Back in August of 1994, Bob Phillips, the Fiddlers' founder, gathered 22 high school string musicians with one or two years of informal fiddling instruction. He asked them to consider forming a group with two primary goals: to learn traditional American fiddle music and perform for small audiences, thus perpetuating this rich, musical heritage.
Bob believed that the time was right to create an additional program for high school musicians; a program that would allow them to continue in their classical music studies during school and give them the opportunity to use their own time to discover, master and perform a style of music that has its roots in Saline's rural heritage as well as our country's history.
The response from these "Founding Fiddlers" was immediate and so positive that a uniquely student driven musical ensemble was born and flourished under the leadership of Bob and Pam Phillips. Upon the Phillips' retirement in July 2002, leadership of the group passed into the able hands of Ben Culver, himself an alumnus of the group. Under Ben's guidance the Fiddlers continued to expand their repertoire and polish their performance skills to a degree rarely seen in a student ensemble.
In the summer of 2013 the next chapter in the Saline Fiddlers' history began, as Ben Culver retired and passed the Artistic Director baton to Brad Phillips, a 2003 alumnus of the group. Brad's experience in performance, teaching, composing and arranging make him an ideal leader for the next generation of Saline Fiddlers.
Out of the volunteer efforts of many people the Saline Fiddlers has become a nationally acclaimed program that brings traditional American fiddle music to hundreds of people a year while serving as a model for other enterprising music teachers, across the nation, who are looking to expand the musical experiences of their students.
Take a minute to take a trip through history with the Fiddlers of yesterday and today.