An Extraordinary and Captivating Evening of Music, Song and Dance
with the Saline Fiddlers Philharmonic and The Ragbirds!
The Saline Fiddlers Philharmonic 2017 Hometown Show, titled “Route 66 Begins In Saline” will set the stage for the group’s upcoming summer tour across the USA on the historic path. The show will feature new music by the Fiddlers, then an exciting guest performance by another hometown favorite, The Ragbirds.
The Hometown Show will open with performances from the Saline Middle School fiddle clubs, and then the Saline Fiddlers will present their energetic and polished show that features a diverse range of music from American folk, fiddle, bluegrass, jazz, western swing, and Celtic traditions. Spirited vocals and Appalachian step dancing combine with the instrumentals to create an unforgettable live performance. After a short intermission, The Ragbirds will take the stage.
The Ragbirds began their musical career on the streets of downtown Ann Arbor and quickly earned a well-deserved local following. Since those early days, they have spread their style of music to 45 states to the tune of 150+ shows a year and have become festival favorites. They even invaded Japan with the international release of their album “Finally Almost Done” with the single “Book of Matches” reaching #1 on the charts in Osaka.
The Ragbirds describe their sound as “a fusion of folk rock and pop hooks over danceable world rhythms stirred with a Celtic fiddler’s bow.” They’ve developed a well-deserved reputation as one of the most dynamic, high-spirited live bands in roots music. The Fiddlers are excited and looking forward to sharing the stage with them! Check them out on their website: www.theragbirds.com.
The show will take place on Saturday, March 11, 2017 at 7:00 p.m. in the spacious and modern Ellen Ewing Performing Arts Center, Saline High School, 1300 Campus Parkway in Saline.
Tickets are $15 for adults and $10 for students. Specially priced tickets for Fiddler alumni are available. Fiddler alumni are asked to email to firstname.lastname@example.org for information about that. Ticket sales start at 6:00 p.m. with doors opening at 6:30 p.m.
Starting at 6:00 p.m., Shar will be in the lobby with their popular Instrument Petting Zoo. They will have many different stringed instruments and all future fiddlers are invited to pick one up and have a go at fiddling!
The Saline Fiddlers Philharmonic is excited to announce that Ashley Grebe has joined them as their new Artistic Director! Ashley will be following in a storied line of artistic directors that traces back to our founder, Bob Phillips, who began the Saline Fiddlers Philharmonic in 1994. SFP believes Ashley has the perfect blend of qualities to continue the tradition these leaders have begun.
Ashley is a native of Vernon Hills, IL. She completed her undergraduate degree in Music Education at DePaul University School of Music and promptly accepted a position in Glencoe, IL as Director of Orchestras. While there, she founded an extracurricular fiddle club for her students. They performed in the Irish and American styles of fiddling and enjoyed the departure from their usual classical repertoire. During that time, Ashley also performed as the fiddle player in an Irish rock band in Chicago, playing both traditional and contemporary Irish music.
In 2010, she took advantage of an opportunity to travel to Israel. While there she met her future husband, Rotem. This gave her an excuse to move to Israel and continue her education toward a masters degree. However, the program is in Hebrew – so she spent a year learning Hebrew before she enrolled at Tel Aviv University in Tel Aviv, Israel, graduating with a Master of Music Education in 2014.
While in Israel she taught hundreds of beginner and intermediate violin students forming several string orchestras. Her work with advanced players there included founding a world music ensemble which performed music from many different cultures, exposing the students to different styles including Irish, Latin, and Klezmer.
Ashley and Rotem moved to Ann Arbor just this past August. Rotem is also a musician, and the superior masters program in conducting that is offered by the University of Michigan School of Music brought them here. They love the Saline/Ann Arbor area and plan to make their home here. Ashley says, “It is almost unbelievable that we stumbled into an area with such a cohesive arts community. That is something I knew and loved from my home in Vernon Hills.”
The Saline Fiddlers Philharmonic was founded in 1994 by former Saline Schools orchestra director, Mr. Bob Phillips. Ashley was excited to meet Bob at the recent Michigan Music Conference. She introduced herself and said, “and by the way, I just applied for your old job with the Saline Fiddlers Philharmonic.” Bob told her that if she got the job, to give him a call and they will talk. She says she is looking forward to doing that soon.
Ashley has extensive experience teaching music and working with strings students both here in the US and in Israel. She says, “Since I was in 7th grade, I knew I wanted to teach.” She is very excited about joining the Fiddlers; she discussed this position with her old high school orchestra teacher in Illinois and he said he knew all about Bob Phillips and the Fiddlers! He told her they are an incredible group and encouraged her to go for it.
Ashley says her first order of business is to take stock of how things are going in the group; that she sees her style of leadership as a balance of visions: the 20+ year history of the Fiddlers, where they see themselves going as a group and her personal artistic vision. Preparing to record another album is also high on her list, which is another balance of time, schedules and artistic vision.
Ashley is also an artist (check out her Etsy store, AshleyGrebeArt). She says, “It was a hard choice – to pursue music or art; luckily I get to do a bit of both!” In addition to her art, she teaches part time at Hillel Day School of Metro Detroit and The Maria Montessori Center in Farmington Hills. And now she will also be spending quality time with her new Fiddler family!
The annual Spring Hometown Show is Saturday, April 16, 2016 in the Saline High School auditorium at 7:00 p.m. The Fiddlers will be joined by the 6th Grade and Middle School Fiddle Clubs and other special guest artists. Ashley has been rehearsing and traveling with the Fiddlers for several weeks, but the hometown show will be her first real exposure to the Saline community. Ashley says, “I am excited to be a part of something that has so much meaning to the community and looking forward to meeting so many people that care about the Fiddlers.”
The Chordial is the Saline Fiddlers Philharmonic’s main fundraiser of the year. It was first envisioned by former Chair of the Board of Directors, Becky Pazkowski in 2008 when former Executive Director, Will Warner announced that funds were short to finish out the year. In Will’s words:
“In Becky’s first year as Chair of the Board, I had to report some depressing budgetary projections. As I was laying out the options for cutting spending, Becky said, “…or, we could raise more money!” Her enthusiasm and her credentials led me to suspend skepticism while she proposed a special fundraising event that we all now know as The Chordial. Even better, she was stepping up to lead the effort to make it happen, and happen it did. Its success rescued the budget that year, and this annual gala has become indispensable in maintaining the Fiddlers as a going concern.”
Now, 9 years later, using Becky’s vision as guidance, the Chordial has grown and become a much anticipated evening to which invitations are eagerly sought. It is an elegant evening of beautiful flowers, creative and delicious food that is themed by the region the summer tour is going, a fun silent auction filled with imaginative items, a local celebrity emcee to keep the event flowing and of course, musical entertainment from the world renowned Saline Fiddlers Philharmonic.
The event this year will be Wednesday, March 23 at 7:00 p.m. The LaFontaine dealership on Michigan Avenue in Saline will once again graciously empty their showroom to provide a spacious venue with excellent acoustics and off we go! It will be a wonderful evening that everyone will enjoy and talk about – and the funds will be raised to help continue this great group of kids and volunteers that we know as the Saline Fiddlers Philharmonic.
If you would like more information or an invitation to this event, please send an email to email@example.com.
On February 6 Saline Fiddlers Philharmonic (SFP) and the Ann Arbor Community for Traditional Music and Dance (AACTMAD) will host a SFP concert followed by a contra dance. Come for the Music, Stay for the Dance!
If you live in the area, please join us for an exciting evening. But even if you are far away, we wish to share the origin of this event because it represents a new collaboration between our youth fiddlers and the large, local community of traditional musicians and dancers.
Sheila Graziano, SFP dance instructor, has worked with the Fiddlers for the past two decades, and has been involved in the traditional music and dance scene twice as long. Sheila tells us, “It’s a fact that the best way to pass along cultural traditions is in person, dancer to dancer, musician to musician, artist to artist.”
Many former Fiddlers have kept their music and dance skills relevant in their adult lives. At the same time, Sheila says, as she has witnessed the aging of the local dance community, “it’s been heartwarming to see how music and dance remain a priority in the lives of those who are involved in the scene, and how [these activities] help keep us in shape, our minds sharp, and our social lives vibrant.”
But the fact remains that, while there are certainly some younger dancers in the area, most of the AACTMAD community is middle aged or older. The group tries to reach out to college students and young adults, but it’s been tough to draw them into the AACTMAD family.
Sheila explains, “The Fiddlers spend a lot of their high school years learning arranged music and choreographed dances for their performances, and rarely have the time or opportunities to explore the roots of the music they play and the dances they dance.” As a result, the strong link between the music and the dance is rarely drawn for them. “The fact that participatory dance and music can be part of life forever is probably an abstract concept to teenagers! They are so primed for performance that the “folk” aspect of it is lost.”
We are very fortunate to have both SFP and AACTMAD in our community. This is a unique situation which simply begs for the groups to be united, for personal relationships to be built. AACTMAD needs the youth, and Fiddlers need education and experience!
We are hoping that the Contra Dance will be a wonderful introduction for the kids in a “safe” environment—with their friends surrounding them—rather than expecting them to venture out on their own on a Saturday night to a new and unfamiliar environment.
Sheila says, “I’m a communitarian—I LOVE to bring people together in ways that benefit everyone. I just can’t believe it’s taken this long to put an event together!” We thank you, Sheila, for organizing this fantastic event, and for sharing your love of traditional dance with our Fiddlers for over twenty years.
with the Saline Fiddlers Philharmonic and the Ann Arbor Community for Traditional Music and Dance.
Saturday, February 6, 7:00 p.m.
The Concourse Hall, 4531 Concourse Drive, Ann Arbor, 48108 (map)
Come for the show, stay for the dance. The Saline Fiddlers Philharmonic will begin the evening with a lively show of fiddle music; then special guests, Bowhunter and caller Michael Hamilton will take over and lead everyone in a contra dance.
Michael Hamilton stepped off the dance floor and behind the microphone in 2008. He is a mainstay caller in the northeast Ohio dance communities and beyond. Michael shares the joy of the dance floor by presenting dances with poise and direct simplicity, while maintaining a flexibility and patience to match the abilities of his dancers.
Bowhunter is a Michigan-based square dance band formed from the driving rhythmic and melodic forces of fiddle, banjo, and guitar. Bowhunter renders old time tunes to fuel a traditional dance floor frenzy. The group sprang from the Square Dance Kalamazoo scene, a monthly old time music & dance series that the band mates co-founded with other local dancers and players.
This is a first time collaboration between SFP and AACTMAD. No dance experience is necessary – just come to enjoy the music and have fun! (please bring a pair of clean soled shoes for dancing).
Tickets will be sold at the door. Admission is $10.00 for adults, $9.00 for AACTMAD Members (www.aactmad.org) and $5 for students.
“We consider the man who can fiddle all through one of those Virginia reels without losing his grip, may be depended upon in any kind of emergency,” said the writer and unrivaled wit Mark Twain. While hopefully the Saline Fiddlers Philharmonic won’t need to address any emergencies, there’s no doubt that they’re an incredible group of kids, talented in many areas, while drawing crowds locally and nationally—and even internationally—for their music, dancing, and contagious ability to have a great time. Click here to read the full article.
The Opera House at Booth Bay, Maine has been asking the Saline Fiddlers Philharmonic to return to their venue every year since their tremendously successful inaugural visit in 2008. That return visit will finally happen on June 30th when the group returns to New England during their 2015 Northeastern Waters Summer Tour.