Raised on a small farm in Spokane, WA, Joy Adams began playing the cello at age 15. Despite a string of classical adventures that included winning Musicfest Northwest, attending the Aspen Music Festival, soloing with the Spokane Symphony, earning a BM from the Eastman School of Music, and touring the country with the Selden String Quartet, Joy ultimately returned to her country roots and joined an old-time band called the Windsor Folk Family during her last year at Eastman. She was drawn to the Frost School of Music by the residency of Mark O’Connor and the Henry Mancini Institute, and is now a full-scholarship Mancini Fellow, working on her Doctorate at Frost and studying with Ross Harbaugh. She works closely with Mark O’Connor as part of the award-winning bluegrass trio Avocado Estate, and is currently writing and recording the cello books for O’Connor’s string method. She teaches bluegrass songwriting at Frost, and is on the faculty of fiddle camps in Boston, Charleston, Portland, Maine, and Sandpoint, Idaho. She has made over a dozen concerto appearances and has shared the stage and/or recorded for artists such as Renee Fleming, Bobby McFerrin, Chic Correa, Terrance Blanchard, Pharrell Williams, George Benson, Gloria Estefan, Edgar Meyer, Joshua Bell, and Mark O’Connor.
Rob Flax is an award-winning multi-instrumentalist, composer, improviser, and educator from Evanston, IL, currently based in Boston, MA. He has performed locally, nationally, and internationally with groups of many different styles, including opening for such acts as B.B. King and Tower of Power. Recently he contributed violin to the soundtrack of James Franco’s film As I Lay Dying. Rob frequently collaborates with dancers, including choreographer Alison Chase and improvisers Olivier Besson, Chris Aiken, and Angie Hauser. Rob is a recent graduate of the New England Conservatory (M.M. 2012 – Contemporary Improvisation, Music In Education), and a staff accompanist at the Boston Conservatory.
Visit www.robflax.com to sign up for the mailing list and get information on his many projects and upcoming albums, plus sounds, video, and more.
Under consideration for a Grammy Award nomination in 2014 (Producer of the Year, Classical), Andy Happel is a concert violinist and fiddler who has shared the stage with symphonies, pop stars and country music luminaries alike. As bandleader for 90s rock group Thanks to Gravity, Andy was signed to Capitol Records and EMI Publishing and toured extensively with the likes of Guster, Train, Matchbox 20 and the Dave Matthews Band. A successful run with country singer Don Campbell followed, where he opened for country legends Willie Nelson, Randy Travis, George Jones and Charlie Daniels. He currently performs with classical improv group Aeterna Trio, and with master luthier Jon Cooper in the Americana mashup Chickenwire.Andy is also Lead Producer with new classical music label PARMA Recordings. He has worked with the Moravian Philharmonic in the Czech Republic, the Metropolitan Opera Children’s Chorus and the New England String Quartet, among others. Recently, he was nominated for a NATAS Boston/New England Emmy, presented a TEDx talk entitled Synchronicity: Music and the Perception of Time, and performed O’Connor’s The Fiddle Concerto as guest soloist with the Portsmouth Symphony Orchestra.Andy has a long list of commercial and artistic composing credits and is finishing his ninth studio recording of original work. He maintains a private teaching studio in Scarborough, Maine, where he lives with his wife and daughter. www.andyhappel.com
John Holenko has performed on classical guitar, steel-string guitar, mandolin, banjo and historic instruments throughout the United States and in Europe. Called “a skilled soloist” by the Boston Globe, Mr. Holenko has given recitals and been featured in radio broadcasts in New York, Los Angeles, Boston, and San Francisco. As a member of the of the early music ensemble Sonus, Mr. Holenko has performed on historic instruments in recitals here in the United States and in Europe.John Holenko performs on mandolin and steel-string guitar with his group The Hungry Monks, an eclectic, acoustic ensemble playing a wide variety of traditional and original music.John Holenko has been on the faculty of Charleston Southern University and The College of Charleston. He is also the Guitarist/Mandolinist/Banjo player for the Charleston Symphony Orchestra. Mr. Holenko is very active in music education through his own private studio, Hungry Monk Music, and residencies through the South Carolina Arts Commission. John has been an instructor in music at the Charlotte Children’s Theatre in Charlotte, NC, Four Winds/Westward Ho on Orcas Island in Washington, and at the Cuyahoga Valley Environmental Education Center in Ohio, where he has also been Artist-in Residence.Mel Bay Publications has published editions of Medieval music and Renaissance music for mandolin by Mr. Holenko.
John Holenks’s recordings include Medieval music on historic instruments, Irish music on solo guitar and mandolin, original and trational music on guitars and mandolin, and New Age recordings on guitar and percussion.
John Holenko received degrees in Classical Guitar performance from the New England Conservatory, and the University of Southern California, also studying historic performance at both institutions, and premiering many new works.
Pattie Hopkins began playing the violin at age four and received her Bachelor’s degree in Violin Performance and Suzuki Pedagogue Certification from East Carolina University. Pattie is an extremely versatile musician and has a tremendous talent for Fiddling as well as Classical Violin. Pattie also has a passion for the education of young musicians and also holds her certification in the Mark O’Connor American Violin Method. Pattie has made appearances at a variety of music venues nationally and internationally. She has also made special guest appearances with famous and talented musicians including Don Helms, Bobby Osbourne, and Charlie Daniels. She currently holds two private studios in North Carolina and is frequently invited to teach workshops throughout the United States for both Fiddling and Classical instruction. She performs regularly in the Eastern United States and is currently a member of the Trent River Chamber Players, The Long Bay Symphony in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina and The Kickin’ Grass Band of Raleigh, North Carolina.
April Liberty – Program Director
April Liberty is Program Director of the American Music Camp, Maine and President of the Liberty Family Foundation. As a violinist and violist, Ms. Liberty graduated from the University of Miami’s Frost School of Music with a degree in viola performance on full-merit scholarship. Over the years, Ms. Liberty has performed with many internationally recognized musicians, toured with orchestras to France, Italy and Spain, played numerous times with the Miami Symphony Orchestra, Frost Symphony Orchestra, as a ringer in the Henry Mancini Institute Orchestra and continues to perform throughout the South Florida area. Ms. Liberty currently teaches Montessori General Music, Kindergarten and 7th-12th grade string ensemble at the Carrollton School of the Sacred Heart and teaches private lessons to students throughout the Miami area. Ms. Liberty is also the conductor of the Young Musicians’ String Consort Prep and Young Musicians’ String Consort ensembles within the Community Arts Program (CAP) Conservatory for the Arts.
Andy Reiner, an award-winning fiddler, composer and educator originally from Lexington, MA, began playing at age five with the Reiner Family Band. He has since developed his own style featuring creative, rhythmic melodies, and thoughtful fusing of world styles. Earning a BM in Violin Performance from Berklee College of Music in Boston launched Andy into a flurry of touring and teaching around the globe – including Heavy Metal with Devil in the Kitchen, Folk/Hip-Hop with FiddleFoxx, Swedish/Appalachian with Blue Moose and the Unbuttoned Zippers, Electronic/Celtic with Firecloud, and Bluegrass with The Earth Stringband, which toured Southeast Asia on the 2011 American Music Abroad tour for the State Department and Jazz at Lincoln Center. Andy currently tours both as a solo artist and with Colorado jamgrass band Whitewater Ramble, and composes fiddle tunes, songs, new works, and arrangements for string orchestra. He teaches improvisation, composition and fiddle styles privately and at music camps across the US. Andy’s compositions have been performed by the Berklee World Strings at the Kennedy Center, the Berklee Performance Center, and national ASTA conventions.
Daniel Strange has performed on a variety of the world’s biggest stages from Carnegie Hall to NBC’s The Today Show with critically acclaimed artists representing multiple genres including Eric Marienthal, Arturo Sandoval, Jodi Benson, Susan Egan, Robert Davi, Mark O’Connor, Tony award nominee Norm Lewis, folk legend Noel Paul Stookey and two-time Tony award winner Sutton Foster. He has played in orchestra pits for the national touring companies of Wicked, Jersey Boys, Les Miserables, West Side Story, Dreamgirls, Young Frankenstein, Legally Blonde, and A Chorus Line. As a composer, Daniel has written, arranged and orchestrated for numerous musical settings including jazz, pop, choral, and orchestral ensembles from all over the country. He is the director of contemporary keyboard studies at the University of Miami’s Frost School of Music where he directs the Music Media and Industry department’s flagship performance/songwriting group, the American Music Ensemble. Daniel has presented clinics on original composition, solo jazz piano and spoken on numerous panels at many national music conferences including the Jazz Education Network Conference, The Intersection of Jazz and Classical Music Piano Festival and Competition and The Association of Popular Music Education Conference. Daniel is the director the award winning Coral Gables Congregational United Church of Christ Community Arts Program’s All-Star Jazz Ensemble, a two-time finalist in Jazz At Lincoln Center’s Essentially Ellington competition. Under his leadership, the All-Star Jazz Ensemble has released an album, With A Swing! as well as opened for the Preservation Hall Jazz Band, the Count Basie Orchestra, Grammy winning vocalist Catherine Russell and the Tommy Dorsey Orchestra. Daniel can be heard on his album Life As I Hear It that features his original compositions and an all-star of lineup of musicians. He resides in Miami with his wife, violinist Ashley Liberty, and their son, Harrison.
Multifaceted musician Melissa Tong is quickly gaining a reputation for her finesse and versatility, performing everywhere from Boston Symphony Hall with Savion Glover to Lincoln Center to one of the last remaining juke joints in Mississippi. Recent performances have taken Ms. Tong throughout the U.S. accompanying violinist, fiddler, and composer Mark O’Connor, and on the airwaves with pop singer Sara Bareilles. Melissa plays regularly with numerous orchestras in the tri-state area, and has worked with several ensembles at the forefront of the contemporary music scene including David T. Little’s Newspeak, the Praxis Quartet, and String Orchestra of NYC (SONYC.) Ms. Tong has worked with a multitude of pop, rock, and folk artists, including Sara Bareilles, Young the Giant, Sufjan Stevens, and Vienna Teng. She appears on numerous recordings and can be heard on SONY Classical and Verve Records. Melissa “Railroad Nails” Tong’s most recent album with her blues band Pork Chop Willie, “Love is the Devil,” was released in June 2014.Ms. Tong is a dedicated teacher and maintains a full teaching studio in New York. In addition, she annually leads a number of Teacher Training sessions in the O’Connor Method. Melissa also recently founded “String Jams!,” a series of jam sessions in NYC for students and beginning improvisers.Melissa can be found online at www.melissatong.com
Pam Wiley – Artistic Director
Pam Wiley is the Director of Education & Teacher Training for the O’Connor Method and is the editor of the O’Connor Method Books. She also maintains a private studio with her husband John at Hungry Monk Music in Charleston, SC where she has been working with students in the O’Connor Method since January 2009.Formerly, Pam was a contracted member of the Harrisburg Symphony for twenty-eight years and an established Suzuki teacher in Central PA for over forty years. She founded and directed the Central PA Suzuki Institute, the Wednesday Club Youth Chamber Orchestra and published several articles in The American Suzuki Journal.
For the past five years, Pam has traveled extensively in the US and Canada presenting the O’Connor Method Teacher Training Seminars. To date, nearly 800 teachers have been certified in the Method bringing the American music system into all 50 States, Washington DC, Canada, Japan, South Korea, Germany, Australia, Ireland, Finland, Brazil, Trinidad & Tobago, Italy, Switzerland, Israel, Sweden, The Philippines, China, Taiwan and Nigeria.
Pam pursues her passion for fiddling in the Southern Appalachian style at festivals, old-time fiddles’ conventions and on her own back porch whenever possible.
At the forefront of the Franco American community in the Greater Portland area, one finds the musical duo of Don and Cindy Roy who have long entertained audiences in the Southern Maine area and beyond. Don is a champion fiddler with depth in many styles of fiddling. Hailing from roots deep in the Maritimes and Quebec, the Roy’s musical passion lies with the French Canadian tradition followed closely by Celtic music. Don and Cindy have been members of many successful groups including bluegrass, Irish, and French music and directed the popular Maine French Fiddlers for its duration. Don is the music director of Fiddle-icious, a community fiddle orchestra of over 100 members.. Don also received Fellowship awards from the state of Maine in 1994, 2001and 2008 for excellence in traditional music. Cindy is well known for her step dancing and her piano accompaniment which is among the best in New England. Augmented by her “rhythmic feet” she adds life and enthusiasm to the music. Cindy and Don will entertain you with a blend of fiddle and piano styles and step dancing that are common to traditional musicians of Maine.
Classically trained with a degree in music education, Tom Morley’s career spans more than thirty years and a host of genres. He’s played Celtic, Bluegrass, classical, swing, Americana, and country honky tonk, earning a gold album for his work with “new traditionalist” country artist John Anderson. But it is with Irish music—his focus for the past 15 years—that Tom has truly found his passion, as a performer, teacher, and book author. He performs and records as a soloist and with two groups: the Celtic/World music band, Mithril, (www.mithril.us) and the Irish folk duo, Banna de dhá (www.bannadedha.com). He teaches privately, and at fiddle workshops, camps and folk schools across the US (including American Music System Camps, O’Connor String Camps, Allegheny Mountain String Project, SCOR Adult String Camps, Fiddle Hell Gathering Massachusetts, John C. Campbell Folk School). In 2013 he took his adult ‘slow session’ group, the Irish Trad Explorers, on a tour across Ireland, where they performed in community centers, churches, and pubs, often alongside top Irish musicians. He is a regular contributor to iFiddle e-magazine, and is the author of two well-received books: Learn to Play Irish Trad Fiddle (reviewed in Fiddler magazine, Irish Music magazine, and the American String Teachers Assoc. Journal) and the Fiddle Club Favorites for Strings Series, a collection of fun tunes for beginning violin, viola and cello players. Learn more about Tom and his work at www.irishtradfiddle.com.
Kevin Oates is the executive director and founder of Maine Youth Rock Orchestra, a program that provides orchestral string students ages 12-18 the opportunity to work along side and perform with national bands and artists. Kevin graduated from the University of Southern Maine School of Music in 2008, receiving his B.M. in Music Education, with a concentration in cello. In 2003 he made his Carnegie Hall debut, and since has taken his classical background towards composing and collaborating with artists of all genres, bringing orchestral instruments into alternative styles. Kevin is also the executive director and founder of American Youth Rock Orchestra, which began in January 2015. He has been a guest conductor of multiple orchestra festivals both in and out-of-state while maintaining an active cello studio. In 2017 he will be publishing his orchestral method book, Bach and Roll, teaching students classical techniques through rock and pop exercises and repertoire. Kevin resides in Portland, Maine.
Erica developed an interest in music at an early age. At the age of seven, she was competing in fiddle contests with kids twice her age. At age nine, she was traveling throughout New England, Canada, and even Louisiana with the Maine French Fiddlers. Erica also performed as a special guest with Mac McHale And The Old-Time Radio Gang for five years. Currently, she has her own bluegrass band, Erica Brown & The Bluegrass Connection, which performs all over New England. Erica is also a member of The Stowaways, Darlin’ Corey and The Record Family Band.
Erica was a member of the Bates College “Fighting Bobcats” Orchestra for five years and was a member of the Maine All-State Music Festival for two years. She has competed in and won numerous fiddle contests throughout New England and Canada. In 2003 she was awarded Junior Female Entertainer Of The Year by the Maine Country Music Association and in 2006 she received the Harold Carter Memorial Award from the Down East Country Music Association. Erica has helped bring music into several elementary schools by holding workshops and personally performing. She has a strong desire to share her knowledge with anyone who has an interest in music and the fiddle. Erica Brown was a recipient of a 2006 Maine Arts Commission Traditional Arts Apprenticeship Award and was recognized as a Master Artist by the Maine Arts Commission that same year. Her talent for combining the precision of classical music with the spontaneity of country and bluegrass fiddle makes for a fun-filled performance every time she plays. Performance highlights include opening for Grammy award winning country music superstar Dwight Yoakam, as well as Grammy award winning bluegrass performer Ricky Skaggs and Kentucky Thunder.