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23 October 2012

Young Artist Spotlight: Strawberry Hill Fiddlers

The Strawberry Hill Fiddlers are a group of fiddling teenagers from various high schools in and around Dutchess County, New York.  Directed by Emily Schaad and Carole Schaad, the group has been evolving since 1999. The Fiddlers are now part of Stringendo, Inc., a 501(c)3 non-profit community music school. The group performs traditional music from across the world, and are known to sing, dance, improvise, and solo throughout their shows.  They have visited Burlington as concert performers and contestants at the annual Young Tradition Weekend in Burlington, and recently completed a tour of Northumberland in England, hosted by the Northumberland Ranters.

The Fiddlers meet weekly to learn and rehearse a diverse repertoire of fiddle tunes from many cultures around the world. They experiment with harmonies, improvisation and arrangements, and develop their skills in private workshops with renowned guest artists such as Jay Ungar, Ruth Ungar, Bruce Molsky and Darol Anger. They have shared concert stages with Jay Ungar and Molly Mason, Alasdair Fraser and Natalie Haas, and Natalie MacMaster.

The group draws developing talent from Summer Strings day camp, created in 1997 by Carole, Emily and Jonathan Handman in Poughkeepsie to bring together students from all backgrounds, both to experience orchestral music and to learn traditional fiddle music by ear. Committed to community service, they perform frequently for church groups, nursing homes and in benefit concerts. They have performed as one of just four groups invited to the annual convention of the American String Teachers Association in Kansas City, and have toured to Scotland and throughout the country.