For Immediate Release
Contact: LA Arts, firstname.lastname@example.org
2ND ANNUAL FIDDLERS’ RENDEZVOUS IN KENNEDY PARK AUGUST 14
Lewiston, Maine, July 22, 2022 – LA Arts presents the second annual Fiddlers’ Rendezvous on Sunday, August 14 from 1-4 pm in Kennedy Park, Lewiston. Bring a lawn chair or blanket and enjoy some free, live music in the park from 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 received a degree in Music Education at the University of Maine. She has experience teaching string programs and general music at various grade levels in the Maine public schools. Melissa has been a member of the Portland-based bluegrass band “Jerks of Grass” since 2006. She also performs often with the old-time 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 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 each September with Ellen Carlson, called Fiddleheads Acoustic Jam Camp.
Ellen Gawler was immersed in the traditional music of Southern Vermont and New England, at contra dances, fiddle contests, and Morris dancing events in her youth. In her formative years, she learned by “sitting in” with influential fiddlers, Rodney Miller and Donna Herbert and played for dances in Western Mass. with the fiddling Caynors. She was fortunate to have studied with the all-Ireland champion fiddler, Seamus Connelly, when he first came to America. She was also deeply inspired when she was quite young, by her neighbors, the MacArthur Family and when she became old enough, played at fairs and other functions with them. At age 18, she followed her fiddling passion to Ireland, playing, learning and collecting traditional tunes in spontaneous situations. Upon moving to Maine, she picked up a love for Maine French and Maritime fiddling from the old timers, Lucien Mathieu, Jerry Robichaud and Ben Guilmette, playing with them often at house parties and various fiddle events around 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 assist teaching in the upper Islands. She was a long time member of the legendary Maine Country Dance Orchestra, who, for 25 years, played and called for lively monthly dances in the Bowdoinham Town Hall. Ellen has also, on several occasions, toured internationally with the world music group Village Harmony. In 1978, she toured with the group, The Old Grey Goose throughout the northeastern states. She accompanied the Brunswick based dance troupe, Borovcani, providing for them the dance music of Eastern Europe. For nearly 15 years, Ellen performed widely with her childhood friend, Megan MacArthur, and Elisabeth Wolfe in the highly acclaimed folk trio, Trillium, who were best known for their intricate interweaving harmonies. She has been an original member of the acclaimed group Childsplay appearing in concert with them for over 2 decades. Ellen 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.
Ellen has been a Suzuki teacher since 1983, and has brought many children to music playing maturity through her skillful guidance and fun filled teaching style. She has found the ways in which fiddling and Suzuki meet, to equip young players with the skills they need to be fine fiddlers. In 1992, with her colleague, Betsy Kobayashi, she co-founded the Pineland Suzuki School, now in its 24th year. She has attended Suzuki conferences in the US and Japan and has, for several years, taught fiddling at The New England Suzuki Institute. She is the founding director of the Pineland Fiddlers, an aspiring group of 20 youngsters, ages 8-18 who have recorded on 2 occasions 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 take part in an international children’s festival. In 2010 Ellen was awarded, as a master fiddler and teacher, The Maine Arts Commission Traditional Arts Apprenticeship Grant. She currently spends her time playing for dances and concerts, and teaching at camps, workshops and at home.
Greg Boardman traded his electric guitar for a fiddle upon hearing Dave Swarbrick play with Fairport Convention at the King’s Rook, in Ipswich, Massachusetts, back in 1970. Roving out later from his home in central Maine, he soon discovered a cadre of peer fiddling expeditionaries (including many MFC staffers) and a couple of older generations boasting of some very fine country and traditional musicians. Among these, Cherry Frechette, Otto Soper, Fred Pike, Leo Murphy, Simon St. Pierre, Ben Guillemette and Lucien Matthieu, to mention a few, made a great impact upon his life and music. Dudley Laufman of Canterbury, New Hampshire, whose itinerant musician’s license still brings him frequently to Maine, has also been a seminal musical influence, not to mention the very welcome new wave of younger musicians who are infusing our scene with great energy, creativity and feeling. Meantime, he continues to teach bowed strings to elementary school children, produce music events, assist in music for worship, and perform around the state from his family base in Lewiston.
Jessie Boardman fiddles for contra and family dances across New England, and she sometimes sneaks the cello into dance sets. Jessie teaches fiddle to all ages at Maine Fiddle Camp, Sandy Island Suzuki Camp, at workshops, and in her private studio. Dancing her first contra dance as a child to the band Swallowtail in New Hampshire, Jessie later moved to Maine, where she happily resides.
Alden Robinson has played the fiddle most of his life, mainly Irish tunes and traditional New England dance music. He plays for concerts, dances (contra and square dances), weddings and other events. He also teaches lessons, groups and at Maine Fiddle Camp in the summer. In 2017 he went to Lithuania with his band Riptide on a State Department cultural exchange. He also played with The Press Gang, an Irish trio/quartet (now inactive) that toured in the U.S. and Canada in the 2010s.
Fiddlers’ Rendezvous and all LA Arts programs would not be possible without the generous support of community partners including Community Arts Champion sponsors Austin Associates, P.A., Bates College, Baxter Brewing Co., Berman & Simmons, the City of Auburn, the City of Lewiston, DaVinci’s Eatery, Dirigo Federal Credit Union, Liberty Mutual, Munka Coworking, Payroll Management, the Sun Journal, the Szanton Company, as well as the Bangor Savings Bank Foundation, Maine Arts Commission, the New England Foundation for the Arts**, the Onion Foundation, and the Ladd Foundation.
Since 1973, LA Arts, the arts agency for the cities of Lewiston and Auburn Maine, has pursued a mission to engage and inspire a vibrant community through arts and culture. The agency works with governments, businesses, schools and local arts and cultural organizations to create opportunities for community members across the generations to experience, 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. Learn more at www.laarts.org.
**LA Arts is supported by the New England Foundation for the Arts through the New England Arts Resilience Fund, part of the United States Regional Arts Resilience Fund, an initiative of the U.S. Regional Arts Organizations and The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, with major funding from the federal CARES Act and the American Rescue Plan Act from the National Endowment for the Arts.