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.
Lorraine Hammond’s numerous credits as a traditional singer, songwriter, teacher, performer and instrumentalist include a Homespun Appalachian dulcimer instruction series and two elegant dulcimer books with Yellow Moon Press. Lorraine plays, performs on and teaches dulcimer, banjo, mandolin and harp. Her extensive mandolin teaching experience includes the John C. Campbell Folk School, WUMB-FM Acoustic music weeks and weekends, and nearly a decade at Mandolin Camp North. She is a lecturer in folk music at Lasell College in Newton, MA, and Music Director of WUMB-FM’s Summer Acoustic Music Week. Lorraine performs and records with her husband Bennett Hammond.
Kelly Stockwell took up the banjo in 2001, learning from local teacher Bruce. After a few years playing Scruggs style she switched to clawhammer and dragged Bruce to their first Banjo Camp North in 2002. Eventually realizing two banjos in one house was too much, in 2006 she switched to the doghouse bass and has never looked back.
She learned how to play bass through the school of hard knocks and dirty looks from guitar players; joining in at jams and parties and as the staff bassist for Banjo Camp North and Mandolin Camp North. For five years she played with “Hot Mustard”, a double banjo band. She now plays with her husband Bruce in “The Stockwell Brothers Band”. Kelly has been attending all iterations of Music Camps North (Banjo, Old-time, Mandolin, Guitar) since 2002. Her favorite banjo tuning is open D.
Award-winning guitarist and mandolinist Tony Watt has performed
throughout the United States, Europe, and on the Grand Ole Opry. He
has been featured in Bluegrass Unlimited, Bluegrass Now, and
Flatpicking Guitar Magazine, and toured with Rounder Recording artists
Alecia Nugent and Leigh Gibson of The Gibson Brothers. He is a
graduate of Leadership Bluegrass 2012, has served on the IBMA’s
Education and Board Selection Committees, and is currently a Board
Member and Education Co-Director of the BBU. Tony is a visiting artist
at Berklee College of Music, and also the director of the first-ever
Ashokan Bluegrass Camp in 2018. Tony is also the director of The
Bluegrass University, which has offered classes at Grey Fox (NY),
Jenny Brook (VT), Pemi Valley (NH), Podunk (CT), and Thomas Point
Beach (ME). Tony teaches lessons, classes, workshops, and jam sessions
throughout the Boston area, and anywhere in the world via Skype video
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.
Avril Smith is a teacher and award-winning multi-instrumentalist and vocalist. Avril’s mastery of a wide range of styles makes her a sought-after on-stage and studio performer. Her musical palette draws from country, jazz, bluegrass, rock-n-roll, and old time music. Avril has performed at top venues and festivals including the Kennedy Center Millennium Stage (Washington D.C.), Grey Fox Bluegrass Festival (Oak Hill, NY), the Birchmere (Alexandria, VA), the Knitting Factory (New York, NY), Freight & Salvage (Berkeley, CA), the Rock-n-Roll hall of fame (Cleveland, Ohio), and on the south lawn of The White House. Avril has played with Emmylou Harris, Pete Seeger, Hazel Dickens, Tom Morello, Della Mae, Joe K. Walsh, Dar Williams, Jill Sobule, Darol Anger, Frank Solivan, Lester Chambers, Boots Riley, and John Kadlecik, among others.
Betsy Rome is well-known for her flatpicked guitar, blending bluegrass, old-time, Celtic, & swing influences. Noted for her rock-solid rhythm and inventive leads, she has won or placed in numerous band and instrumental contests. Betsy teaches guitar and mandolin, both in person and online via Skype. She has taught workshops at Grey Fox, Joe Val, Podunk, Winter Village and Thomas Point Beach festivals, and Marist College. A founding member of Too Blue, one of the Northeast’s most respected bands, Betsy is also an occasional member of Stacy Phillips and His Bluegrass Characters, and plays mandolin in the Walkingwood Mandolin Quartet.
“Betsy plays with a direct, highly effective approach…Everything about her playing is catchy and infectious, the sign of a total pro.”– Dan Miller, Flatpicking Guitar Magazine feature article.
As noted in Mandolin for Dummies, Jim Richter has increasingly been recognized over the last dozen years as one to watch for a more modern application of blues and blues-based rock to the mandolin. With 30 years of stage and teaching experience on mandolin, guitar, and banjo, Jim has performed with, opened for, or recorded with Anson Funderburgh, Gillian Welch & David Rawlings, Andra Faye, Rich DelGrosso, Don Julin, Will Patton, and Mike Compton. Equally as fresh as his mandolin style, Jim’s instruction draws deeply from his experience as a licensed therapist. For 5 years Jim’s own mandolin camp focused on helping adult learners to overcome being “stuck” in one’s playing. Jim also has a mandolin book entitled “Richter Mandolin” that studies blues and rock using this adult learner approach. Jim regularly gigs with Gordon Bonham, Indiana blues-artist who formerly toured with Yank Rachel.
Growing up in the Southwest, Marshall Racowsky was exposed to country music at an early age. He started playing the guitar while in high school and focused primarily on country and western styles as well as fiddle accompaniment. He became a member of the Arizona Fiddler’s Association and started competing in the accompaniment division at fiddle contests throughout the state. In the early ’80’s, Marshall backed up Junior Daugherty on foreign tours sponsored by the US State Dept. By the time Marshall moved to New England in 1997 he had won the Arizona Accompanist Championship 8 times. He also became very interested in Mexican mariachi and frequently sat in with several groups at performances. He taught classes in Texas style accompaniment in Arizona and after he moved to New England.
Sharon Gilchrist has long made her home in the American acoustic music scene. Whether you have seen her playing mandolin, thumpin’ the upright bass, singing a traditional ballad or performing one of her original pieces, you’ve heard an artist steeped in traditional Appalachian music delivering these sounds with a distinctly spacious, graceful and fiery nuance. Sharon has performed with Darol Anger, the Peter Rowan and Tony Rice Quartet, Scott Nygaard and John Reishmann, Laurie Lewis and the Right Hands, Uncle Earl, the Ger Mandolin Orchestra, Scott Law, the Kathy Kallick Band, Bill Evans, and Donald Rubinstein.