Coast to Coast to Coast Fiddle Instructors to Teach at Strings Across The Sky Fiddle School

July 16th, 2003

August 6-15, Yellowknife, NWT. Six Canadian fiddlers dedicated to teaching this lively art to northern youth will be volunteering their time and talent at the Third Strings Across The Sky Fiddle School to be held this year in Yellowknife August 6-15. Student classes will be held August 6th through August 12th and teacher training, an opportunity for accomplished youth to learn to teach, will be held August 13 through August 15th. The instructors cover a wide range of fiddle experience. The camp will culminate in a public outdoor concert to be held the evening of August 11.

Andrea Hansen, C.M. is a retired violinist from the Toronto Symphony Orchestra and co-founder and Musical Director of Strings Across the Sky (SATS). Since 1988, SATS has been working with youth in the Arctic, teaching students to fiddle (a fading art in the 1980s that is successfully being re-introduced by SATS). SATS teaching programs operate in 17 High Arctic communities and the organization has transported 150 donated violins to the north. In the fall of 2003 SATS students will begin performing with Canadian symphonies partnering with SATS in The Cross-Canada Fiddle Project. Please visit www.stringsacrossthesky.ca

Bob Bromley is a Yellowknifer who abandoned the fiddle for 35 years, but began playing again in 1996 after an inspiring visit to Cape Breton, Nova Scotia. He has attended fiddle camps in Cape Breton and California. Although he can read music, he plays and teaches by ear. For the past 4 years he has been a volunteer instructor for Strings Across the Sky in Yellowknife. He was an instructor at the Kole Crook Fiddle Camp held in Kole’s memory in Fort Smith this spring. Celtic music, especially Cape Breton style, is his love.

Helen Edgar grew up listening to fiddle music played by her father. Her Uncle taught her to play piano and to accompany a fiddler… Helen taught classroom music at the elementary and middle school for 15 years in New Brunswick. She was the intermediate band director for two years and played trombone in the community band. Helen has one recording to her credit “Family Tradition” and was backup piano for Claude Paget on his recording as well as Kole Crook. She has taught at fiddle camps and has done several piano workshops for accompanying fiddlers. Helen will be doing piano workshops for the Yellowknife Fiddle School. Helen also organizes a fiddle camp for Fiddles On The Tobique in New Brunswick. In 2003, the camp’s fourth year, enrolment doubled to 64 students.

Jamie Rokeby-Thomas has a Bachelor of Music from the University of Victoria; 10 years teaching experience; won numerous awards for composing & classical performances; placed at many fiddle contests; worked as Administrator at Acoustic Planet Music School on Salt Spring Island for 3 years; and, now runs her own music company (Salt Spring Musicworks). Musicworks offers private & group lessons in violin, piano, cello, composition, theory, & administration services. Jamie plays in two bands “Kettle of Fish” (Celtic) & “Sista” (Canadian).

Leslie Knowles is a native of Los Angeles. She began playing the violin at the age of four, becoming active in the professional music world there while still in her teens. Soon after moving to Baltimore in 1971 to further her studies with Berl Senofsky at the Peabody Conservatory, Leslie was invited to join the Baltimore Symphony, as it’s youngest member to that date. She continued her violin studies with renowned teacher Dorothy DeLay during that time until joining the Toronto Symphony Orchestra in 1975. In addition to playing in the first violin section of the Toronto Symphony Orchestra, Leslie’s other TSO related activities include performing on the TSO’s Evening Overtures chamber music series, working with young string players through the education department, and participation in the Adopt-a-Player Programme. Outside of the Toronto Symphony, Leslie is concertmaster of the Sinfony Players, the instrumental ensemble of the Mississauga Choral Society, and first violinist of the Riverdale String Quartet. Leslie is also an accomplished violist, often appearing in chamber ensembles playing both violin and viola. Leslie is the proud mother of five children. In her spare time, she enjoys camping, hiking, downhill skiing, golf, weight lifting, photography and travelling.

Nedd Kenney’s influences are as international as his travels on every continent except Antarctica. As a teenager he experimented with a range of stringed instrument techniques and construction and eventually apprenticed in wind instrument making. In 1992 he was invited to participate in the Museum of Civilizations National Exhibition entitled Opus: The Making of Musical Instruments in Canada. While researching in Oxford, UK, Nedd developed a musical partnership with the late Limerick fiddler Danny Lennihan. Nedd’s work has been recorded by the BBC with piper Kathryn Tickell. Nedd spent a year as Artist-in-Residence at Japan’s Canadian World Site. The Canadian Embassy supported his group Hardwood in presenting fiddle and dance performances across Japan.

Nedd is currently involved in rejuvenating northern fiddling in Cambridge Bay, Nunavut where the tones of the last elder fiddler who died a few years ago are beginning to resonate in the hearts of an awakening Inuit youth.

The Strings Across The Sky Fiddle School will provide instruction in ear training; fiddling; improvising; private violin classes; and keyboard and guitar chording for the fiddle. Cost to attend the camp is $250.00. For more information on attending the camp, or to receive an application form contact the Tree of Peace Friendship Centre at 867-873-2864.

The Fiddle School is organized by The Yellowknife Chapter of Strings Across The Sky, and generously supported by Canadian North, the Government of Northwest Territories (Municipal and Community Affairs), North Slave Metis Alliance, Osuuspankki Finnish (Toronto) Credit Union Ltd., Diavid Diamond Mines Inc and many small Yellowknife businesses.

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