The second annual fiddlers get-together, presented by LA Arts, will be held from 1-4 p.m. on Sunday, August 14 at Kennedy Park in Lewiston. Bring a lawn chair or blanket and enjoy free live music in the park with a wonderful lineup of accomplished musicians:
Melissa Bragdon-Caron, a fiddler known for playing and teaching many different styles of music, was classically trained and earned a degree in music education from the University of Maine. She has experience teaching string programs and general music at various grade levels in Maine public schools. Melissa has been a member of Portland-based bluegrass band ‘Jerks of Grass’ since 2006. She also performs frequently with the band ‘Sugar Hill’ and recently recorded an album with ‘Fiddlers Three’. Melissa is co-director of the New Hampshire Fiddle Ensemble, a non-profit organization that supports the community by bringing together a large group of acoustic musicians of all ages to learn and perform different styles of music. She runs a successful music camp every September with Ellen Carlson called Fiddleheads Acoustic Jam Camp.
Ellen Gawler was immersed in the traditional music of southern Vermont and New England, at counter dances, fiddle competitions and Morris dance events in her youth. During her formative years, she learned by ‘sitting’ with influential fiddlers Rodney Miller and Donna Herbert and performed for dances in the Western Mass with the Fiddle Caynors. She was fortunate to have studied with All-Ireland Champion Violinist Seamus Connelly when she first came to America. She was also deeply inspired when she was quite young, by her neighbours, the MacArthur family and when she grew old enough, performed at fairs and other functions with them. At 18, she followed her passion for the violin to Ireland, playing, learning and collecting traditional tunes in spontaneous situations. After moving to Maine, she fell in love with Maine’s French and maritime fiddling with alumni, Lucien Mathieu, Jerry Robichaud and Ben Guilmette, often playing with them at house parties and various events. violin throughout the state.
In 1977, through Antioch College, she ventured to Shetland for a three-month apprenticeship with master fiddler, Tom Anderson, to learn the Shetland style of fiddling, collect tunes and help teach in the upper islands. She was a long-time member of the legendary Maine Country Dance Orchestra, which for 25 years performed and hosted lively monthly dances at Bowdoinham Town Hall. Ellen has also, on several occasions, toured internationally with the world music group Village Harmony. In 1978, she toured the Northeastern States with The Old Gray Goose. She accompanied the Brunswick-based dance troupe, Borovcani, providing them with Eastern European dance music. For nearly 15 years, Ellen played extensively with her childhood friend, Megan MacArthur, and Elisabeth Wolfe in the highly acclaimed folk trio, Trillium, which was best known for its intricate intertwining harmonies. She was an original member of the acclaimed band Childsplay appearing in concert with them for over 2 decades. She is currently a member of the Celtic group, Ladies of the Lake, now in their 10th year. She also performs with the fun-loving Gawler family, playing folk music from Maine and beyond, warming the hearts of audiences wherever they go.
Gawler has been teaching at Suzuki since 1983 and has brought many children to musical maturity with her insightful guidance and fun teaching style. She found the ways in which the violin and Suzuki come together, to equip young players with the skills they need to be good violinists. In 1992, with her colleague Betsy Kobayashi, she co-founded the Pineland Suzuki School, now in its 24th year. She has attended Suzuki lectures in the United States and Japan, and for several years taught violin at the New England Suzuki Institute. She is the founding director of the Pineland Fiddlers, an aspiring group of 20 young people aged 8-18 who have recorded twice and traveled to Cape Breton, Prince Edward Island, Ireland and Quebec. . In 2009, at the invitation of the US State Department, she brought a group of Pineland Fiddlers to Turkmenistan to participate in an international children’s festival. In 2010, Ellen received, as a master violinist and teacher, the Traditional Arts Scholarship from the Maine Arts Commission. She currently spends her time performing at dances and concerts, and teaching at camps, workshops and at home.
Greg Boardman swapped his electric guitar for a violin when he heard Dave Swarbrick play with Fairport Convention at the King’s Rook in Ipswich, Massachusetts in 1970. Later moving out of his home in central Maine, he soon discovered a group of expeditionaries from the fiddling among peers (including many MFC staff) and a few older generations boasting some very good country and traditional musicians. Among these, Cherry Frechette, Otto Soper, Fred Pike, Leo Murphy, Simon St. Pierre, Ben Guillemette and Lucien Matthieu, to name but a few, had a great impact on his life and his music. Dudley Laufman of Canterbury, New Hampshire, whose license as a traveling musician still brings him frequently to Maine, has also been a defining musical influence, not to mention the much-welcomed new wave of young musicians who are infusing our scene with much energy, creativity and feeling. . In the meantime, he continues to teach bowed chords to elementary school children, produce musical events, help with music for worship, and perform statewide from his family base in Lewiston.
Jessie Boardman fiddles for contra and family dances across New England, and she sometimes slips the cello into dance sets. She teaches violin to all ages at Maine Fiddle Camp, Sandy Island Suzuki Camp, in workshops and in her private studio. Dancing her first counter dance as a child with the band Swallowtail in New Hampshire, she later moved to Maine, where she happily resides.
Alden Robinson played the fiddle most of his life, mostly Irish tunes and traditional New England dance music. He plays for concerts, dances (counter and square dances), weddings and other events. He also teaches classes, groups and at Maine Fiddle Camp in the summer. In 2017, he traveled to Lithuania with his band Riptide as part of a State Department cultural exchange. He also performed with The Press Gang, a (now inactive) Irish trio/quartet that toured the US and Canada in the 2010s.
Since 1973, LA Arts, the arts agency for the cities of Lewiston and Auburn Maine, has had a mission to engage and inspire a vibrant community through arts and culture. The agency works with governments, businesses, schools, and local arts and culture organizations to create opportunities for community members across generations to discover, learn, and participate in the arts. LA Arts organizes arts programs and initiatives, supports the work of local artists and arts organizations, and highlights the essential role the arts play in shaping an economically vital, socially integrated, and forward-looking future for its community. .
For more information, visit laarts.oug.
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