Fiddle & Banjo Camp Instructors

Pierre Schryer ~
Pierre Schryer is one of Canada’s leading traditional fiddlers. A recipient of numerous titles and awards including Canadian Open Fiddle Champion, Grand Masters Champion, Violoneux Championnat, and North American Irish Fiddle Champion, Pierre truly captivates an audience with his energy and genuine warmth. His ability knows no bounds, covering styles from Irish, Scottish, Québecois, and Cape Breton to Canadian Old Time, American Swing and more. As leader of his self-titled group, Pierre Schryer Band built an international reputation as one of Canada’s most well respected traditional music ensembles by touring throughout Canada, the USA, Ireland, Europe and the UK since the mid-90’s. Pierre has shared the stage with dozens of internationally renowned colleagues in the traditional music scene and has performed with numerous orchestras across Canada with his acclaimed Symphony Pops show. Pierre’s talents extend beyond his musical abilities. An accomplished luthier and artist, he currently performs on one of his own violins and creates the cover art and design for his recordings. Pierre was the Artistic Director of the “Canadian Celtic Celebration,” a festival presented in Thunder Bay, Ontario for 16 years.

Saskia Tomkins ~
My musical education experience is varied: I have a degree in Jazz and Popular Music with a side of classical performance and have been teaching music privately for nearly 30 years in the UK and Canada, including six years of teaching on a music diploma course at Northampton College, UK three years as violin teacher at a Waldorf school, and many workshops at various folk festivals in Europe and North America.
I love helping old & young to play the music of their dreams. I don’t follow a set system, rather I tailor my teaching to the needs of the learner in a solo or group setting. We work together towards the learners goal, in whatever music styles they are interested in. I am very specific in correcting technique but without compromising the joy of playing music. I have a vast supply of patience, and teach people with a wide range of abilities and learning styles. Where there’s a will there’s a way, all within a safe, respectful environment.

Ben Plotnick ~
Ben Plotnick has established himself over the last decade as one of North America’s elite fiddle players. With a variety of acts, he has performed across 4 continents. He has recorded on more than a hundred albums as a session musician, performed at arenas and festivals across the continent with country, folk, Americana and bluegrass bands, and produced 6 records for himself or other collaborative projects. As a classical player, he has performed as a soloist with more than one professional orchestra. As an old time fiddler, he has placed as high as 1st runner-up at the esteemed Canadian Grand Masters fiddle competition. As a member of the Fretless, the band won a Juno award for Instrumental Album of the Year in 2017, to add to their slew of other awards and accolades. As a singer, songwriter and fiddle player in Oliver the Crow, NPR called the duo “An Inspired Collaboration”.

Chris Coole ~
Chris says: I’ve taught an awful lot of people how to play the banjo and guitar. I love doing it. In the past, I’ve taught lessons to some of the brightest lights in the younger generation of clawhammer players such as Frank Evans, Alison De Groot, and Victor Furtado. So, if you’ve ever wondered how your life would be different if you played the banjo, or played the banjo differently, then wonder no more! Chris Coole is a sought-after teacher of both banjo and guitar at workshops and festivals across Canada and the U.S.

Frank Evans ~
Frank Evans fell in love with banjo at age 10 and quickly developed a passion for Old Time Appalachian music. He won the youth banjo contest at the Clifftop Appalachian String Band Festival when he was 13 and later placed second overall. In 2010 Evans joined the bluegrass outfit The Slocan Ramblers and recorded their first album “Shaking Down The Acorns” produced by Juno Award winner Andrew Collins. The album gained attention worldwide and led them to open for Steve Martin at the Toronto Jazz Festival in 2013. Evans became the first banjo player to attend Humber College of Music studying jazz. Currently, Evans tours extensively year round throughout the world and has played at Rockygrass Academy, Merlefest, and Jacob’s Ladder in Israel. He has taught at Rockygrass Academy, Nimble Fingers Bluegrass Camp, and has played, recorded and taught alongside Old Crow Medicine Show, Natalie McMaster, Tony Trischka, Peter Rowan, John Reischman and Ken Whiteley. Evans is now based in Nashville, TN.

Sam Allison ~
In the decades which book-ended the turn of our century, Sam Allison embraced the music over which he had obsessed since his childhood. He dwelled in the cradles of their conception and birth. The Carolinas, the Mississippi Valley, West Virginia, Kentucky, Scotland, Wales, England and Ireland fed him the sounds of tradition that helped to form his musical life. Sam has been nominated for the Canadian Folk Music Award and JUNO for his work as producer of records for Sheesham and Lotus, Lotus Wight and Jenny Whiteley as well as music for television and film. When Sam was a young child, he puzzled his parents by speaking in a broad Brooklyn accent until the age of six years old.