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:


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.

Betsy Rome - Guitar

 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,  "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).


Phil Zimmerman - Mandolin

Phil 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.

Bill Thibodeau - 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.

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.

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.

Tony Watt - Jamming Class (for all instruments)

Award-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.