Coaches and Guest Musicians

Ellen Carlson

Exeter, Manchester and Tilton Coach

Ellen Carlson is the founder and Executive Director of the New Hampshire Fiddle Ensemble. She has a strong grasp on several musical genres. She has played with bluegrass, swing, western swing, country, Irish and square dance bands. Bluegrass Unlimited Magazine gave her a coveted highlight review for her solo album "People I Play With" as well as three excellent reviews for her band High Range, calling her "a talented musician." Ellen teaches at numerous festivals and workshops including Fiddle Hell, Grey Fox, Joe Val, and Pemi Valley. She is a member of the NH State Council on the Arts Teaching Roster.


Melissa Bragdon Caron

Kittery and Westbrook Coach

Melissa Bragdon Caron is the Associate Director of the New Hampshire Fiddle Ensemble. She is a Maine-based fiddler known for playing and teaching many different styles of music. Classically trained, she received a degree in Music Education at the University of Maine and has experience teaching string programs and general music at various grade levels in the Maine public schools. Melissa has been a member of the Portland-based bluegrass band Jerks of Grass since 2006 and also plays with the old-time band Sugar Hill. She recently recorded an album, "Stuff That Works," with Fiddlers Three. Melissa teams up with Ellen Carlson to organize Fiddleheads Acoustic Jam Camp, a music camp for acoustic musicians held each September in New Hampshire. Melissa was greatly involved in the development of 317 Main Community Music Center in Yarmouth, Maine, where she taught fiddle and acoustic ensembles for twelve years. Melissa also teaches at her studio in Scarborough, Maine. She enjoys spending time with her two young sons, Daniel and Aidan.


Shana Aisenberg

Tamworth and Rhythm Coach

Shana is a nationally recognized multi-instrumentalist, playing, composing, recording, and teaching diverse acoustic roots styles from traditional southern Appalachian and Celtic, to eastern European Klezmer, bottleneck blues and jazz. She has been a national flatpicking champion.



Amy Conley

Guest Coach

Amy is a full-time performer and teacher of music based in Milford, NH, offering classes and lessons in ukulele, guitar, banjo, percussion, piano, and harmonica (on Zoom and in Milford). Leading community music programs such as the Rise Up Singing group "Second Friday Song Circle" and therapeutic singalongs for seniors and persons with special needs, Amy draws people into the joy of music. She established Amy Conley Music in 1997 and also offers Ukulele Playshops for groups, music enrichment programs for schools, Song and Puppet Concerts, Early Childhood parent/child "Music in Nature" and more. Amy has recorded three CD's of family folk songs. Location for NH Fiddle orchestra: Amy Conley Music, 102 Elm St., Milford NH 03055 Contact phone 603-249-9560 (no texts) Email:


Betsy Heron

Guest Coach

Betsy grew up on a farm in central Massachusetts, playing throughout her childhood in a family country band called the Housejackers which included her parents and three sisters. Today she regularly performs around New England with her husband in the old-time and bluegrass duo Green Heron, as well as with her three sisters in the Green Sisters. She started out learning classical music in grade school and was in the Massachusetts Central Districts orchestra for several years through high school; however, her passion turned to Irish and contradance fiddle tunes after about the fourth grade. Old-time fiddle tunes are her favorite, but she loves all styles. 


Steve Roy

Guest Coach

Steve is a multi-instrumentalist from Eliot, Maine who plays and teaches upright bass, mandolin, fiddle, guitar, and ukulele. He is fluent in a vast array of musical styles, including bluegrass, jazz, folk, rock, jam, country, old time, heavy metal, etc. As a sideman, he has toured nationally and internationally with many of the acoustic world's top acts, including Laurie Lewis and Tom Rozum, John Reischman and Eli West, Molly Tuttle, Joe K. Walsh, Frank Solivan and Dirty Kitchen, Joy Kills Sorrow, Hit and Run Bluegrass, and many others. Locally, he is well known for his work with groups such as OldHat Stringband, High Range, Jazzputin and the Jug Skunks, Steve and Dave Play Dead, Spinal Tarp, and countless others. He has been leading a weekly open bluegrass jam on the NH seacoast for over a decade. Bluegrass Now Magazine calls Steve a "devastating weapon." He is currently a faculty member at 317 Main Street Community Music Center in Yarmouth, ME, and at Portsmouth Music and Arts Center in Portsmouth, NH. Steve is the Program Director at Nimblefingers Old Time & Bluegrass Workshops in British Columbia, and he has taught many other music camps and workshops throughout the USA and Canada, including Steve Kaufman's Acoustic Kamp (TN), Fiddleheads Jam Camp (NH), Ossipee Valley String Camp (ME), Walker Creek Music Camp (CA), Aloha Bluegrass Academy (HI), and many others. Steve is also a violin maker, and works in the violin shop of Jonathan Cooper, in Portland, ME. 


 Darrell Carlson

Guest Musician

He started playing guitar at 9 and quickly developed into a sought after singer and player in the northwestern Connecticut/New York region even at age 14. He started his own band with his brother Bruce and sister Ellen along with 3 neighborhood kids at age 13 and has continued to play for 40 more years thoroughly enjoying playing with others of all levels.


Kris Day

Guest Musician

He is most recognizable as a member of the New England roots music scene. He's spent the last 25 years as a member of rockabilly quartet King Memphis and over a decade as bassist for bluegrass favorites Jerks of Grass and Travis-picking guitar slinger Sean Mencher and his Rhythm Kings. Kris has performed in 38 states, Canada and Europe holding down the low end for rock n' roll legends Link Wray, Dale Hawkins, Ronnie Dawson, Sleepy LaBeef and Joe Clay as well as performing with an array of artists ranging from bluegrass mandolin hero Matt Flinner to Brazilian singer Celia Vaz to Gypsy Jazz guitarist Stephane Wrembel (as a member of Hot Club of Portland). For the last 15 years Kris has spent his days teaching music at Buckdancers Choice in Portland, Maine and his nights performing live in and around New England.


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