Ashley Grebe joins SFP as Artistic Director

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.