Mandolin & Fiddle Camp North
April 11-13, 2014
Banjo Camp North
May 16-18, 2014
Banjo Camp North - Fall Edition
September 12-14, 2014

Mandolin Camp North - Fall Edition®

September 12-14, 2014

Director: Mike Holmes
Music Director - Phil Zimmerman
BG Beginner Track Coordinator - Bob Altschuler
OT & Folk Beginner Track Coordinator - Lorraine Hammond

Description of Banjo Camp North - Fall Edition

Staff Bios Contact Us Registration Directions Message Board

Banjo Camp North Fall Edition (BCN-FE) is a weekend-long celebration of the 5-string banjo in bluegrass, old time and folk styles! World-class banjoists make up our full-time and "adjunct" faculties. We always invite top flight fiddlers and guitarists to teach about playing with other instruments and jamming, and to be on hand to help make those all-night jams something special, plus we will emphasize banjo and fiddle duet playing. We have assembled an outstanding staff including Pete Kelly (whose credits include an IBMA Instrumental Album Of The Year and other major accomplishments), Larry Marschall (new to the staff but well known to the the banjo community), Steve Arkin, Riley Baugus, Paul Brown, Martin Grosswendt, our Beginner Track coordinators, Bob Altschuler and Lorraine Hammond, plus fiddler and yodeler extraodinaire, Alan Kaufman. The rest of the staff has been invited and we are awaiting confirmations, each of whose teaching has received praise across the spectrum of beginner to advanced players.

BCN-FE 2013 Class Schedule
BCN-FE 2013 Class Descriptions
Video of a class taught by Lorraine Hammond along with Alan Kaufman
Video of Riley Baugus and Paul Brown Teaching a Class about Banjo Blues
Video of Jim Mills and Alan Kaufman and others performing at BCN
Various BCN videos on YouTube
Click here to read a discussion about Hand Held Recorders
What attendees said about past BCNs
Art Edelstein's Times-Argus article
Camp photos

Mandolin Track: In response to several Mandolin Camp North attendees, we are continuing the the Mandolin Track for those not wanting to wait until April. The Mandolin Track curriculum is intended for beginner to intermediate students. The exact class descriptions must wait until we have a more accurate count and levels of attendees. Many of our multi-instrumentalists have agreed to teach mandolin classes in addition to their banjo responsibilities. The Mandolin Track is in its 2nd year at BCN-FE. It will be a refresher course plus an introduction for some others. Sudents may concentrate on the mandolin or take a few classes along with their banjo studies. If you don't play mandolin at all, this is an excellent opportunity to start, since the smaller class size will afford the instructors more time for personalized instruction.

Banjo Camp North Fall Edition takes place at Prindle Pond Conference Center, a beautiful wooded setting in Charlton, Massachusetts. There are two campuses, we will be using Hilltop primarily. Buildings are heated, so you don't have to worry about our unpredictable New England weather, but you must bring your own towel, pillow, blanket, and linens or a sleeping bag; this campsite does not provide them. Each building has several rooms, and each room has 2 to 4 beds and a private bath. There is no smoking allowed in any of the buildings. Single rooms are available on campus for an extra fee. Local accommodations are available (although pricey) in nearby Sturbridge for those who want to bring the family, or just prefer more privacy.

Meals: Meals are provided as part of the tuition package, and vegetarian meals are available. Dinner will be served promptly at 6 PM Friday. The meals schedule for the rest of the weekend will be announced in the program book at camp time.

Camp will open Friday at 12:30 PM for registration, jamming, and instruction. Registration will occur starting at 12:30. We'll have hands-on workshops, round robin demonstrations and guided jam sessions for three days, a Friday night "meet the faculty concert," a formal concert Saturday night, and lots and lots of time for jamming and getting to know each other. Our resident instrument specialist will be there from 12 PM on Friday and all day Saturday. Lecture-demonstrations about banjo history and setup will be offered. Instrument vendors and makers, plus recordings, accessories and books will be on sale in our market area. Attendees are encouraged to bring banjos and other instruments for sale or trade. Camp ends at about 3:00 PM on Sunday

Thursday night lodging is available onsite for those traveling a long way, whether driving or flying to BCN. Since people arrive at widely different times, only housing, no food, is available, but hanging out and jamming invariably breaks out, and it is a nice, relaxing time between the work-a-day world and the intensive training at BCN. Our goal is learning -- but having a good time doing so.

The Beginners' Track provides instruction for absolute beginners (those who haven't played before), and those who can play a little bit, but still can't play with other people or pick out tunes on their own. Click below for more information.

Advancing Beginners and Intermediates will find classes geared to their levels and needs. Advancing beginners may still only play a few phrases and chords, but they have some basic banjo experience. In general intermediates know some tunes but aren't able to play up to speed yet. They are still working on rhythm. They may already read tab or notation, but can use help playing by ear and learning to arrange a tune or song on their own.

Classes at the Advancing Beginners/Intermediate level in the past, have included Learning To Play What You Hear, Playing Slow Tunes, Choosing Your Next Banjo, Introduction to Modern Bluegrass Style, Old Time Banjo, Translating Fiddle Tunes To The Banjo, What To Do When Another Instrument Has The Lead, Accompanying Singing, and many more. At Banjo Camp the emphasis is on using tab minimally - just to get you started playing.

For the Advanced Players, there have been added classes such as Arranging Tunes or Songs For The Banjo, Introduction To What It Takes To Be An Effective Sideman, Playing For A Living, Playing And Composing For Commercials, and more.

Coaching Sessions in which students can receive personal, one-on-one critiques on such subjects as technique, tone, and taste from professional performers will be offered. As always, the full range of classes, beginner to advanced, will be offered and the Coaching Sessions will be available to all levels for anyone who needs some extra help.

The weekend will include at least 90 class hours plus guided jams at all speeds and levels. After each evening program there will be plenty of time for free jams, again at various levels. Most of the classes are hands on, practical learning situations. A few are demonstrations or mini-concerts, but even in these classes the intention is for you to take something away that you may want to learn or speak with the instructors about later. You are encouraged to bring a recording device of some kind.

Several other workshops that have been popular may be repeated. They include Maintaining and Optimizing Your Banjo, Playing With Others, Singing With The Banjo, Sound Equipment, and Recording Techniques. There will be instruction at all levels.

Read the Beginners' Track Page for news of this exciting offering.

Payment Options

  • See Registration form for fees and payment arrangements.
  • Please fill in, print out, and mail the Registration Form
  • Attractive gift certificate available
  • Contact information:
        Mike Holmes
        (774) 207-0284

    Camp office:
        Banjo Camp North
        PO Box 1755
        Orleans, MA 02653

    Staff Instructors BCN 2013

    Click on the underlined instructors' names to jump to more information about each one.
    Mike Holmes (camp director) is best known as publisher of Mugwumps Magazine (now Mugwumps Online). He is the former chairman of the National Council for the Traditional Arts, a director of the National Folk Festival, and is widely regarded as an expert on the history of American stringed instruments. Mike has performed acoustic music on the North American and international circuit, he has served as back-up musician on the recordings of several traditional musicians. Mike estimates that he has taught over 500 people to play old time banjo, privately & in adult education classes. He won 2nd place in the Old Time Banjo competition at the Clarksville, TN, Banjo Contest and 20 years later, at the Lowell Banjo & Fiddle Contest not improving one bit over time.
    Lorraine Lee Hammond, BCN & MCN Beginner Old Time & Folk music coordinator since the camp's inception, is an internationally acclaimed singer-songwriter and folk instrumentalist. Perhaps best known for her Appalachian dulcimer playing and recordings she is also a gifted player and teacher of the 5 string banjo, Celtic harp, voice and mandolin. Lorraine teaches locally at the Cambridge Center for Adult Education where she also produces an annul spring dulcimer festival, and is also a featured teacher and performer around the country at venues including The John C Campbell Folk School, Puget Sound Guitar Workshop, Summer Acoustic Music Week, Augusta Heritage program and Kentucky Music Week. She performs and records with her husband, finger-style guitarist Bennett Hammond.
    Steve Arkin grew up in New York's legendary music scene, playing both old-time and bluegrass in bands with Jody Stecher, David Grisman, Maria Muldaur, and others. In 1964 Steve played banjo with Bill Monroe, who named him "The best backup banjo player I ever heard." An early exponent of melodic bluegrass banjo, Steve introduced his mentor Bill Keith to Bobby Thompson and his account of that meeting has been widely published. Steve has won many banjo contests and played in many bands and the highly-praised old-time band, Troublesome Creek. Steve has taught both bluegrass and old-time banjo for five decades--his students have included Marty Cutler, Bob Dylan, Roger McGuinn and Tommy Makem. Steve is proficient in both bluegrass and old-time banjo styles.
    Pete Kelly has played and taught bluegrass and acoustic music for three decades. As an alumnus of The Dale Ann Bradley Band and Michael Cleveland and Flamekeeper, his recording credits include the IBMA's 2006 Instrumental Album of the Year, Michael Cleveland's Let 'Er Go, Boys! and Bluegrass Now magazine's 2006 Album of the Year, Dale Ann Bradley's Catch Tomorrow. His column for Banjo NewsLetter called "Jimmy Martin Banjo," explored the playing of many of the great banjo pickers who have been part of Jimmy Martin's band, theSunny Mountain Boys. In addition to private lessons, Pete has led workshops at festivals throughout the U.S. and U.K.
    Bob Altschuler, BCN Beginner Bluegrass Track Coordinator since 2003, is a performer, teacher and writer. He records and performs with the Dyer Switch Band; his playing has been heard on National Public Radio and on radio and TV commercials. An in-demand instructor for over 35 years, he teaches privately and at workshops. Bob's many articles and online instructionals have appeared in the webzines Mel Bay Banjo Sessions and Angie's Banjo Silver Strings. and in Banjo Newsletter, the May 2011 issue of which featured a profile article about him. Gene Senyak’s 2008 book, Banjo Camp!, has a workshop chapter by Bob and includes articles by other Banjo Camp North instructors. Tailored instruction, patience, humor and "going the extra mile" to help students learn are hallmarks of his very popular teaching style.
    Riley Baugus represents the best of old time American banjo and song. His powerful singing voice and his expert musicianship place him squarely in the next generation of the quality American roots tradition. Riley first came to music through his family. Starting on the fiddle, Riley quickly moved on to the banjo, building his first instrument from scrap wood with his father. From there, Riley has made his own path, building in-demand instruments, and performing and teaching at camps and festivals around the world. Riley's banjos and voice can be heard in the Academy award winning Cold Mountain, where they also needed an authentic acapella ballad singer. A whirlwind Hollywood experience ensued, culminating in a place on the star studded "Great High Mountain" tour. In 2008, a call from T-Bone Burnett put Riley back in the studio, this time as a contributor to the Grammy award winning Album Of The Year, Raising Sand starring Alison Krauss and Robert Plant.
    Martin Grosswendt has played banjo since 1968. Known as a musician’s musician in a variety of genres, he also plays guitar, Dobro, mandolin, and bass, and is a powerful singer. He is a veteran of countless recording sessions and produces recordings for other artists as well as his own. His first album, Dog on a Dance Floor, was released on the Philo label in 1980; his 2nd recording is Call and Response, a collection of pre-war acoustic blues released in 2004. His latest recording is titled Pay Day. Martin has performed and taught at festivals and at WUMB’s Summer Acoustic Music Week and has been a Master Artist’s assistant at the Augusta Heritage Workshops.
    Larry Marschall is a veteran of more than 5 decades of bluegrass and old-time banjo. A founding member of the Busted-Toe Mudthumpers in Ithaca, NY, predecessor of the Highwoods String Band in the 1960's, he has been a member of a number of bands in Chicago and Southern Pennsylvania, including Yonder City (with Dick Staber, Tracy Schwarz and Jerry McCoury) and the West Orrtanna String Band. He's returning to performing and teaching bluegrass banjo after a long digression as an astronomy professor and science writer, during which time he helped demote Pluto from major planet to dwarf status. His banjo style, admired by his peers as both melodically and harmonically inventive, has been described as "full of dark energy".
    Joe Deetz grew up around the Boston Bluegrass scene. He moved to the west coast where he played with Frank Wakefield for several years. After his time with Frank, he moved to Woodstock NY to play with the John Herald band. During this time Joe did some studio work where he appeared on projects with Carol King and Sesame Street among others. He then moved to the Boston area to play with Joe Val and while playing with Joe appeared on a variety of televised shows in the US and abroad. After Joe Val’s passing, Deetz played in various bands and recorded on Brian Wilson’s solo album, where both his banjo and vocals were blended with Brian Wilson and the Beach boys. Joe has taught banjo on and off through his career and enjoys coaching new players and helping intermediate and advanced players improve their playing.
    John Rossbach is originally from central West Virginia. He is equally at home in both old time and bluegrass. John currently works in two bands, his own bluegrass ensemble Chestnut Grove, and Mac Benford's old-time string band, the Woodshed All Stars. He has recorded with Bill Keith, Charles Sawtelle, the Burns Sisters, and Don Stover, and appeared on radio and television for CBS, TNN, PBS, BBC, and CBC. John has taught mandolin and guitar at many Music Camps Nortrh, and at the Augusta Heritage program among others. He is also a fine singer. His solo album is entitled Never Was Plugged.
    Alan Kaufman has performed Old Time Music for more than 30 years. A fine player on mandolin and guitar, Alan is author of Beginning Old Time Fiddle published by Music Sales. He currently is responsible for starting and leading well-received Old TIme Music jams in the greater Boston area. At camp he will teach mandolin, primarily with the novice and beginner track, repertoire, and lead jamming sessions. Alan will also teach Old Time mandolin, using fiddle tunes and duet-style playing in the Monroe and Blue Sky Boys tradition, among others.
    Mike Rivers has played old time music since 1960. He perfomed with the Greasy Run Toad Trompers, one of the first of the eclectic string bands who played a mixed bag of Southern, Northern, Western, swing, ragtime, and Celtic music on string band instruments. As a recording engineer and producer, Mike has recorded albums of various artists for Folkways, Folk Legacy, Rounder, Troubador, Flying Fish, among others. He has run concert sound for the Smithsonian, National, and Lowell Folklife Festivals. Mike will teach backup guitar and conduct seminars in sound production and recording. His How To Get The Most From Your Hand-Held Recorder class is offered early on Friday and is a favorite among camp attendees.
    Mike Brooks has played Old Time banjo for almost 20 years. He began working with Lorraine Hammond and has substituted for her as Beginner Track instructor at Banjo Camp North in the past. Mike has won every banjo contest he ever entered -- a total of one; why spoil a perfect record! He moved to West Virginia a few years ago from the more frantic DC area. His "relaxing" hobby is running off mountains, paragliding, which he has done all over the world. Mike will teach the Novice banjo students, sharing the responsibilities for the newer players with Martin Grosswendt, who will teach the Advancing Beginners.
    Glenn Nelson, resident instrument specialist, has been building, restoring and repairing instruments for 20 years. Glenn and his wife Barbara started Mockingbird Music in Berlin, Massachusetts, where they build custom stringed instruments and specialize in the repair and restoration of vintage instruments. Glenn currently 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 & repairs on site, and to accept instruments for more extensive work. Charges will apply for materials and time spent. Glenn will also participate in some jazz and modern playing workshops.
    Phil Zimmerman committed to performing at a festival before the date for BCN-FE was changed. He will rejoin us in the Spring.
    Paul Brown had surgery on August 16; he is out of the hospital and doing well but will miss BCN-FE. We all wish him a speedy recovery and look forward to his participation in BCN in May, 2014.