2017 Instructors

Lauren Rioux
Lauren has toured the United States, Europe and the UK with Darol Anger and his Republic of Strings, as a duo with Brittany Haas, with Scott Nygaard and Crow Molly, and most recently with her husband Sten Isak. Lauren is enthusiastically sought out for her teaching expertise and leads classes and workshops across the globe. In her private studio, she teaches a delightfully rowdy group of over thirty violinists, violists, and fiddlers ranging in age from 5 to 70. Her online learning community www.JamWithLauren.com provides students the world over with access to her innovative curriculum and inimitable teaching style. Click here for a video of Lauren!

Brendan Taaffe
Brendan Taaffe, is a multi-instrumentalist on guitar, fiddle, banjo, and mbira. He has toured with many different groups, including nationally acclaimed dance band Magic Foot and the internationally acclaimed vocal ensemble Northern Harmony. In addition to performing solo, he currently directs The Bright Wings Chorus, a vocal ensemble, and is the frontman of The New Line, a band that blends mbira with banjo, electric guitar, and percussion, creating a bridge between American and African traditions. Click here for a video of Brendan!

Hanz Araki
Once called "a quintessential world-music musician", award-winning singer and flute player Hanz Araki has been a prominent figure in the Irish music community in North America and beyond for more than 2 decades. In that time he has released 11 albums, played countless festival stages, toured nationally and internationally, and collaborated with a number of well respected musicians within and outside of the Celtic music genre. Click here for a video of Hanz!

Tony Watt
Hailing from Cambridge, MA, award-winning flatpicking guitarist and mandolinist Tony Watt has performed throughout the United States and Europe, on the Grand Ole Opry, and beyond. He has been featured in Bluegrass Unlimited, Bluegrass Now and Flatpicking Guitar Magazine multiple times. Tony toured with Rounder Recording artist Alecia Nugent, and with Leigh Gibson, guitarist for The Gibson Brothers. Tony currently performs with his band, Southeast Expressway, as well as with Laura Orshaw and her band, and with Jenni Lyn Gardner of Della Mae. He is a graduate of Leadership Bluegrass 2012 and has served on the International Bluegrass Music Association (IBMA) Education Committee and the IBMA Board Selection Committee, and is currently a Board Member and Education Co-Director of the Boston Bluegrass Union (BBU). Tony has taught bluegrass privately for nearly 20 years and is a visiting artist at the Berklee College of Music's American Roots Music Program. Tony is the director of The Bluegrass University, which offers classes for adult beginners at the largest bluegrass festivals in the northeast. He has also taught workshops and Kids' Academies at bluegrass festivals across the country and in Europe. Tony also teaches courses in guitar, mandolin, harmony singing and more for the BBU's Bluegrass Academy, as well as jamming classes as a certified Wernick Method jam class instructor. Click here for a video of Tony!

Steve Muise
Steven Muise is a graduate of Berklee College of Music. He is in his 26th year as a music educator (strings specialist) in the Mt. Blue Regional School District (centered around Farmington, ME). His responsibilities include directing the Mt. Blue High School and Mt. Blue Middle School Orchestras, and teaching stringed instruments to elementary students. Muise also teaches at the Maine Fiddle Camp. He founded and directs the Franklin County Fiddlers, a multi-stylistic fiddle band comprised of talented students at Mt. Blue High School. Muise and the fiddlers have toured Québec, New Brunswick, Nova Scotia, PEI, Ireland and throughout the deep South (including Nashville and New Orleans) and more. Steve's improvisatory fiddling can be heard on his cd Across the Bay of Fundy and Boréal Tordu's La Bonne Vie and Les Chevaliers, and Frigate's self titled cd. He can also be heard on the highly acclaimed Vermont independent films by John O'Brien, Vermont is for Lovers and Man with a Plan (which has aired nationally on PBS). He regularly performs throughout New England and beyond with his bands Boréal Tordu, Frigate, and Muisette. Steve was awarded Maine's Music Educator of the Year in 2007, and in December 2010 he was named as a "Director Who Makes a Difference" representing Maine in "School Band and Orchestra" Magazine. He was awarded the Farmington Gem Award in 2016. He lives in Farmington, with his wife Debby. His hobbies include bird-watching, traveling, photography and speaking French. Click here for a video of Steve!