East, west, north and south, bluegrass music has its younger musicians in many various regions. Some discovered off the crushed monitor are the Saline Fiddlers who open for bluegrass music legend, 15-time Grammy winner, and newly-inducted member of the Nation Music Hall of Fame Ricky Skaggs in Ann Arbor, MI this coming Saturday.
The Saline Fiddlers Philharmonic was shaped in August 1994 by Bob Phillips, the orchestra director at Saline Excessive Faculty, near Saline, just south of Ann Arbor. He approached some string musicians in his group with the thought of forming an extra-curricular group with the purpose of them learning traditional American fiddle music, and sooner or later, enjoying for small audiences and help perpetuate this wealthy, musical heritage.
That they had their 25th Anniversary Hometown Show on February 9, 2019.
Phillips remembers ……
“Fiddling began in the Saline Space Faculties orchestra program in 1976 as part of the general curriculum. We then created a fiddling class within the middle faculty through the yr, and in the summertime orchestra program. Ultimately, we determined to begin the Saline Fiddlers Philharmonic in 1994. Within a couple of years, the group was enjoying 80 to 100 exhibits a yr and opening for gamers such Bryon Berline, Peter Oustroushko, Bonnie Rideout, The RFD Boys, Jay Ungar and Molly Mason, Del McCoury, Mark O’Connor, Natalie McMaster, Sam Bush, and lots of different legends of bluegrass and Celtic music.
The massive number of festivals and live shows they carried out allowed the group to work together with so many nice artists and bands. This was a terrific learning expertise for the scholars via the years. It gave them nice love for fiddling in all its types.
Some nice professional gamers have come out of the group comparable to Jeremy Kittel, Brad Phillips, and Cori Smith. In addition, some well-known public-school orchestra academics akin to Ben Culver, Becky Bush, Sarah Lenhart, Amy Marr, and Reid Smith are alumni and have continued to use fiddling in their faculty packages.
A few of the most memorable moments embrace enjoying at the White House multiple occasions, as well as the Kennedy Middle. The group has toured throughout Europe, the USA, and Canada enjoying in many professional settings and venues. Most of the former players continue to play in bands and perform regularly.”
Ashley Grebe, the Inventive Director of Saline Fiddlers Philharmonic, emphasises the groups’ expansive improvement, as they rejoice 25 years ….
“The Saline Fiddlers have a rich historical past that began in 1994 when Bob Phillips, the then orchestra director at Saline High Faculty, shaped an extracurricular group devoted to American fiddle music. The intent of such venture was to introduce an alternate fashion of enjoying to his students to additional enrich their musical experience and love of performing.
The initial response was so constructive from both the students and the group that the Saline Fiddlers Philharmonic was born, and remains some extent of delight for Saline after 25 years of music. Through the years, steady progress has allowed Saline Fiddlers Philharmonic to deliver its distinctive brand of fiddle music to audiences regionally, across the country, and internationally. With this progress, the structure of the group advanced from an extracurricular activity working out of the Saline Faculties to its current status as an unbiased non-profit group. The popularity of Saline Fiddlers Philharmonic grew as a model for various musical schooling, inspiring the creation of other such ensembles throughout the US and Canada. The Saline Fiddlers Philharmonic of at the moment draws on the rural historical past of Saline by performing American traditional fiddle music however, has additionally grown to embrace fiddle and people music from different areas and genres to create an eclectic mixture of music. Students and employees stay dedicated to maintaining the history of the group alive, whereas preserving it related for current and future generations of Fiddlers and fiddle fans.”
As Phillips says, two-time Grammy nominee Jeremy Kittel is an alumnus. He began enjoying the fiddle across the age of eight or nine ……
“It was an amazing experience to be part of the Saline Fiddlers. We got to perform often around Michigan, travel far around the US and abroad, and work with stellar artists who came to visit and work with the group on a joint concert. Some of the artists who came while I was a member are Byron Berline, Richard Greene, Bonnie Rideout, Barrage, and many more. I remember we visited and performed at Mark O’Connor’s old Nashville camp one year too. We had lots of chances to be creative musically as well; our fearless leader Bob Phillips (founder) was always finding ways to feature talented students in song, dance, and of course instrumental skill. I was fortunate in this way to get a chance to develop my improvising chops on fiddle tunes, which paved the way for me to study jazz in college. It was really meaningful socially for all of us as well, a tight-knit, positive group. There are many great musicians who were so positively impacted by being a part of the Saline Fiddlers, and also, many alumni for whom music is simply a bigger part of their lives than it would have been otherwise, which I think is almost always a positive thing.”
Kittel, though, didn’t have a typical experience with the Saline Fiddlers Philharmonic due to a few elements as well as to an early begin on the instrument …
“I was part of the middle school fiddle clubs, and another middle-school program Bob called Creative Arts Orchestra where we worked on learning to improvise. I was a bit of an odd kid grade-wise, as I was partly home-schooled for a couple years around early middle school, and ended up entering high school early at age twelve (a couple years early). So, I was too young to join the Fiddlers from a social standpoint at my freshman year and joined sophomore year at 13 instead. While home-schooled I was doing a lot of music outside of the Saline programs too, so I did have this combination of lots of music studies going on in my own world, and then this awesome school group (the Fiddlers) that I got to be part of and learn through for most of high school.”
2019 Grammy nominee Jeremy Kittel was the guest artist at The Saline Fiddler’s 25th Anniversary Hometown Present on February 9.
Another who has progressed from the Fiddlers to having knowledgeable profession in music is Brad Phillips (no relation to the Fiddlers’ founder) ………
“I used to be an early member of the Fiddlers (1999-2003). The group is essentially, if not completely accountable for my turning into knowledgeable musician. I saw the group carry out as an elementary faculty scholar in Saline and thought it appeared like enjoyable, so I joined the varsity orchestra program the subsequent yr simply in order that I might study to play Cripple Creek on the fiddle.
Being a member of the group, I was in a position to discover my own creativity as a musician in the context of traditional fiddle music whereas learning the ropes of what it means to be a part of a touring semi-professional ensemble. There are such a lot of parts of what I discovered back then which might be still part of my touring life now. In addition to the musical aspect of things, we additionally discovered a fantastic deal about pro audio, and all of us knew how to arrange and run the sound system. It was a group effort throughout the board to make the show happen from rehearsals, to traveling, to loading in, to warming up, performing, tearing down, loading up, and heading house; a process which we repeated almost 80 occasions a yr at that time.”
Brad Phillips served as the Assistant Inventive Direct, and Composer/Arranger for the group after undergrad from 2007-2013 and took over for one yr as Inventive Director from 2013-2014……
“During my time as Artistic Director, the overarching responsibility for that position was to oversee and set in motion the overall creative vision of the group. The day-to-day responsibilities, however, were more complex. There are many moving parts to an organization like the Fiddlers, so there was a lot to keep track of. Sometimes the music and creative part of the job were a very small piece of the puzzle as compared to the administrative responsibilities that inevitably came up. Ultimately, the most rewarding part of the Artistic Director job was working with the kids in rehearsals and watching them thrive in performance. If there’s anything I miss most about my time with the Fiddlers, it would be that part.”
He moved on from the group in 2014 to pursue other endeavors. Here’s a video of Brad within the studio together with his personal band: Keith Billik on banjo, Mike Shea on drums, Jacob Warren on bass, and Jason Dennie on guitar.
Violin player Shaylee Louth is in little question that her involvement within the Saline Fiddlers Philharmonic been useful in additional methods than one ….
“I feel that Fiddlers has helped me grow tremendously as an individual, not only a participant. I’ve gained so much confidence through the years! 4 years in the past, talking in entrance of a crowd, let alone enjoying a solo, was unfathomable to me.
The household that you simply discover in Fiddlers is admittedly supportive, so it’s straightforward to attempt new things and experiment outdoors of your musical comfort zone. It’s also a good way to go into high school with a robust help system.”
Ashley Grebe shares these thoughts forward of the distinguished present ….
“The Fiddlers have had the privilege of creating music with lots of their musical heroes together with Mark O’Connor, Kevin Burke, Hanneke Cassel, and Jeremy Kittel. Working with Ricky Skaggs will probably be an experience that our younger Fiddlers gained’t quickly overlook. We at present perform a couple of tunes that he and Kentucky Thunder have recorded, and it is going to be a thrill to hear him play these stay, and to carry out a few of them alongside him!
Our Fiddlers are very excited for this chance. One among our senior class Fiddlers, Brady Farr, says ……..
‘Playing on stage with Ricky Skaggs is a once in a lifetime opportunity for me. It means so much to be able to play next to such an amazing bluegrass legend. I’m so grateful that the Saline Fiddlers Philharmonic are in a position to collaborate with such a prodigious artist, and I will keep in mind this experience and performance for the rest of my life.’”
Brady Farr is a 17-year-old violin player who has been a member for 4 years.
Brad Phillips supplies this footnote, a tribute to the founding father of the Saline Fiddlers Philharmonic …
“[Bob Phillips] was my teacher at Saline High School and remains an important mentor in my life today. While we’re not related, Bob and his family were very much like family to all of us in the group, whether we shared his last name or not.”
The Saline Fiddlers Philharmonic and Ricky Skaggs & Kentucky Thunder might be appearing at the historic Michigan Theater in Ann Arbor, in an Acoustic Routes Live shows presentation this coming Saturday, Might 25.
This brief video was prepared by Saline Fiddlers Philharmonic to help the promotion of this particular live performance ….
The live performance, a benefit for The Fiddlers, is likely one of the major events planned for their 25th-anniversary season.
The Saline Fiddlers Philharmonic, described as “America’s premier youth fiddling show band,” continues to be an integral part of the City of Saline and the broader Michigan group.
Its members are selected by means of aggressive auditions, based mostly on musical expertise and personal maturity. They stability teachers, sports, faculty organizations, church actions, jobs, and social lives with the demanding commitment to music that’s required for participation within the group.
They have more than 1,500 performances to their credit score, enjoying in the majority of the states of America, with milestones including three performances at the White Home; in 1997, 1998, and 2004; twice on the Millennium Stage on the Kennedy Middle; in addition to at a State of Michigan’s Presidential Inaugural Ball.
Additionally they performed Winter Getaway at the Macy’s Thanksgiving Parade in 2007.
Annual summer time excursions have spanned america and embrace performances in Canada and tours in Europe, including visits to Saline’s sister cities of Brecon, Wales, and Lindenberg, Germany.
Nevertheless, a lot of the 50-plus exhibits they perform annually are for group festivals, faculties, seniors, and veterans in Michigan, usually devoting a 3rd of their annual schedule to group service events.
This yr the group is touring Quebec, Ontario and upstate New York.
Saline Fiddlers Philharmonic has 4 CDs out there, three of that are by two associated groups, the Fiddlers Restrung (1) and the Saline Fiddlers (2).
Saline Fiddlers Philharmonic is a music schooling and efficiency group with IRS 501(c)(3) non-profit charitable designation. The group is supported by numerous hours of volunteer labour, scholar tuition, gross sales of recordings, charges for performing, and donations from its many dedicated fans.