RMFC Artists July 23-30, 2017
Pictures and brief bios, including links to personal websites, are included below the following list.
Liz Knowles – Irish Fiddle Steve Scott – Cello, Fun Stuff
Christian Howes – Jazz Fiddle Tina Gugeler – Hammered Dulcimer
Laura Risk – Scottish & Quebecois Fiddle Frank Fyock – Piano, Orchestra, Quartets, Theory
Troy MacGillivray – Cape Breton Fiddle Loretta Thompson – Beginning Fiddle, Guitar
Anna Grace Shideler – Old Time Fiddle Amy Lenell Ledwith – Drums
Sabra MacGillivray – Highland & Step Dancing Arlene Patterson – Beginning Guitar, Fiddle
Ben Cohen – Klezmer Fiddle, Ukulele Chris & Cosima Luther – Fiddle Duets, Quartets
Larry Edelman – Dance Caller, Mandolin, Southwest Tunes Kyle Murphy – Advanced Mandolin, Bluegrass Band Lab
Peter Barnes – Piano, Flute, Tin Whistle Sara Murphy – Bluegrass Band Lab
Caroline McCaskey – Musical Saw Max Etling – Bass
“Frosty” Foster – Advanced Guitar
Mackenzie Johnston is a Texas-Style fiddler and has been playing since she was three years old. Competing since the age of 5, she has consistently placed in the top 4 in Idaho, Texas, and Colorado. Mackenzie has been a Colorado State Champion, placed first place in the Western Swing division and 4th in her age division at the National Old Time Fiddlers Competition in Weiser. Mackenzie credits Rocky Mountain Fiddle Camp with her love for so many styles of fiddling and this year will be her 12th straight year at RMFC. She is excited to be a fiddle instructor at the camp where she grew up . Her learning and teaching style is based solely on ear. Her goal is to make her students, regardless of age, feel comfortable learning by ear and to have fun with what she considers the most fun style of fiddling.
Liz has brought her distinctive sound – the fire and finesse of Irish fiddle music combined with the tonal richness of a classical foundation – to concert stages and festivals across the world. Her auspicious beginnings as the fiddler for Riverdance and as soloist on the soundtrack for the film Michael Collins established her as a virtuosic and versatile performer and she has since performed with artists such as Don Henley, Rachel Barton, and Marcus Roberts. Liz was a member of Cherish the Ladies and Ensemble Galilei, played on Broadway with The Pirate Queen, and has traveled the world as music director, producer and performer with two Irish music and dance shows, Celtic Legends and Celtic Dances. She is highly regarded as a teacher of Irish music as well as a composer and arranger. These days, she most often performs with the all-star female super-group, the highly acclaimed String Sisters, her trio, Open the Door for Three, with Kieran O’Hare and Pat Broaders and as a member of the newly formed Martin Hayes Quartet. Visit Liz’s Website.
The Minneapolis Tribune calls Christian “arguably the most intriguing young violinist in jazz”, while the Chicago Reader says: “Not since Jean-Luc Ponty has a violinist ranged from pure classical tofuzz tone rock to convincing jazz with such authority.”
Christian has been awarded the #2 spot in Downbeat magazine’s Critics Poll four times as “Rising Star” jazz violinist. A classically-trained player, he quickly earned a reputation in jazz circles by playing with numerous jazz greats in New York.
He has been invited to teach or present at The New School, Singapore International String Conference, Oberlin College, the Cincinnati Conservatory of Music, University of New Mexico, University of Southern California, Ohio State University, the Mark O’Connor Fiddle Camp, Jazz Connections, and hundreds of high schools and middle schools. Visit Christian’s website.
Scottish & Quebecois Fiddle
Originally from California, Laura grew up in the thriving San Francisco Scottish fiddle scene, learning her craft from master fiddler Alasdair Fraser. Upon moving to Boston in 1996, Laura joined American roots band Cordelia’s Dad. By 2001, Laura had moved to Montreal to continue her successful recording and concert career.
Laura’s imaginatively expressive interpretations of Scottish, Irish, Cape Breton, and Quebecois fiddle music have garnered international acclaim. “A virtuoso fiddler. Her fluency in fiddle styles from Cape Breton to Appalachia is remarkable,” raves The Boston Globe, while Folk Roots (U.K.) calls her playing “technically excellent and highly expressive.” Says Grammy-winning filmmaker Ken Burns, “Laura Risk’s fiddle is a revelation and achingly beautiful.” Visit Laura’s website. (Photo by Kelly Sullivan)
Cape Breton Fiddle
Raised in Lanark, Nova Scotia, his musical prowess can be attributed to an especially rare combination of commitment and bloodline. By the age of six, Troy was already impressing audiences with his step dancing skills. By 13 he was teaching piano at the renowned Gaelic College of Celtic Arts and Crafts in St. Anne’s, Cape Breton. He has completed grade seven of the Toronto Conservatory of Music for classical piano, has spent four years in a stringed orchestra and has earned a Bachelor of Arts degree with a major in music from St. Francis Xavier University.
In 2004, he was the recipient of the “Auleen Theriault Young Tradition Award” from the Goderich Celtic Roots Festival in Goderich, Ontario — an award given to an artist that shows outstanding talent and love for traditional and roots based music. In 2005/2006, Troy made his first of many appearances at Celtic Connections Festival in Glasgow, Scotland where he was chosen as the winner of the honourable “Danny Kyle Stage”. Visit Troy’s website.
Old Time Fiddle
Anna Grace was born and raised in Southwest Mississippi, where her mother helped to kindle in her and her siblings a love for playing, writing, and singing music. She began learning how to play the piano at age 2 and picked up the violin at age 5 and hasn’t put it down since.
She attended Belmont University in Nashville where she earned an undergraduate degree in Commercial Violin Performance in 2009. She then went on to earn a Masters degree at Belmont in Commercial Violin Performance, becoming the first violinist to complete the new program. Her thesis focused on the preservation of Mississippi Fiddle Music.
In 2008 Anna Grace co-founded the award-winning gospel group High Road. She continued playing, singing, writing, and traveling with the band for six years until she decided to come off the road to focus on being a mommy in 2014.
Anna Grace continues to cherish every opportunity to share her love for music and especially Mississippi fiddle tunes. You can often find her posting Facebook Live recordings of her favorite fiddle tunes on “Fiddle Tune Friday”.
Visit Barefoot Park Studios, which Anna grace founded and where she teaches today.
Highland & Step Dancing
Sabra is one of Atlantic Canada’s leading ambassadors of Highland and Scottish step dancing. She is a champion highland dancer, a stellar step dancer and an award-winning choreographer. She combines movements that she has learned in Cape Breton step, Highland, Irish, and Flamenco. Sabra has performed and taught all over the world including Canada, United States, Scotland, Ireland, and Australia. She continues to share her love for dance, culture and tradition with her Instructional Step Dancing DVD, “Gaelic in the Feet” and with a CD project with her brother, Troy, “Highland Dancing Music from Nova Scotia”. Visit Sabra’s Website.
Piano, Flute, Tin Whistle
Peter has been playing piano, flute and assorted other instruments for traditional dancing since 1971, and has been invited to most major contra, square, British Isles and vintage dance events throughout the United States, performing for dances and concerts, leading ensemble workshops, and generally acting in a crazy and often undignified manner. Averaging over 250 engagements per year since 1980 he is arguably one of Boston’s busiest musicians, and has also played for festivals and tours in England, France, Denmark, Shetland, Scotland and Czechoslovakia. He works with the bands Bare Necessities, Yankee Ingenuity, Culchullan, Fresh Fish, A Panel of Experts, and B.L.T. and has performed with many traditional greats including Seamus Connolly, Joe Derrane, Cathie Ryan, Chris Norman, Alasdair Fraser, Rodney Miller, and Joe Cormier. Visit Peter’s Website.
Ben Cohen is a versatile multi-instrumentalist. In addition to leading his own klezmer band, the Klez Dispensers (on accordion or simultaneous tenor banjo and bass), he plays electric bass and tuba for klezmer funk band Hal Aqua and the Lost Tribe; banjo and mandolin for Rocky Mountain Jewgrass; and archlute, theorbo and harpsichord for baroque ensemble Semplice. He nonetheless keeps his day job as an appellate lawyer in Denver. Here’s a video of Ben with Andy Stein from RMFC 2016.
Larry has traveled throughout the U.S. and Europe playing, teaching, and calling for traditional dancing. He plays fiddle, mandolin, and guitar with the Soda Rock Ramblers, the Percolators, and the Prairie Chickens. Larry has taught at dozens of music and dance camps and festivals including the Festival of American Fiddle Tunes, Ashokan, Augusta, Pinewoods, Lady of the Lake, and many more. Again this year, Larry will be conducting his very popular Southwest tunes workshop for all instruments. Larry will also be calling the evening dances, delighting both novice and veteran dancers with his fun, energetic dances, humor, enthusiasm, and skillful teaching. Visit Larry’s Website.
As far as we know, RMFC is the only fiddle or music camp to offer musical saw. Saws will be available to borrow or buy, and your fiddle bow will work and suffer no damage.
Caroline won the International Musical Saw Competition in 2007, and in 2009 returned to judge the contest. She and her saw were also on the revival of the game show “I’ve Got a Secret.” She has appeared as a soloist with numerous ensembles, most recently with the Colorado Symphony and the San Francisco Symphony under Michael Tilson Thomas. Caroline now teaches violin, fiddle, viola and cello in Berkeley, CA. Visit Caroline’s Website. Great video of Caroline playing a Christmas favorite on her saw.
Steve is a talented multi-instrumentalist who has broad professional experience, including chamber/symphonic, Jazz and Dixieland, folk, and Celtic. He has performed at many Celtic, Jazz and folk festivals in the Northwest, and has numerous recordings to his credit, with his own bands and as a studio player. An experienced dance musician, Steve’s playing is driving and rhythmic, and he continues to expand the cello’s possibilities in traditional and folk music. Steve is highly regarded as a teacher, and has been named to several “Who’s Who” lists in education. Steve also brings with him over 25 years of pro bass experience with various bands and symphony orchestras, and has something to offer everyone.
As a cellist, Steve has a background of well over twenty years in Scottish music. In Steve’s classes, count on learning traditional and modern tunes, traditional and contemporary accompaniment styles, and even improvisation. He will again be offering the Cello for Fiddlers class for anyone who already plays another instrument, but would like to try to cello for a week (cellos are provided).
Tina first heard a hammered dulcimer in 1986 while living in Ketchikan, Alaska. It quickly became her passion and soon it seemed everyone on the island had heard Tina and her band, BearFoot. Since moving to the Denver area in 1990, Tina has become a full time musician, performing solo and in small combos with fiddle, guitar or piano, and in several local contra dance bands. Along with her busy performance schedule, she teaches students on the dulcimer and bodhran. Tina has published a book of her arrangements, “Arrangements for the Hammered Dulcimer.” She has taught at several festivals including Dulcimer Festival, Irish Week at Augusta, the California Traditional Music Society Annual Summer Solstice Festival, Winterfest, the Sawdust Festival, and was a jam session leader and teacher at the Southwest Dulcimer Festival. Over the years, Tina has won many local and regional competitions, and in the years 2000 and 2015 she won the U.S. National Hammered Dulcimer Championship. Click here to see a video of Tina at RMFC. Visit Tina’s website.
Frank is the instrumental music and Music History instructor at the Vanguard School in Colorado Springs ranked as one of the top 100 high schools in the country. He is a composer and songwriter and has recently completed an orchestral piece entitled “Jeffy” while earning his Master of Music in composition at UC Boulder. He has his own recording studio and played fiddle professionally with a touring country band for ten years. After teaching at RMFC in 2001, he wrote “Escapes for Fiddlers,” a collection of original solo fiddle tunes, which will be available at the camp store. He will again be teaching his fascinating and popular course in music history and composing.
Loretta Thompson is a high-spirited musician and singer whose versatile performances captivate audiences everywhere. Dynamic fiddling and a radiant voice echo the fervor of her Scottish-Irish and American heritage. She possesses a passionate and spontaneous enthusiasm for traditional music and dance which shines in every aspect of her life. Combining fiddle, guitar, and whistles with moving vocals, Loretta entertains with repertoires in Celtic music, American Historic and Nostalgia, Old Time Country, and more. She literally fiddled her way across Scotland and Ireland and is embraced wherever she travels for her talented fiddling and enthusiastic charm. Loretta has been featured for many years at local, state, and national Scottish and Irish gatherings, Celtic Festivals, and in concerts with a long list of leading Celtic entertainers. Loretta majored in music education and conducting, has experience as a full-time public school orchestra director, clinician, and general music teacher, and is a member of the Evergreen (CO) Chamber Orchestra. Loretta is a full-time entertainer, composer, private teacher, and plays for all forms of Scottish and Irish dance. Visit Loretta’s Website.
From Glasgow, Scotland, Arlene is particularly interested in shetland fiddle music and story telling. She studied with Tom Anderson and spent time in the Shetland Islands. Arlene teaches violin/fiddle in her Longmont home studio and recently founded the Rocky Mountain Fiddle Club whose mission is to encourage the playing of authentic Scottish fiddle music in Colorado. Visit Arlene’s Website.
Co-founders of RMFC, C & C have been studying various fiddle styles, including Jazz, Swing, Celtic, & Bluegrass, for over 20 years. They have been performing as professionals since age 8. Classically trained, they graduated with their respective Masters degrees in violin performance at the Thornton School of Music at the University of Southern California in Spring of 2008. Christopher earned his Doctoral degree (DMA) in viola at UT Austin in 2012.
Cosima is conducting several youth orchestras in Southern California as she continues a career as a conductor and freelance musician in Los Angeles. Overseas appearances include Europe and Asia. In 2007, Christopher produced and released his first CD, “Personality,” which includes Cosima on several tracks. Here is a great video of Mark Luther talking about Raising Musical Children.
Amy Lenell Ledwith-Drums
Amy can’t remember a time before she played music. She began teaching herself piano when she was five, took up violin at nine and always loves seeking a new instrumental challenge. Now based in Wyoming, she lived in Cork, Ireland from 2007-2008 in order to immerse herself in Irish traditional fiddling and returned to Ireland in 2013 to pursue her master’s degree in ethnomusicology and focused much of her studies on the effects of duration – repeating a short piece for an extended time frame. In 2015 she founded Drum Cheyenne, a community based drumming experience for all levels of players. Day to day, Amy strives to instill her students with a passion for music in her role as an elementary music teacher and regularly performs around the Wyoming area. Here’s a video of a Drum Cheyenne class.
Kyle Murphy, Sara Murphy, “Frosty” Foster, Max Etling
The Bogglemuffins were formed during wonderful music filled a week at Rocky Mountain Fiddle Camp 2006. After much laughter and music making, The Bogglemuffins were born: a four-piece band of best friends who meet once a year to rehearse and perform bluegrass standards. Kyle Murphy’s Monroe style mandolin and vocal harmonies are very strong. His sister Sara plays a lead fiddle. As the years go by, some original members have moved on to professional careers. This year Kyle and Sara are joined by “Frosty” Foster, advanced guitar, and Max Etling, bass. The Bogglemuffins will team up to teach strategies of ensemble playing, conduct a Bluegrass Band Lab as well as classes in their individual instruments. The Bogglemuffins are all experienced multi-instrumentalists and band members pursuing professional careers in music performance, and have much insight to offer about interacting musically with a band, including what and when to play depending on the song, style, and instrument that you are playing. See the Bogglemuffins on YouTube.
Kyle Murphy has been attending RMFC since 2006, during which he has played with The Bogglemuffins for four years. Outside of camp, Kyle attends East Tennessee State University in Johnson City, Tennessee, where he is pursuing a double major in Bluegrass Music Studies and Mathematics. During the school year he plays with other students in a band known as Sons of Bluegrass. When not in school he lives in Los Angeles, where he gives private lessons. He plays with his family in the Murphy Family Band, which plays throughout Southern California and won first place in the Topanga Banjo Fiddle Contest. Along with mandolin, Kyle is an accomplished fiddle and guitar player. He specializes in bluegrass, old-time music, swing, and blues music.
Sara Murphy has been attending Rocky Mountain Fiddle Camp since 2006. She started playing violin when she was 6, and studies both fiddle with Richard Greene and classical violin. Currently a junior at Culver City High School, she participates in the Academy of Visual and Performing Arts (AVPA) at the high school and plays in the South Bay Youth Orchestra. In addition, she plays bluegrass fiddle in the Murphy Family Band, which plays throughout Southern California. In 2010 the Murphy Family Band won first place in the Topanga Banjo Fiddle Contest, and she won first place in the advanced fiddle category.