Fiddle Ensemble Kittery Star Theatre Concert, Spring 2022 (Photo by Amanda Kowalski)
Fiddle Ensemble Kittery Star Theatre Concert, Spring 2022 (Photo by Amanda Kowalski)


The Fiddle Ensemble is a 501c3 community orchestra made up of approximately 100 musicians of all ages and abilities playing a variety of acoustic instruments - including fiddle, guitar, banjo, mandolin, upright bass, harp, accordion and more! Each year, we arrange several tunes and singing songs of different genres, including Celtic, Swing, Bluegrass, Folk, Blues, Country, and Cajun music.


The Fiddle Ensemble has seven different rehearsal locations throughout New Hampshire and Southern Maine. The groups rehearse from late November through April. Click here to see rehearsal locations, schedule and other details. As a community training orchestra, we teach the basics of performing and musicianship, both in the traditional manner (by ear) and by providing sheet music. The graduated parts allow musicians of various abilities to play together in harmony. Learning materials include slow recordings, up tempo recordings, music notation, chord charts, and lyrics; and are available to members online.


The Acoustic Roots Orchestra is a great opportunity for kids of ages 6-17 to play music with friends. ARO members learn a smaller repertoire of music, with the option of participating in the full ensemble. Click here for more information.


In the spring, all the Fiddle Ensemble groups come together for our concert season. We put on an entertaining show that is more than just fiddle tunes - we have kids telling jokes and hula-hooping while they play, a 75-year-old woman stepping up to rip up a bluegrass solo, a 50-year-old teetotaler belting out a great Irish drinking song, a group of teenage girls singing a folk song - we have fun! Click here for more concert details.


The Fiddle Ensemble brings community together in many different ways. We support other local non-profits by partnering with them and playing benefit concerts for them. Our newly launched program, the Acoustic Roots Orchestra, gives school-aged musicians the opportunity to play traditional styles of music together. Ensemble members build strong connections with each other and often continue to play together – including children, parents, grandparents, cousins, neighbors, teachers, and friends. We also hire local music educators to help coach the group and we bring in professional musicians to perform with the ensemble during concerts. We look forward to continuing with our mission of "Bringing Community Together through Music."


Hear Ellen Carlson's interview about the NH Fiddle Ensemble on The Rochester Post Podcast:


“When I joined the ensemble, I instantly became a part of the community. I love being a part of this community, full of people of all different ages and backgrounds. I think it is so amazing that we can all just have fun together. When I was younger I moved around a lot, so becoming a part of this community was really amazing. I love meeting new people and just being around this talented group. “

- Samantha Dahl, 16-year-old fiddler, Hill, NH


“I think one of the greatest strengths of the Ensemble is that families with kids can participate together as equals. I think it’s super cool that a parent can play side-by-side with their kids and there isn’t a coach-player or leader-follower divide. You’re in it together and working on the tunes together.”

- John Garrigan, adult mandolin player, Derry, NH


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