Ashley Grebe, Artistic Director at Saline Fiddlers
The Saline Fiddlers Philharmonic (SFP) has long been known as one of America’s premiere youth fiddling show bands. With alumni still playing all over the state of Michigan, the US, and internationally, SFP’s reputation is far-reaching. This year marks the 25th anniversary of the group’s founding by renowned music educator Bob Phillips. This season, the current group of Fiddlers is focusing locally, putting on community outreach shows in the Saline area.
In December, SFP performs annually at the VA Hospital Campus in Ann Arbor. The group starts by bringing an energetic show to the hospitalized veterans and their families in the main lobby area of the hospital; they then break into small groups to play in individual rooms and hospital wings for patients who aren’t able to leave their rooms. As one Fiddler student remarked after his first time playing at the VA, “You can really see how much light the music brings to them.”
In November, the Fiddlers took advantage of a day off of school and brought a workshop and show to the students at Daycroft School in Ann Arbor, MI. They worked with string students in grades 3-8, teaching them “Boil Them Cabbage Down” and “Oats and Peas and Beans”. They then performed a show of fiddle classics for the whole school of students in grades K-8.
SFP’s most recent show was a collaboration with Ann Arbor Community for Traditional Music and Dance (AACTMAD.org). This is the third annual collaborative event between the two groups that they call “Concert and Contra”. The Fiddlers performed a short set of their own and then cleared the floor of Concourse Hall in Ann Arbor for a massive contra dance. A dance band of SFP alumni took the stage while the Fiddlers joined the dancers on the floor. Then, for a special collaboration, the Fiddlers joined the dance band for three tunes. This collaborative event provides an opportunity young folk musicians and members of the community to meet and share their enjoyment of folk music and dancing.
To celebrate their 25th year, SFP is hosting a special Hometown concert on February 9th that will feature these talented young fiddlers as well as many alumni. The show will feature a set by SFP alum Jeremy Kittel, Grammy nominated fiddler and composer.
And, on May 25th, SFP and Acoustic Routes will host a benefit concert for the group with Ricky Skaggs and Kentucky Thunder at the Michigan Theater.
Details on upcoming events and appearances at www.salinefiddlers.com.