The Violin Society of America 2013 Scholarship recipients
ViolinMaking School of America, Salt Lake City, Utah www.vmsa.net
Stephen Sherman: Stephen Sherman grew up in Wildwood, Missouri, and started playing the violin at a young age. He began studing woodworking in high school. "Out of my very large family of 8, I am the only one who has stayed musically inclined."
Stephen started at the VMSA in September of 2010 and is looking forward to beginning his graduation work. He is on track to graduate in May of 2014.
"The VSA scholarship has helped to finish the final portion of my school work and has relieved some stress in the process. For that I am very thankful. I love what the school has given me and I’m now ready to use it in the real world. Thanks to all who support the VSA!"
Andrew Moore: Andrew Moore is from McKinney, Texas and started school in March 2011. He is currently working on his last violin, and will soon begin varnish and setup, and is expected to graduate in May of 2014.
"Growing up in music was a one of the most central and enriching parts of life. I've participated in orchestras and chamber groups playing cello; recorded and performed in a band on guitar; and worked as a Audio Engineer. I now look forward to putting music into peoples hands through the craft of instrument making. My father has been essential in providing this opportunity for me." Since beginning school he has developed two separate types of cancer. This scholarship helps with the financial difficulties that have arisen. I greatly appreciate the VSA for the scholarship as I am working towards to finishing the school program."
"To the Violin Society of America, thank you for your support and generosity. Your commitment to the development of craftsmanship and the growing community of makers is greatly appreciated."
Elizabeth Clarke: Elizabeth Clarke started school at the Violin Making School of America at the beginning of October 2011. Now a second year student, she soon will be closing the box on her fourth violin.
"I started playing the violin when I was 4 years old and have loved it ever since. I first became interested in violinmaking in my first year of college. I've loved every second of the learning the process of violinmaking. My dream is to repair violins as a career. This scholarship has been a big help in aquiring some of the much needed (and expensive) tools of the profession, and I'm very grateful to my wonderful teachers and the Violin Society of America."
Dustin Fagg: Dustin Fagg started at VMSA in March of 2012. Originally from Deltona, FL, Dustin previously worked in construction. The skills learned as a tradesman have not only helped in his studies, but also helped with improvements around the school, which included assembling VMSA's massive new light box.
"I’m currently working on my cello rib structure and will graduate in May of 2014. I am immensly grateful for the scholarship. It has allowed me to attend
summer classes and purchase much needed tools."
Melissa Collins: Melissa Collins proudly hails from Portland Oregon and started at VMSA in October 2010. Currently finishing last violin and beginning varnish, she is expected to graduate May 2014.
"Thank you so much for the scholarship this year. It helps so much and is allowing me to make final tool purchases as I prepare to complete my graduation work. Thank you for your continued support of violinmaking students."
Chicago School of Violin Making, Skokie, IL
Greg Jablonski: A retired National Park Service employee and avid Irish music fan, Greg is currently in his second year at CSVM and hails from Franklin, Wisconsin.
Drew Harding: Drew, from Aurora, Illinois, completed the violin repair program at Minnesota State College Southeast Technical, and is currently in his second year at CSVM. He continues guitar/violin repair and making in his free time.
Michael Jackson: Michael, originally from Wyoming, traveled extensively before beginning his studies at CSVM. He will graduate in 2013.
Scott Albert: Scott is a retired Air Force First Sargeant who is currently completing his final year of study at CSVM. A VSA judge's scribe in 2012, Scott also attended the recent Oberlin Violin Making workshop as an intern.
Michael Fazio: Michael is an accomplished musician originally from Washington state. He is currently in his second year at CSVM and is working on his first cello.
North Bennett Street School, Boston, MA
Minnesota State College – Southeast Technical, Red Wing, MN
Stefan Rieck: Studying under Lisbeth Butler, John Reed and Ute Zahn, Stephen Rieck graduated in 2013 with high honors from the violin repair and construction course at Southeast Technical in Red Wing, Minnesota. After leaving Minnesota he moved back to Sioux Falls, South Dakota to start work in an established luthier shop, String Theory Luthiery.
Stefan has a lifelong passion for wood working, and was steered toward luthiery with help from his brother Josh Rieck, also a graduate of the Southeast Technical program in Red Wing. Stefan’s desire to repair and create long lasting, beautiful instruments drives him to succeed in his new found career.
Stefan would like to express his thanks to the VSA for the generous scholarship.
Brandi Oviedo is a 2013 graduate of the Violin Repair Program at Southeast Technical in Red Wing, MN. In addition to the completing the Violin Repair Diploma, she took an additional class in Violin Construction, where she built a violin by hand – “mostly by hand, the old-fashioned way.”
Since 2009, Brandi has worked at Ray's Midbell Music in Sioux City, Iowa teaching piano, violin, cello, and guitar. Following graduation, she will now be responsible for maintaining and servicing orchestra instruments rented and sold by Ray's Midbell Music.
Brandi holds a B.M. degree in music education and a B.S. in psychology from the University of South Dakota, where she studied cello with Richard Rognstad, Nick Curry, and Marie-Elaine Gagnon. She performs with many area groups including the Sioux City Symphony, Sioux City's Rockestra, Wayne State College Orchestra, and the Rose Quartet.
Sarah Bystrom is from Ellsworth, Wisconsin and first began playing classical violin when she was 10. “At the age of 12, I had the opportunity take lesson from John Reed, who opened my eyes to Celtic and bluegrass fiddling, and I loved it!” she says. She began building her first violin at the age of 14, working in John Reed’s studio. By the age of 18, Sarah had already completed two violins under his consistent and encouraging teaching efforts. She had also earned the Violin Repair Diploma from Southeast Technical, crediting the help of her college instructors, Lisbeth Nelson Butler and John Reed.
Three weeks after graduating, Sarah moved to Nashville, TN where she now works as the bow specialist at Williams Fine Violins as well as in instrument repair and set-up. She is excited to continue learning and growing in her violin building interests with the help of shop owner Dustin Williams.