RMFC Artists July 29-August 5, 2018
Pictures and brief bios, including links to personal websites, are included below the following list.
Andy Stein – Swing Fiddle Steve Scott – Cello
Katie McNally – Scottish & Cape Breton Fiddle Tina Gugeler – Hammered Dulcimer, Bodhran
Adam Agee – Irish Fiddle Topher Gayle – Ukulele, Mandolin, Fun Stuff
Mackenzie Johnston – Texas Fiddle Loretta Thompson – Beginning Fiddle, Guitar
Rachel Baiman – Old-Time Fiddle Arlene Patterson – Beginning Guitar, Fiddle
Steve Baughman – Advanced & Easy Guitar Chris & Cosima Luther – Fiddle Duets, Quartets
Neil Pearlman – Piano, Step Dancing Kyle Murphy – Mandolin, Bluegrass Band Lab
Ben Cohen – Klezmer Fiddle, Ukulele Sara Murphy – Fiddle, Bluegrass Band Lab
Larry Edelman – Dance Caller, Mandolin, Southwest Tunes Tyler Rusco – Bass, Bluegrass Band Lab
Caroline McCaskey – Musical Saw Frank Fyock – Piano, Orchestra, Quartets, Theory
Often compared to jazz greats Stephane Grappelli and Joe Venuti, Andy was a founding member of Commander Cody and His Lost Planet Airmen, won a Grammy with Asleep at the Wheel, and has worked with a wide range of other musicians: including Itzhak Perlman, Yo-Yo Ma, Bob Dylan, Brad Paisley, Beyoncé, John Pizzerelli and Sir Paul McCartney.
After 22 years as the regular “Powder Milk Biscuit fiddler” on A Prairie Home Companion with Garrison Keillor, Andy has cut back on his radio job to pursue his other musical interests in the Jazz and classical fields: with compositions performed by the NY Philharmonic, Chicago Symphony and ballet companies in Boston, Brazil, Denmark, New Zealand, Slovenia, and other countries.
In the Jazz field he occasionally appears with Wynton Marsalis, (including a nationwide live broadcast New Years eve 2013) and continues with Vince Giordano’s Nighthawks (the 11-piece 1920’s & ’30’s jazz band) appearing at Newport Jazz Festival, Jazz at Lincoln Center, and other concert halls in the Northeast. Last year he won his 2nd Grammy with the band, for their work on HBO’s Boardwalk Empire; recording with Nora Jones, Liza Minnelli, Elvis Costello, Rufus Wainwright, etc. On TV he has appeared on the Conan O’Brien show, Saturday Night Live, and backed up Dolly Parton on Letterman. He currently tours with Patti LuPone as a member of her 5-piece Gypsy Drifters, in concert halls from Carnegie to San Francisco’s Davies Hall. Visit Andy’s Website.
Katie has played at the Newport Folk Festival, the Barns at Wolf Trap, The Freight and Salvage, The Festival of American Fiddle Tunes, Benaroya Hall, as well as various folk venues throughout North America. In addition to her busy touring schedule, she is a devoted educator whose teaching style was molded by years of attendance at fiddle camps where learning music is about joy and community and fun! This is her approach whether working with her private students, in workshops, at fiddle camps, in musical outreach programs or at Boston’s Symphony Hall.
Katie attended both The University of Glasgow and The National Piping Centre in Glasgow Scotland where she studied ancient and modern Scottish Literature and Scottish traditional music. Katie graduated Magna Cum Laude from Tufts University in 2012 with concentrations in Music, English and Child Development where she earned The Etta and Harry Winokur Award for Outstanding Contribution to Performance. Visit Katie’s Website.
Adam Agee’s fiddle music is alive, dynamically fluid, and colorful. Raised in the mountains of Santa Cruz, California and Boulder, Colorado, Adam came first to Ireland in 2004, basing himself in Ennis, County Clare, where he discovered a new home. Through opportunities in America and Ireland, he has had the chance to study with many of today’s living tradition-bearers. His exposure to diverse influences makes Adam’s music deeply American, while his pursuit of sound has led him to focused expression through the Irish tradition. Within the rapidly developing culture of traditional music, suffused and enriched by a global exchange of ideas, Adam’s fiddle playing is grounded in a personal, aesthetic quest. He has been teaching and performing for 15 years. Visit Adam’s Website.
Well-versed in a variety of fiddle traditions including Old-Time, Bluegrass, Scottish and Canadian styles, Rachel Baiman is a versatile and dynamic fiddle player. Originally from Chicago, Rachel is a winner of the Midwestern Fiddle Championships, as well as a two-time winner of the Illinois State fiddle Championship and a second place winner of the 2012 Nashville Grand Masters Fiddle Championship in the “Traditional Styles” category. A recent review by LA’s The Bluegrass Situation hailed her a “goose-bump-instigating talent.”
Rachel’s love for folk and acoustic music inspired a move to Nashville in 2008, where she earned degrees in Music and Anthropology at Vanderbilt University. She has toured extensively throughout the United States with 10 String Symphony, as well as with her own band, and has appeared at such festivals as Pickathon, ROMP, The Strawberry Music Festival, Merlefest and Blissfest, as well as International Festivals La Roche Bluegrass Festival (France), the Fringe Festival (Scotland), the Dorrigo Folk and Bluegrass Festival (Australia), The Auckland Folk Festival (New Zealand), and the ArtisTree Festival (Hong Kong).
Rachel also enjoys teaching and runs her own week-long fiddle camp in the Chicago area. In 2017, Rachel released her second solo album “Shame,” which was featured on NPR music’s “Songs we Love,” and favorably reviewed by No Depression, Noisey, and called a “rootsy wake-up call” by Folk Alley. Visit Rachel’s website and her Duo 10 String Symphony.
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.
Steve Baughman is a fingerstyle guitar player known worldwide for his solo guitar renditions of Celtic and Appalachian tunes. His music has taken him all over the world. He has performed in Asia, Europe, Canada, and across the U.S. Steve’s passion is seeking out the old fiddle, harp, and pipe tunes, as well as old songs, and giving them a voice on the guitar and the old-time banjo.
Steve does not seek to be an innovator, but to find the spirit and essence in the old music and present it in a way that soothes and inspires his audiences. He tells his students, “It is better to make tears fall than jaws drop.”
Steve’s 2016 solo banjo album, O’er Quiet Lands Suspended, was featured on NPR’s Thistle and Shamrock. His CD, Farewell to Orkney, was named one of the “Best Albums of 2013” by Acoustic Guitar Magazine, and his production, Clawhammer Guitar: The Collection, is on Acoustic Guitar Magazine’s list of 20 Years of Essential Acoustic Albums. Steve has written five instructional books for Mel Bay Publications, released numerous CDs and DVDs and taught over seventy guitar and banjo camps and seminars all over the U.S. and Canada.
Whether you’ve never played guitar, or are a dedicated professional, you will learn something from Steve. Visit Steve’s Website.
Topher started making musical noises as a child, reluctantly, when his mother inflicted piano lessons on him. Later, he observed that 1) his friends had guitars and 2) his friends had girlfriends, so he bought a guitar ($40! a big investment!) and taught himself to play. From guitar, he made several leaps to mandolin, mandola, tenor banjo, ukulele, string bass and percussion. Topher studied composition and luthiery at Boston University.
Today, Topher plays bluegrass, contra-dance, swing, rock & roll, country, and blues in several SF Bay area bands. His versatility has also made him a popular accompanist to several local singer/songwriters. He also enjoys writing fiddle tunes and funny songs.
He gives private lessons from his Santa Rosa home, and has taught at a passel of music camps, including RMFC. He enjoys recording original tunes in his home studio, building unusual, beautiful musical instruments, and abusing music genres. Visit Topher’s website.
Pianist and mandolinist Neil Pearlman is rapidly distinguishing himself as a uniquely innovative artist in the contemporary traditional music scene. Called “a tremendous pianist” on BBC Radio Scotland and “a force to be reckoned with” by WGBH’s Brian O’Donovan, Neil is recognized in many Celtic music circles for his unique approach to the piano. Rooted in traditional Cape Breton piano styles, Neil brings in ideas from many other genres and the result is an exciting new sound that remains true to its traditional roots. It was this fresh approach that led legendary Cape Breton fiddler Jerry Holland to say “watching Neil’s hands on the piano was like watching two spiders on crack!”
An accomplished Cape Breton step dancer as well, Neil grew up in the family band Highland Soles, led by father and mother Ed Pearlman and Laura Scott, both influential Scottish music and dance figures in the US. Neil has performed with Natalie MacMaster, Alasdair Fraser, Bruce MacGregor, Natalie Haas, Mike Block, Seamus Connolly, Kimberley Fraser, Maeve Gilchrist, Hanneke Cassel and Mike Vass, opened for Archie Fisher, split a bill with Jerry Holland and worked closely with many others. His career so far has taken him to Scotland, Spain, Mexico, Canada and all across the US. Visit Neil’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 song writer 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.
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.
Tyler Rusco recently graduated from the University of Colorado at Boulder with a bachelor’s degree in double bass performance. He is a prolific performer who has played in master classes for such great bass pedagogues as Albert Lazslo (Julliard), and Ira Gold (Catholic University of America). Tyler is currently bass section principal of the Casper Symphony, and has held other principal positions in the past. He is active in several genres of music, playing electric bass with local artist Daniel Luthjohn, and has been involved in several recording projects with MGB records. This year Tyler will join his fellow Bogglemuffins members, Kyle and Sara Murphy, to teach bluegrass ensemble playing and band member roles, as well as a class on bass technique and his approach to being a strong foundational and supporting player in any ensemble.