Our Programs

Learning for All Ages

At the Acadia School of Traditional Music and Arts, our highest priority is to provide world-class educational programs in traditional music, arts and culture. All ages — children, teens, families, adults and seniors — will find a wide range of learning opportunities in our year-round programs. From specialty workshops, school programs, dances and twice-monthly jam sessions to the intensive classes of the week-long summer Acadia Trad Festival, we offer something for everyone.

Acadia Trad Concerts

From intimate performances in small venues across the Down East region, to the larger audiences of Gates Auditorium at the College of the Atlantic, the Acadia Trad Concerts bring together some of the world’s greatest contemporary performers. Concerts are held year round, but the premiere events are the Acadia Halls Concerts, held during the week-long Acadia Trad Festival.

A non-profit mission, with big plans ahead

The Acadia School of Traditional Music and Arts began the process to become a registered 501(c)3 nonprofit in August, 2017 and we received our official designation of 501(c)(3) status on June 12, 2018, less than two weeks before the 2018 Acadia Trad Festival!

We have any exciting programs planned, but our current efforts involve ensuring the operational sustainability of the Acadia Trad School through robust volunteer participation and a dedicated Board of Trustees, and in building a strong financial foundation for the future through careful business practices and the development of a philanthropic program. Now that we have achieved 501(c)3 status, we will apply for grants and private donations to support additional programming in communities and public schools.

Our current and planned activities, some of which are dependent on this funding, are:

Future Programs:

  • Artist-in-Residence program
  • Cultural/historical enrichment programs for K-12 students across Maine
  • Weekend programs / workshops for students of all ages and abilities
  • Lectures
  • Instrument Donation program

We need your help. Whether you wish to contribute your time and talent, or assist our efforts with much-needed financial support, there is a place for you in the Acadia Trad School future. Please get in touch today.

An Inclusive Community

The Acadia Trad School does not and shall not discriminate on the basis of race, color, religion (creed), gender, gender expression, age, national origin (ancestry), disability, marital status, sexual orientation, or military status, in any of its activities or operations. These activities include, but are not limited to, employment, selection of volunteers and vendors, student admission and financial assistance, or provision of services. We are committed to providing an inclusive and welcoming environment for all members of our staff, volunteers, students, subcontractors, vendors, and clients.

Furthermore, the Acadia Trad School is dedicated to providing a harassment-free educational experience and will not tolerate harassment of participants in any form based on race, color, religion (creed), gender, gender expression, age, national origin (ancestry), disability, marital status, sexual orientation, or military status.

Read our full Non-Discrimination and Anti-Harassment Policy


Our People

Our small staff and our many volunteers make it all happen. We need you! If you are interested in volunteering in any capacity, please contact info@acadiatradschool.org.

Jennifer Torrance

Jennifer Torrance

Executive Director

Jen has been involved as a student of the Acadia Trad School since 2013, and credits it with her complete addiction to all things fiddle. Jen joined the staff as Director of Marketing in 2015 and took on the role of Executive Director in August, 2017. She is also a professional manager, designer, photographer and videographer. She lives in Ellsworth, Maine with her two children, husband Joshua and three miniature schnauzers.

Jenny Donnelly

Jenny Donnelly

Housing Coordinator

Jenny served the Acadia Trad School as Assistant Director from 2014 to August, 2017 and continues to be the registration guru for the Acadia Trad Festival. Jenny is a professional engineer, a small plane pilot, and a trad enthusiast. Her non-stop energy, great spirit, love for the fiddle, and engineering skills combine in her work at Acadia Trad School.

Nancy Parker Neff

Nancy Parker Neff

Director of Operations, Secretary/Treasurer

A long-time student at the Acadia Trad Festival, Nancy joined the volunteer team in 2015 and has taken on increasing levels of responsibility ever since. Now a key member of the Board of Trustees, Nancy lends her many organizational and administrative talents to the School as Director of Operations. Herself a talented multi-instrumentalist, Nancy’s passion for traditional music shows in every aspect of her life. She can be found at local sessions nearly every night of the week, and frequents camps throughout the Northeast. She lives in Ellsworth, Maine with her two sweet kitties, Pixie and Bailey.

Chuck Donnelly

Chuck Donnelly

Director Emeritus

Chuck Donnelly cut his musical chops in the San Francisco Bay Area bluegrass music scene in the early 1990s. In 1996, Chuck moved to Maine with his wife, Janet Anker where they owned the Left Bank Cafe, a nationally-known small music venue in Blue Hill. Over the years, Chuck has toured with fiddlers Katie Wegner and Emma Walsh, and with the Clam City Ramblers. Chuck started the Acadia Trad School in 2012 with a focus on using music to build community, and served as Executive Director until August, 2017. He hopes the school will become an established institution for higher learning for traditional music and arts.

Rebecca Edmondson

Rebecca Edmondson

Vice President

Rebecca Edmondson is a recognized leader in the music education of Downeast Maine. She has inspired countless children in her role has instrumental and vocal music teacher at the Conners Emerson School in Bar Harbor, and leads the Eastern Maine Pops Orchestra (TEMPO) and the Swallowtail Fiddlers. A piper and harper, Rebecca’s connection to traditional music runs deep. We are proud to have her as part of our Board of Trustees.