Bruce Stockwell has been playing bluegrass banjo since 1968 and teaching since the 70’s. By age 16 he had won banjo contests, recorded his first album, and opened for Earl Scruggs, Doc Watson, John Hartford, and many others. In the late 70’s he worked with Phil Rosenthal and Mike Auldridge as Old Dog producing two albums on Flying Fish. Since the 1980’s, Bruce has performed with his two brothers (and now wife Kelly) in various acoustic/electric formats. In 2005 he won the Merlefest Banjo Contest, and in 2008 a NH Arts Grant led to the formation of Hot Mustard, a double-banjo bluegrass band.
Neil Rossi was introduced to bluegrass in 1960. He learned bluegrass banjo, then guitar, mandolin, and fiddle. In the late 1960s he founded The Spark Gap Wonder Boys, which won the Old-Time band contest at the Union Grove in 1970. Through college and graduate school he played with several high-profile bands, including the David Bromberg Band. In New York City he played fiddle with The Yankee Rebels and Diamonds In The Rough. After moving to Vermont, he played with Bob Yellin, and with Big Spike Bluegrass. Neil continues to teach, write and play music. His recent instruction book, “Learning To Fiddle, Bluegrass Style” received a rave review in Bluegrass Unlimited.
Beginning his mandolin career in the Carolinas and making his way up to New England via Washington DC, Ben Pearce has played bluegrass mandolin all over the East Coast. Currently playing with multiple regional bands, Ben is also the sole proprietor of the Outlier Workshop (www.outlierworkshop.com), where he toils day and night to create some of the best mandolins and flattop guitars available today. Don’t let his youthful appearance fool you! He knows a huge variety of tunes, songs and mandolin styles as a result of his careful study of many contemporary players as well as first- and second-generation mandolin giants.
Laura Orshaw, fiddler and vocalist, “has firmly established [herself] as a significant emerging artist in the arena of traditional American music,” according to Bluegrass Unlimited magazine. Laura learned to play and sing from grandmother and regional Old Time musician, Betty Orshaw. She has 10 years of experience performing, teaching private lessons, and conducting educational programs and workshops throughout the Northeast. Laura hosts teen ensembles, kids academies and bluegrass instruction for adults at bluegrass festivals, among them Joe Val, Jenny Brook, Pemi Valley, Podunk, and Thomas Point Beach Bluegrass Festival. Laura works at Lesley University as the coordinator for their music and art therapy program.
Glenn Nelson, resident instrument specialist, has been building, restoring and repairing instruments for 20 years. Glenn and his wife Barbara own Mockingbird Music in Berlin, Massachusetts where they build custom stringed instruments and specialize in the repair and restoration of vintage instruments. Glenn teaches five string banjo and performs with Wide Open Spaces and Acoustic Planet, encompassing world music, folk, jazz and bluegrass. At BCN he will be available to do minor setups and repairs on site and to accept instruments for more extensive work.
Bennett Hammond started playing guitar in 1957 and began teaching in 1960, debuted as a virtuoso soloist in 1980 on the In-Bound platform, Harvard Square Station, and has played above ground, at home and abroad ever since. Bennett picked up banjo at BCN ten years ago. Early influences include an EP side of folk and cowboy songs with guitar accompaniment his sister Lucy made in 1951, recordings of Etta Baker, Mike Seeger and Duane Eddy, and of course the Three B’s – Bach, Bluegrass, and Bo Diddly.
Skip Gorman has been performing an impressive and varied palette of traditional American and Celtic folk music for over half a century. Bluegrass Unlimited magazine has called Skip “the finest exponent today of the style of mandolin that was performed by the Monroe Brothers”. An internationally recognized fiddler and singer of cowboy ballads, Skip has recorded for Rounder, Columbia, Folk Legacy and his own label, Old West Recordings. Ken Burns has used Skip’s music in four of his documentaries. His latest projects are Mandolin in the Cowcamp and Old Style Mandolin volumes 1 & 2.
Widely acclaimed as one of New England’s premiere instrumentalists, David Surette is highly regarded for his work on the guitar, mandolin, and cittern. His diverse repertoire includes Celtic and New England tunes, original compositions, blues and ragtime, traditional American roots music, and folk music from a variety of traditions. Surette is a gifted teacher, having taught at workshops and camps throughout the US, and in the UK. He is folk music coordinator at the Concord (NH) Community Music School, and artistic director of their March Mandolin Festival. His latest CD, Waiting For The Sun, a duo recording with Susie Burke, has been gathering widespread praise.
Rich DelGrosso is the player keeping the mandolin alive in the blues. He has received nine Blues Music Award nominations, his latest for his CD The Ragpicker Stringband, which has received worldwide critical acclaim. Downbeat magazine placed it as one of their choices for best CDs of 2015. DelGrosso was a writer/ editor for Blues Revue magazine for sixteen years and Mandolin Magazine for eleven. He has published four instruction books for Hal Leonard Publishing, including Mandolin Blues: From Memphis to Maxwell Street. He has conducted workshops in the US, UK and Europe for over thirty years.
Don Stiernberg learned to play the mandolin from Jethro Burns. More than three decades later, Don is still playing, teaching, and writing about the mandolin. Current releases include his CD “Good Numbers”, three online video courses for Soundslice.com.,and his book “Jazz Mandolin Appetizers”for Mel Bay. Don is a leading exponent of jazz mandolin style and a respected teacher at mandolin camps coast to coast.