The New Hampshire Fiddle Ensemble

Coaches and Guest Musicians

Ellen Carlson

Exeter, Manchester and Tilton Coach

Fiddle, Guitar, Mandolin

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.

Ellen Carlson: (603) 661-1981 email Ellen or visit her website


Melissa Bragdon Caron

Kittery and Westbrook, Maine Coach


Melissa Bragdon Caron is the President of the New Hampshire Fiddle Ensemble. She is a fiddler who is known for playing and teaching many different styles of music. Classically trained, she received her BA in Music Education at the University of Maine at Orono. She has taught general music, beginning strings, and the high school orchestra in the Windham School System. Melissa has been a member of the Portland-based bluegrass band "Jerks of Grass" since 2006. She also enjoys performing with the old-time band "Sugar Hill" and recently recorded an album with "Fiddlers Three." Melissa was greatly involved in the development of 317 Main Community Music Center in Yarmouth, Maine. She runs a successful music camp each September with Ellen Carlson, called Fiddleheads Acoustic JamCamp. Melissa also teaches at her home studio in Scarborough, Maine, and enjoys spending time with her two young sons, Daniel and Aidan.

Melissa Bragdon Caron: (207) 415-9314 email Melissa


Shana Aisenberg

Rhythm Coach

Mandolin, Guitar, Ukulele, Fiddle

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.

Shana Aisenberg: (603) 393-3759 website


Darrell Carlson, Epsom, NH

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, Portland, ME

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.


Mitch Reed

Guest Coach


Mitch Reed: "I am a multi-instrumentalist, traditional music instructor, and storyteller. Born in Bayou Vista, raised in Lafayette by musicians and storytellers from Mamou, at 15 I began playing the fiddle and studying traditional Cajun and Creole music. By 17 I toured as a cultural ambassador in Smithsonian Institution Office of Folklife Programs, and have continued to work with them since 1989. During my career, I have played alongside Louisiana greats such as Canray Fontenot, Bois Sec Ardoin, Charles Neville, and George Porter. I have performed on four Grammy Nominated albums, and in 2009 I was awarded a Grammy with BeauSoleil for the album 'Live at the 2008 New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival.' Over the years I have built an extensive repertoire and learned an old style of playing which is evident in my sound today."