Last week, our signature education program Mozart Masters completed for the 2015-2016 school year. It was an amazing two weeks here at the pavilion for the rehearsals and concerts – but even more so, an amazing five months of mentorship and learning for the students (and the Strings staff, too! We can always learn new things). Here’s what happened:


credit Craig Daily Press

3     amazing music teachers in the Yampa Valley Schools: Jim Knapp, Mary Ann Fairlie, John Bolton

8  pizzas for hungry music students from Moffat County High School

8  songs performed by students with their mentors

7  songs were learned without sheet music!

10  professional musician mentors: Trout Steak Revival: Bevin Foley, Steve Foltz, Casey Houlihan, Will Koster, Travis McNamara;The Railsplitters: Christine King, Dusty Rider, Peter Sharpe, Lauren Stovall, Leslie Ziegler

2016_SSD_Emerald Mtn_219  workshops and rehearsals run by mentor musicians

25  videos sent by musicians to classrooms over five months

233  student musicians performed on the Strings stage

282  student musicians participated in workshops

400  students attended a field trip to watch their peers at the pavilion

741  Community Members watched the free concerts with student performances and countless school administrators supported this program!

It was an incredible five months of intense mentorship, learning bluegrass techniques and styles, and professional artistry in the classroom. Thank you, Trout Steak Revival and The Railsplitters, and a huge thank you to our supporters in the community! Stay tuned for next year.


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Posted on April 4, 2016
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Strings Outreach with Todo Mundo

By Katie Carroll
director of artistic administration and education

Can you remember the first time you fell in love with music? For me, it was the song “The Loco-Motion” when I was five years old. I just thought swinging my hips to music was an amazing discovery! Then I started piano lessons, and realized I could make my younger brother and sister dance around while I played. My musical taste has since evolved, and I’m lucky enough now to work at Strings Music Festival and plan our in-school music education programs (sorry, Grand Funk Railroad is not on the list).

Strings’ began working in the schools in earnest in 2007 by creating Strings School Days. After 8 years of working with over a dozen schools in three counties and more than 24,000 students …. we decided to go even bigger. After talking to teachers, parents, and school administrators, Strings School Days has expanded into the following three distinct, focused, music education programs.

Mozart Masters: Strings hires professional musicians to work with middle and high school students in Steamboat and Craig. This revamped program doubles the time students spend with professionals from previous years. Musicians mentor students in 6 workshops, correspond over social media, and ultimately play in a concert together at the pavilion during the course of one school year. This year, Trout Steak Revival and The Railsplitters will be mentoring our teen musicians. Mark your calendars for 3/17 and 3/23 to see these bluegrass bands perform with Routt and Moffat county students in the pavilion.

Tchaikovskys in Training: This brand-new concert series is for our youngest elementary school students before they choose an instrument. Students in grades K-5 will be invited to the pavilion at least once during the school year to see a 45-minute performance. Before they come, teachers and parents can help them prepare with “Musical Notes,” Strings’ debut educational pre-show concert guide.

Piazzolla Pioneers: If a school can’t come to the pavilion, we will come to the school. Moving forward, Strings will plan to visit schools in south and north Routt regularly throughout the school year. A couple of weeks ago, we brought Todo Mundo to Hayden and SOROCO for our first official Piazzolla concerts, and those guys blew the roof off of those places. There’s nothing like seeing kindergarten students get so excited by reggae that they start a dance party!

The entire Strings teams feels that it’s imperative we invest in music education in the schools, and as a non-profit, that means we must do it efficiently. Our Production Director works to book bands for evening concerts that also have vested interests in participating in Strings music education programs. Our Development Director finds grants and generous individual donors who believe in music education, and then we can afford to compensate those artists to stay longer and work with our students. I hope these opportunities encourage students to approach music the same way we all love our winter sports – with passion! It doesn’t matter if someone’s Olympic-bound or a regular Trailbuster on the weekends, as long as she’s happy. Not everyone will be the next Miles Davis or Bruce Springsteen, but we can still all love to sing along (especially to the Loco-Motion).

 Calendar of Upcoming Educational Events
October 26-30: Trout Steak Revival residency begins with high schools
November 2-6: The Railsplitters residency begins with middle schools
February: Grades 3-5 Field Trip to the Pavilion
March 14-18: Trout Steak Revival returns for second residency
March 21-25: The Railsplitters returns for second residency
March 17: Trout Steak Revival with SSHS, and MCHS
March 23: The Railsplitters with SSMS, and Emerald Mountain Orchestra

Upcoming Concerts at Strings Music Pavilion
November 5: The Railsplitters
December 20:  The Story Pirates
December 22: A Celtic Christmas
March 5: Del McCoury and David Grisman


Posted on October 27, 2015
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dbr strings school days

Steamboat Springs may be best known as Ski Town USA, but there’s more for youth to do than just Winter Sports Club. Music programs are gaining momentum in the schools and recently there have been more opportunities for students to get involved.

Music Opportunities in Northwest Colorado

On Monday, the Steamboat Springs High School choir performed at the Northwestern Vocal Large Group Festival at Moffat County High School. A total of seven high school choirs participated in the event from three counties in Northwest Colorado. The competition had two components: a performance of three prepared pieces and a sight reading portion, where the group had only five minutes to learn a new piece, without the help of the director. The choirs were judged on a five-point scale, with 1 being “superior” and 5 being “unprepared.” Steamboat rose to the top of the competition with an overall score of 2 being “excellent.” They also received a rating of 1 for the sight reading portion.

Next month, the wind and string players of Steamboat Springs and surrounding towns will have a chance to perform during the Strings School Days program. Professional violinist, composer and educator Daniel Bernard Roumain (DBR) will return for the final week of the program to perform with the groups during field trips for the schools and evening concerts for the community. There will be more than 10 workshops, field trips and concerts, and all of them are free and open to the public. If you’re interested in attending any of these performances, you can view the entire schedule here.

Benefits for Children in Music Programs

Children who play music benefit intellectually, socially and emotionally, according to the National Association of Music Merchants. Studies show that students who take music lessons have higher intelligence quotients and Critical Links: Learning in the Arts and Student Academic and Social Development finds that arts participation motivates students to stay in school. Playing music also assists students with forming bonds with peers and adults. In a study called Adolescents’ Expressed Meanings of Music In and Out of School students “described their music teachers as encouraging, motivating and acting as both role models and friends that can be trusted for listening and giving advice.” Students also connect better with schools that include music and show greater camaraderie, fewer fights and less racism, according to Arts With the Brain In Mind, Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development.

Music can be even more beneficial for students at rural schools, such as those in Northwest Colorado. Third Space: Why Learning Matters found that “arts programs helped schools in economically disadvantaged communities develop students’ critical-thinking and problem solving skills.” Children stand to gain many benefits from participating in music programs. More opportunities for our students to get involved in music both in and outside of school, mean that they have a better chance of taking away some of these important skills.

Posted on April 18, 2013
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Daniel Bernard Roumain

Daniel Bernard Roumain

This week Daniel Bernard Roumain visited eight different music classes in Steamboat Springs and Craig. Each class played a little bit of a piece they’ve been working on for him. The Steamboat Springs High School Jazz Band played “Cissy Strut” by The Meters. In the middle of this jazz standard, there is a jam session where a few different instruments get to take improv solos. Daniel grooved with the band on his violin, mixing his unique style with the jazz genre. One stringed instrument soloing with brass and horns in the background was a combination I had never heard before, online casino but Daniel made his violin sound almost like a guitar. In honor of the High School Jazz Band and the Strings School Days program, I chose Cissy Strut for the song of the week.




Posted on January 18, 2013
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“Education is not a passive act, it’s an aggressive act.” –Daniel Bernard Roumain (DBR)

Daniel Bernard Roumain

The last time Daniel was here, he encouraged everyone in the community to take an active role in learning, regardless of what age you may be. He interacted with 13 schools from three counties and over 2,000 teachers, parents, students and community members. We couldn’t wait for him to return and now the waiting is over.

Daniel is back this week to make music with a more intimate group. Over the next three days, he will visit the Steamboat Springs High School Jazz and Concert Bands, the Steamboat Springs Middle School 7th and 8th Grade Bands, the Emerald Mountain School Lower and Middle School Orchestras and the Heritage Christian School Combined Choirs. Each of these groups has chosen to play one of Daniel’s pieces from a work called Hip Hop Studies and Etudes.


Hip Hop Studies and Etudes

All of the famous composers, Bach, Chopin, Schumann, Mozart, wrote studies and etudes. In music, there are 24 different keys. The composer writes 24 etudes, one in each major and minor key, as a learning tool for the students. Completing the entire set gives the student experience with each key, so when they encounter it in a new piece, they are already familiar with it. Most music students, including myself, learn quickly that etudes are a lot of work, difficult to play correctly and most of the time, not very fun.

As a composer, Daniel set out to write a brand new series of etudes in a completely different genre – hip hop. Just like the famous composers, there are 24 pieces in his Hip Hop Studies and Etudes. If you’ve ever heard a classical etude, these hip hop etudes follow the same pattern. First a theme is introduced, then elaborated on, then varied and finally reintroduced. Although challenging and still requiring dedication and practice to perform, Daniel’s music certainly doesn’t sound like those of the famous classical composers.


In May, each music group will perform one piece from Hip Hop Studies and Etudes at a free community concert at the Strings Music Pavilion. But for the moment, Daniel is crafting the young musicians. In the workshops this week he is creating a space where music can be played loudly, alone, in small groups, together but not with each other, all to lead to a confident performance. If you would like to attend any of these workshops, please contact elissa@stringsmusicfestival.com.

Posted on January 14, 2013
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My favorite memory of Strings is…
Simon Boyar – 2011
“Watching all of the elementary kids bursting with energy, hands flying in the air hoping they will be one of the lucky ones to get picked by Simon Boyer to ask him a question, usually what his favorite band is or if he can play the Super Mario Brothers Theme!” –Summer Johnston
Simon Boyar was the Strings School Days featured musician in 2010 and 2011. The 2012 Strings School Days program concludes tonight with a free concert by Daniel Bernard Roumain (DBR) at the Strings Music Pavilion. Tickets will be available starting at 6:00pm. Doors open at 6:30pm and the concert starts at 7:00pm. No advanced ticket reservations.
Posted on May 11, 2012
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Strings School Days Field Trip 2011

This week, the youth music education outreach program Strings School Days returns to Northwest Colorado. Leading this two-year cycle is violinist, educator, and composer Daniel Bernard Roumain (DBR). During his time here, he will meet students from 11 schools at classroom visits and field trips.

Roumain will also work closely with music students, leading interactive sessions where students will experience music and instruments in new ways. Some of his musical experiments include manipulating tempos, walking while playing, and decomposing scores. Above all, Roumain strives to show students that they can be composers simply by making a few small changes. He empowers the students to take control of their music.

All Strings School Days events are free and open to the public. Check out the schedule below for details on when you can see DBR.

Strings School Days Schedule
Classroom Visits – Steamboat Springs, Oak Creek, Hayden, Craig
Monday, May 7
8:25-9:55am: Steamboat Springs High School (Concert Band)
10:45-11:30am: Steamboat Springs Middle School (8th Grade Band)
12:45-1:30pm: Christian Heritage School
2:45-3:30pm: Soroco High School and Middle School

Tuesday, May 8
8:25-9:55am: Steamboat Springs High School (Jazz Band)
1:50-3:20pm Steamboat Springs Middle School (7th Grade Band)

Wednesday, May 9
8:15-9:00am: Moffat County High School
10:00-10:45am: Hayden High School
1:45-2:35pm: Lowell Whiteman Primary School

Field Trips – Strings Music Pavilion
Thursday, May 10
10:15-11:00am: Strawberry Park, Soda Creek, and South Routt
1:00-1:45pm: Strawberry Park and Soda Creek Elementary Schools

Friday, May 11
10:00-10:45am: Steamboat Springs Middle and High Schools

Free Concert – Strings Music Pavilion
Friday, May 11 at 7:00pm
Tickets will be available Friday evening outside the Pavilion starting at 6:00pm and the doors open at 6:30pm. There are no advance ticket reservations.

Did you know that it costs $20 for one student to complete the two-year Strings School Days program? However, thanks to our generous supporters, all students and schools participate for absolutely no cost. To keep bringing music education programs to our youth, the Guild of Strings Music Festival is hosting the Light Up the Night Fundraiser. They will be accepting donations at DBR’s free community concert on May 11. Please consider sponsoring a student for one or two years with a $10 or $20 donation.

Posted on May 7, 2012
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My favorite memory of Strings is…

Alpin Hong – 2009

“Alpin Hong’s infectious love of music and Steamboat and Strings and his gracious manners as he visited with us.”
“Alpin Hong is a bright ray of sunshine wherever he appears!”
“Coming here when I was very young and being chosen to play on the stage with Alpin Hong. I love Steamboat.”

Alpin Hong was the Strings School Days featured musician in 2008 and 2009. Strings School Days returns next week May 7-11, 2012. Please join us for a free concert with Daniel Bernard Roumain (DBR) on May 11th at the Strings Music Pavilion. Tickets will be available starting at 6:00pm on May 11. Doors open at 6:30pm and the concert starts at 7:00pm. No advanced ticket reservations.

Posted on May 4, 2012
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“From rock clubs to symphony halls, the composer, musician, and performer Daniel Bernard Roumain seems unstoppable.”  -New York Sun

Daniel Bernard Roumain (DBR)

Before Daniel Bernard Roumain (DBR) was a nationally known violinist performing with Lady Gaga and Philip Glass, he started out as most of us do. Just trying to figure out who we are. While many musicians conform to set genre lines and follow the rules for their specific instrument, Roumain did the opposite. “What I set out to do was make the violin more reflective of who I am, and what I’m into,” Roumain told NPR 

Along the way he asked himself more questions: “Where does blackness come into play in the violin – and more than that, where does hip-hop come in?” The answers are in the music. So if you thought that the classical violin could never touch hip-hop, dance, and African rhythms, you’re about to be proven wrong.

Besides erasing genre lines, Roumain also challenges the inherent qualities of the violin. The violin is classified as a stringed instrument, where sound is generated from the vibration of strings across a soundboard or soundbox. But Roumain proves that the violin can also be a percussion instrument, where sound is generated by striking one object against another.

In the above video, Roumain states, “I feel it’s my responsibility and obligation to get out into the schools and talk about music.” The next schools Roumain will visit are those in Northwest Colorado. Roumain will act as Strings Music Festival’s Artist-in-Residence for the Strings School Days program through May of 2013. Next week, Roumain will visit schools in Steamboat Springs, Hayden, Oak Creek, and Craig and conduct field trips at the Strings Music Pavilion. During his time here he will meet students, introduce his unique approach to music, and guide music ensembles through a new learning process.

Live Music in Steamboat
Daniel Bernard Roumain (DBR) will perform a Free Concert at the Strings Music Pavilion on Friday, May 11th at 7:00pm. Tickets will be available Friday evening outside the Pavilion starting at 6:00pm and the doors open at 6:30pm. There are no advance ticket reservations.

Strings School Days Field Trips
Thurs, 5/10 – 10:15-11:00am: Strawberry Park, Soda Creek, and South Routt
Thurs, 5/10 – 1:00-1:45pm: Strawberry Park and Soda Creek Elementary Schools
Fri, 5/11 – 10:00-10:45am: Steamboat Springs Middle and High Schools

All field trips are held at the Strings Music Pavilion and are free and open to the public.

Posted on May 2, 2012
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Simon Boyar and Jim Knapp during Rehearsal

During the first week of May, Strings Music Festival brought marimba player Simon Boyar to Steamboat Springs to perform with eight local school groups. Over the course of the week, Simon rehearsed with each group at the schools and at the Strings Pavilion, where students took field trips to watch their peers perform. The program concluded with two nights of performances, just about filling the house with friends, family members, teachers and other supporters of young musicians.

Students Arriving at the Pavilion for Field Trips

But Strings School Days is more than just a weeklong event. In May of 2010, Simon met with all the groups. After getting a feel for each group, he decided to write original pieces specifically for the Christian Heritage Choir, the Lowell Whiteman Primary School String Orchestra, the 7th Grade Percussion Ensemble and the Yampa Valley Select Band. Simon visited Steamboat Springs again in January to see how the ensembles sounded and to give them notes for the May concerts.
At the shows, Simon expressed his gratitude that Steamboat Springs recently voted to keep the fifth grade band program, advocating that the arts are important for students’ development and experiences. Programs such as Strings School Days excite students about the arts, bonding them with a group of peers, motivating them to practice music for a World Premiere and giving them the chance to perform with a professional.
The students spoke positively about the experience, describing it as “special,” “cool” and “a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.”
“The students are inspired and boy has it transformed my percussionists! I know that you were really only here a short time but you made an incredible and lasting impact on our school!” –Band Director Jim Knapp to Simon Boyar
“What an opportunity for my students!   You brought an element to their performance that they have never experienced.   It was exciting for me and I can only imagine the impact on them!  They are still talking about it- of course.” – Strings Director Mary Anne Fairlie to Simon Boyar
Check out our links section on the side bar for photos and videos of Strings School Days.

Posted on May 17, 2011
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