The Brandywine Fiddlers, an ensemble from the Suzuki Academy at the Music School of Delaware, claimed top prize at the four-day Eclectic Strings Festival, a national competition held last month in Providence, Rhode Island. The winning category was a contest of both group and individual entrants and included age levels up to undergraduate college students.
The winning ensemble was invited to perform in concert during the Festival with renowned jazz violinist Randy Sabien and the Fiddlehead Band. “This is the first nationally recognized competition that the Brandywine Fiddlers have won,” says Shelley Beard Schleigh, the Music School’s Suzuki Academy Department Head and Brandywine Fiddlers Director. “We couldn’t be more proud of our students and the level of talent and musicality they consistently display.”
Kate Ransom, president and CEO of the Music School of Delaware, agrees. “Our goal has always been to bring this program into the national arena. This is no longer just a local collection of young musicians. We have students from across the tri-state area ranging from third grade through high school who participate in not just the Brandywine Fiddlers, but in all areas of the top-notch Suzuki Academy that Shelley has helped us to build.”
What’s next for the ensemble and the Academy as a whole? “Continue building – our name, our reputation, our excellence,” notes Schleigh. “We want the entire country to know about and celebrate the caliber of our musicians and our programs.” The Academy plans a trip to Europe for some of its students in mid-2014.
Founded in 1924, The Music School of Delaware reaches thousands of people from Delaware, Pennsylvania, New Jersey and Maryland through its instructional programs and 75 public performances each year. The Music School is the only nationally accredited program of its kind in Delaware and is the only statewide accredited community music school in the nation. The Music School offers standard-setting instructional programs for all ages including the Early Childhood program, Suzuki Academy, private study and ensembles. A faculty of nearly 100 expert artists and educators are among the best-trained musicians in the country. Open to all, the school administers a financial assistance program to help ensure music excellence for everyone, regardless of financial means. The Music School offers programs at branch locations in Wilmington and Milford and at over 25 satellite and outreach locations in Kent, Sussex and New Castle counties.