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Strings Day

Eclectic Strings Day 2016

Saturday, March 19
8:30 a.m. – 3:30 p.m.
McNally Smith College of Music

Are you a violin, viola, cello or upright bass player interested in learning exciting new styles? Then join us on McNally Smith’s campus Saturday, March 19 for Eclectic Strings Day 2016!

Join jazz violinist Randy Sabien (Dept. Head, Strings), and other guest educators for a day of jamming, performing, listening and learning. Take advantage of this unique opportunity to learn from and play with renowned clinicians — you’ll even learn something new to play for the special end of day performance! At Eclectic Strings Day 2016, we will focus on Jazz, Bluegrass and Scandinavian fiddling.  (See clinicians below.)

Eclectic Strings Day 2016 is presented by McNally Smith College of Music in partnership with The Minnesota String and Orchestra Teachers Association.

Acoustic Electric Strings will be on site with a sampling of amplified instruments for attendees to try out. Gary Bartig, the local luthier behind the company, makes internationally respected instruments that are played by Michael Doucet, Matt Glaser, Darol Anger, Jeremy Kittel, and Brian Wicklund to name a few. Check them out on Facebook.

Register for Eclectic Strings DayREGISTER TODAY!

Who should come?
Violin, viola, cello or bass players in high school, middle school, college, or beyond.

Registration is $15/person and includes lunch. Group discounts are available.

More Info:
For more information, contact Erin Brueggemann at or 651-361-3383.

2016 Clinicians

Randy Sabien – Jazz Fiddle

Randy Sabien founded and chaired the jazz string department at Berklee College of Music, where he also performed with, and produced albums for, folk musician Jim Post (of the 1960s group Friend & Lover).  Randy Sabien is one of those rare string musicians to be hailed as both a violinist and a fiddler.  Sabien has been a frequent guest on “A Prairie Home Companion” and “Austin City Limits” and has toured the world playing in different styles and with many of music’s great stars.  Randy is also a highly-regarded educator and author of instructional texts.

Andy Carlson – Bluegrass

Andrew Carlson has performed as a soloist and as a chamber musician throughout the United States. Of his 1998 Merkin Hall performance the New York Times wrote, “Mr. Carlson is a demon fiddler and his performance here was serious and concentrated.” He has earned both a MM and BMUS from the University of Georgia and a DMA in Performance and Pedagogy from the University of Iowa. While earning his DMA, he was the recipient of the Iowa Performance Fellowship and the Pelzer Competition Fellowship. As a soloist he has performed with orchestras including The Columbus Symphony Orchestra, The Newark-Granville Symphony Orchestra, The Ohio State University Marching Band, The Huntington West Virginia Symphony, The Welsh Hills Symphony, The Land of Legend Philharmonic, and The University of Iowa Symphony. Andrew has studied with Leopold La Fosse and Thomas Joiner.

An active teacher, Andrew has previously served as a faculty member at Morehead State University and the Preucil School of Music. He has served as a faculty member at Suzuki institutes including Ithaca, NY, The University of Memphis, Capital University (Columbus, OH), and South Carolina (Furman University). Currently a Professor of Music at Denison University in Granville, Ohio, he teaches violin, conducts the chamber orchestra and directs the bluegrass ensemble. He also serves as the Concertmaster of the Newark-Granville Symphony Orchestra.

In addition to his experience as a classical violinist, Andy began learning traditional fiddle music from his grandfather at age 5. He has won numerous fiddle contests and has twice been named the Georgia State Champion Fiddler and was named the 2000 Ohio Grand Champion fiddler. His book entitled “A Guide to American Fiddling” has been published by Mel Bay Publishers, Inc. As a studio musician and string arranger he has recorded for Warner Bros., Atlantic, Elektra, Geffen, Polydor, and Capricorn and with artists including R.E.M., Nanci Griffith, Billy Bragg, and the Cowboy Junkies.

Cristina Seaborn – Scandinavian Fiddle

Expert at fiddling and jazz improvisation, Cristina holds a Bachelor of Music Degree in jazz violin performance from Berklee College of Music in Boston, and a Masters in Conducting for Orchestra, from St. Cloud State University. She has produced an instructional video for fiddling through Mel Bay’s entitled Anyone Can Play Country Fiddle, CDs entitledInside the Heart of a Musician, Seaborn Breeze, and Spirit Wind, and many arrangements for string orchestra of fiddle music, jazz, Celtic, Scandinavian, Cajun, and original.

Cristina is a violinist and fiddler with over thirty years of experience. In symphonies, quartets, jazz ensembles, and folk/rock bands, her musical background includes influences in classical, jazz, Celtic, bluegrass, and Texas swing fiddle.

Greg Byers – Jazz Cello

Greg started playing cello at 2 1/2 he has immersed himself in many branches of music, each cumulative aspect elevating the others: performance, composition, recording, education, entrepreneurship. His debut EPSome Dark, Beautiful Morning was orchestrated jazz fusion, but his newer work finds Greg as singer/songwriter; a nuanced interplay of natural and artificial, nature and technology. The language of music is unique in that it can provide every listener with similar yet distinct messages of truth, beauty, freedom; this has motivated Greg to express his own authenticity through precise songwriting and improvisation.

Greg attended University of Miami, where he convinced the school to allow him to create a new major in jazz cello. After working in the Miami music scene, Greg decided to explore opportunities in Los Angeles. LA taught the importance of viewing music from the perspective of not only the performer, but also the composer, music engineer, and business person, so he applied these skills to his debut EP Some Dark, Beautiful Morning. Greg attended McNally Smith College of Music, where he recently graduated with a Master of Performance.