Eric Christopher – Fiddle Instructor – St. Paul, Minnesota
For the last twenty years, Eric has worked as a fiddler-for-hire in Minnesota and around the country, performing, recording and/or touring with dozens of bluegrass, Americana and alternative country acts, including bluegrass legends James King and Alan Munde as well as a range of local and national Americana artists including Bellwether, Tina Schlieske, Dana Thompson, Eliza Blue and Vic Chesnutt.
In 2011, Eric received a Minnesota State Arts Board grant to record a cross-genre collection of tunes gathered from Upper Midwestern fiddlers, which was released in the spring of 2012. On “In the Quiet Night: Fiddle Tunes from the Upper Midwest,” he had the joy of working with some of his favorite musicians, including the phenomenal guitarist Dean Magraw, vocalist and longtime collaborator Dana Thompson and a couple of his bandmates from The High 48s, Anthony Ihrig and Marty Marrone.
In addition to keeping up a busy performance schedule, Eric gives private fiddle, violin (Suzuki and traditional), and mandolin lessons out of his studio in Saint Paul and leads bluegrass fiddle workshops for all ages and levels of experience.
Jane Cory – Fiddle Instructor – Winnipeg, Manitoba
Jane began classical violin lessons at the age of five, and discovered fiddle music at the age of seven. She has gone on to perform at countless events with styles such as Old Time, Celtic, French Canadian, Métis, Ottawa Valley, Jazz, and Bluegrass.
Jane has collaborated on several studio albums, and in 2014 released her first solo album Road Between the Saints. Along with her busy teaching and performing schedule, she has also competed in numerous competitions across Canada. In 2018, Jane became the second Manitoban to win first place at the Canadian Grand Masters Fiddling Competition, the most prestigious fiddle competition in the country. Jane graduated in 2018 with a Bachelor of Music performance degree.
Jim Tengesdal – Fiddle Instructor & IOTFC Judge – Minot, North Dakota
Jimmie Tengesdal began playing fiddle at the age of six. In his twenties, Jimmie competed in fiddle contests throughout the country and was inducted into the Fiddler’s Hall of Fame in Weiser, Idaho. Jimmie has been a judge at both the national fiddle contest in Weiser and the International Music Camp. In 2011, he was inducted into the International Music Camp Fiddler Hall of Fame. Not just a fiddler, Jimmie is also a classically trained violinist. He received his undergraduate degree in music education from Minot State University and a Master of Music Education from the University of Cincinnati College – Conservatory of Music. Jimmie has spent his entire teaching career in the Minot Public School system where he has built an outstanding orchestra program. He also maintains a studio of private students which allows him the opportunity to share his passion for fiddling. Jimmie’s other passion is bows and instruments. When not busy teaching, you may find him out in his workshop making his latest instrument or repairing an instrument or bow.
Anthony Ihrig – Banjo Instructor – Minneapolis, Minnesota
Anthony is a former drummer who brought his rock-solid timing to the banjo and helped form the Midwestern newgrass band Free Range Pickin’. His unique melodic banjo style and songwriting skills have helped earn him radio play in Nashville and a review in Bluegrass Unlimited.
In early 2012, Anthony released a solo album entitled Missing Ghosts, an all-original “Newgrass” record featuring the High 48s Eric Christopher on the fiddle.
Mike Hedding – Guitar/Mandolin Instructor – Minneapolis, Minnesota
Mike Hedding has been a staple of the Minnesota bluegrass scene for the better part of a decade. He first started playing mandolin in 2005 while he was studying at the University of Minnesota. He had been listening to classic rock and jam bands for years, but started to develop his taste for bluegrass while learning the mandolin. He quickly decided he needed to widen his talents and picked up the banjo.
His whirlwind introduction into the genre soon found him in the field of teaching. He started teaching mandolin and banjo in 2009 and now teaches mandolin, banjo, bass, and guitar full-time. He has been studying Monroe-style mandolin with mandolin master Mike Compton since 2012 and remains self-taught on the banjo, utilizing classic bluegrass recordings and books to hone his craft.
Rich Casey – Bass Instructor – Stockholm, Wisconsin
Rich is a musical man about town who, in addition to providing a solid musical foundation to the High 48s’ hard‐driving bluegrass sound, keeps a busy performance schedule lending his doghouse skills to a wide range of musical situations.
Mat Reimer – Contest Accompanist – Lorette, Manitoba
Mathieu Reimer began piano lessons at the age of 6. His older siblings being fiddlers, he began accompanying them with the family band in 2009. He also accompanied them in competition for several years before becoming an official accompanist 5 years ago, having accompanied at the Festival du Voyageur Fiddle Contest, the Brandon Winter Fair contest, as well as the Ron King Memorial in Meadow Lea, Manitoba. He is looking forward to the 2019 International Peace Garden’s Old Time Fiddlers contest, this being his 4th year as piano accompanist.