Chris Quinn – Bluegrass Banjo
Chris began playing banjo in 1978. His dad, Murray Quinn, who has remained a lifelong supporter of Chris’ music, got him his first banjo for Christmas. Murray did his best to take Chris out to see live music and meet musicians. “Dad snuck me into a bar once when I was 12 so that I could see a live bluegrass band.”
A high school friend named Jimmy Kyle showed Chris a few picking patterns on the banjo and Chris took to it instantly. Spending every spare moment, Chris taught himself to pick.In 1988, Chris moved to his current home in Toronto, and quickly found himself on the music scene. Since then, Chris has forged enduring friendships and musical partnerships with: Chris Coole, Dan Whiteley, Jenny Whiteley, Andrew Collins, Max Heineman, John Showman, Joey Wright, The Backstabbers, Kristine Schmitt, Tony Allen, Marc Roy, Sam Petite, Ivan Rosenberg, and many others.
Since 2000, Chris has been the award winning banjo player for The Foggy Hogtown Boys.
With more than 30 years of experience, he is also a highly acclaimed instructor who is equally comfortable working one on one or with larger groups; Chris has even conducted a banjo workshop in a bomb shelter in the middle east once!
During his career, Chris has performed with Bob Fuller, Ray Condo and His Hard-Rock Goners, One Horse Town, Heartbreak Hill, Jughead, Rick Fielding, The Backstabbers, The Hamstrung Stringband, The Wild Irish Rogues, Stringalong, Luther Wright and the Wrongs, John McEuen, Vassar Clements, Kenny Baker and Josh Graves Jr., and Bill Monroe and The Bluegrass Boys.
Chris Coole – Clawhammer Banjo
Since 2001, Chris has played guitar, sang and written songs for critically acclaimed bluegrass band The Foggy Hogtown Boys. His love for the golden era of bluegrass music is apparent to anyone who hears his singing and songwriting. From 2000-2007 Chris collaborated with old time fiddler Erynn Marshall. In 2005 he co-produced her critically acclaimed CD ‘Calico’. In 2006 the duo recorded ‘Meet Me in the Music’ which has been nominated for best traditional album at the 2007 Canadian Folk Music awards.
Chris is a acknowledged as a skilled teacher of both banjo and guitar. he has taught many workshops across Canada and the U.S.
John Showman – Fiddle
John Showman plays fiddle and sings lead and harmony. Classically trained in violin since childhood, Showman has folded the sheet music, and emerged as one of the most dynamic, original, and exciting fiddlers in bluegrass music today. John also has the rare ability to understand the subtleties of old-time fiddle as well: which is why he won 1st place in the 2011 Fiddle Contest in Clifftop, West Virginia.
Andrew Collins – Mandolin
Mando maestro Andrew Collins finds himself – through no actual fault of his own – at the epicentre of Canada’s burgeoning acoustic/roots music scene. He didn’t invent it – but he’s certainly been a contributor, having co-founded seriously noteworthy Canadian bands like the Creaking String Quartet, the Foggy Hogtown Boys and, more recently, the Andrew Collins Trio. That’s not to mention the fact that this prolific, robust performer – comfortable on mandolin, fiddle, guitar, mandola and mandocello – composes, produces, arranges, writes and teaches across multiple genres, including a popular collision of bluegrass, folk, blues, jazz, old-time, swing, Celtic and classical.
Max Heineman – Bass
By the age of twelve he was performing as a singer and bassist with his family band on a weekly gig in Toronto’s Cabbagetown. He got his first upright bass in high school and played gigs in his dad’s jazz trio throughout his teens. He later moved to NYC with his brother to facilitate songwriting, recording and gigging with his cousins, Caleb and Josh Heineman. In 1998 he discovered Bluegrass and Old Time on a local college radio show and, drawn to the rich soulful harmonies and the depth of the tradition, he’s been hooked ever since.
Max is highly respected as an intuitive and seasoned bass player; he also plays both clawhammer and Scruggs style banjo and rhythm guitar, which inform his overall understanding of the unique rhythms of Bluegrass, Old Time and Country music. He is renowned as vocalist – his powerful voice and ability to sing with an emotional commitment to the song leave the listener feeling truly connected. The rich soulful environment of a Bluegrass vocal ensemble is a home away from home for him.
Since 2006 Max has been playing with the Foggy Hogtown Boys and touring the U.S., Canada, Israel, Ireland, England and most recently Germany’s Bluegrass Jamboree. In 2009 he founded The Lonesome Ace Stringband with fellow Foggy Hogtown Boys John Showman and Chris Coole, and in 2012 began recording and touring with Canadian artist Annie Lou.
Adam Shier – Guitar
Flatpick guitarist Adam Shier has been playing since he was 8. Since forming his band, The Unseen Strangers, he has gained notoriety for a distinct acoustic voice that bridges Bluegrass, Rock, and Improvisational music. He self produced and engineered The Unseen Strangers debut recording in 2009, earning a Music Nova Scotia Award for Bluegrass/Country Album of the Year.
To follow-up their debut release, The Unseen Strangers recorded two full-length albums with recording engineer Andrew Collins. Adam earned the 2012 International Acoustic Music Award for his song “Rambler’s Plea” (The Unseen Strangers, Follow the Sound). In 2013, The Unseen Strangers won the Delfest Bluegrass Band Competition and were invited back in 2014 to play alongside many notable acts such as Ricky Skaggs & Bruce Hornsby, Hot Rize, and Béla Fleck. The latest Unseen Strangers album, Stranger Places, features exclusively original material by Adam and has received over 300,000 Spotify streams since it’s release April 1st, 2016.
Adam currently spends time his writing, practicing, and touring with The Unseen Strangers, as well as teaching guitar, mandolin, and banjo.
Kristine Schmitt – Vocals
New this year! Although Kristine has been at Old School Bluegrass Camp for the last two years, she is now officially part of our instructing team! We couldn’t be happier to have her! We recognize that some people just want to sing, so now is your chance to study bluegrass vocals with one of the best!
Kristine Schmitt is a Toronto-based singer-songwriter, specializing in material both drawn from and influenced by music from the early part of the twentieth century. Whether it’s a fifties country ballad, an old mountain tune, a salty twenties blues number, a swinging thirties jazz tune, or belting out one of her own, you’d better hang on tight!
Ivan Rosenberg – Facilitator and Slow Jam Master
Ivan will be at camp leading the evening slow jams, coaching a student band, playing in the instructor concerts, and facilitating other camp activities. There is no dedicated Dobro class this year, but students signed up for other instruments or vocals can opt for their private lesson to be with Ivan on Dobro. There will also be a Dobro-themed ‘festival-style’ workshop one afternoon and, if several Dobro players attend camp, one 45-minute hands-on Dobro workshop, which would be scheduled during private-lesson/free time.