitar

Stash WyslouchStash Wyslouch is an experienced performer and teacher. A graduate of the Berklee College of Music (2010), he’s played guitar for over half of his life and currently tours full time with The Deadly Gentlemen, an up and coming progressive Bluegrass band. Stash started the guitar to emulate his rock and heavy metal heroes growing up but soon grew a taste for the tones and textures of bluegrass and country music. Stash’s teaching style focuses on mastering basic concepts and building individuality from a firm and rooted base. His teaching approach has been described as “thoughtful, thorough, and structured, but always feeling loose.” Stash’s unique guitar style links his electrified roots with the high octane sounds of bluegrass heard in the likes of The Stanley Brothers, Doc Watson and Bill Monroe.

Phil Zimmerman - Mandolin & Banjo

Phil ZimmermanPhil Zimmerman took up the guitar in high school during the folk scare of the sixties. A New Lost City Ramblers concert introduced him to old-time and early bluegrass music. With Mike Seeger as role model, he developed his multi-instrumentalist chops as a solo performer, and has won regional contests for bluegrass and clawhammer banjo, guitar and mandolin. He’s a founding member of Connecticut’s ground-breaking eclectic string band, Last Fair Deal. For ten years, Phil played mandolin and sang lead with Connecticut’s premier traditional bluegrass band, Traver Hollow. Phil also performs OldTime music in Heroes of Tradition, a duo with Stacy Phillips. Phil is the Music Director of both Mandolin Camp North and Banjo Camp North, and has taught mandolin and banjo workshops at the Joe Val Festival since 2006.