Founded in 2013 in beautiful Downeast Maine, the Acadia Trad School evolved out of a growing traditional music and dance culture that has taken root in New England. Focusing mainly on music and dance with origins in the Celtic traditions (Irish, Scottish, Cape Breton, Acadian, Quebeçois, Old-Time, etc.), we promote both historical and modern adaptations that respectfully expand on the voices of the past. Acadia Trad School emphasizes technique, theory, and cultural understanding — not just learning tunes.
The Acadia Trad School offers a variety of concerts, sessions, workshops, school programs and dances across Downeast Maine throughout the year. In the coming years, we hope to expand our programming as well as extend our reach regionally and beyond. Sign up for our email list below to be sure you don’t miss out on any activities!
Engaging audiences with the diversity and talent of today’s traditional music and dance performers is a vital component of the Acadia Trad School mission. With a variety of genres and instrumentation held year-round in venues across Down East Maine and beyond, our concerts showcase both established world-class talent and advanced students that are well on their way to a traditional music or dance career. When scheduled, concerts are visibly posted throughout this site, as well as announced on Facebook and Twitter.
Sessions are one of the best ways to build community and share in the joy of traditional music. Sessions are offered year-round at a variety of levels, and are organized by members of our local community. Here are a few regular sessions we know about — if you would like to add one, please email us!
Irish Sessions @ Paddy Murphy's
26 Main Street, Bangor, ME
These sessions, held weekly on Tuesday from 6-9PM, are great for players at intermediate or advanced levels, but beginning students are encouraged to listen and participate as appropriate. There is no fee to participate. If you plan to bring audience members with you, plan to make a reservation in advance as the restaurant fills up quickly. https://paddymurphysbangor.com
Southwest Harbor Sessions @ Harbor House
12 Village Green Way, Southwest Harbor, ME
Traditional music session every Wednesday night, from 6:30 pm to 9:00 pm, at the Silent City Coffee House in Southwest Harbor. Someone teaches a new tune during the first half hour. During the rest of the evening, the group plays traditional music from Ireland, Scotland, Cape Breton, French Canada, Appalachia, and other cultures. We play this music with acoustic instruments such as fiddle, accordion, pipes, penny whistle, flute, harmonica, guitar, mandolin, harp, banjo, bodran, Jew’s harp, and others. Sharing tunes, and learning them by ear is strongly encouraged. Anyone who wants to play, learn, or listen to this music is welcome. For more information, please contact Ray Lambert at 207-244-8090 or at [email protected].
Workshops are typically short (a few hours), self-contained units and are offered in a wide variety of topics. They are usually in conjunction with a concert. With a low cost to attend, workshops are a great way to refine your skills, learn a new instrument or technique, or expand your musical horizons.
Most traditional music stems from the dance, and there are so many genres of dance within traditional culture! Dances are fun community events that offer opportunities for participants at all levels. Dances are typically taught at the beginning of each set by a professional caller, so beginners are very welcome. You do not need to bring a partner. Dances are also a great way for instrumentalists to learn or practice tunes, and to learn how music supports the dancers. Community dances will be held during the Acadia Trad Festival and monthly dances are held year-round by other community groups.
Traditional music and culture is passed down from one generation to another, usually through personal teaching and learning by ear. The Acadia Trad School is passionate about engaging young students, and has partnered with elementary and middle schools to offer exposure to these genres as part of their music programs. If you are a parent, student or teacher who would like to see a traditional music or dance program offered in your local school, please contact us.