Strings Galore is the next local performer set to hit the Music in the Park stage on June 21.
Performances in the series start at 6:30 p.m. on the Lacombe Memorial Centre’s Echo Stage.
“It was something that my mom wanted all of us children to do,” explained Strings Galore director Laurie Maetche of Lacombe’s Maetche Music Studio.
“I started on the piano, but I was always watching my other sister on the violin,” she recalled with a laugh. “I actually only lasted a year with piano!”
She embarked on training with Red Deer-based teacher Antoinette Stuppard.
“I was very fortunate to study with her and just to see her love of music and how she shared it. She had those different levels of orchestra to offer to her students and we also played in the community.”
Maetche was ultimately trained in classical music but was introduced to folk/fiddle music as a teen. As to her journey into teaching, she said it really started during her high school years when a neighbour asked her for lessons.
And it grew from there.
“When I was 40, I went back to school and received my Bachelor of Music. And it’s been great — it has really reinforced that I’ve been doing the right thing.
“It was nice for me also to go back as a mature adult and take the classes. It refreshed everything that I was doing, and it gave me a stronger commitment to the community and to my students,” she explained.
Teaching remains a key source of inspiration.
“Part of it is the group classes. I love hearing them because you have the different parts going on for a more complex sound.
“It’s also about seeing a student who had not been able to do something before, and now they can accomplish it. And it’s not just in music — I’ve had kids with learning challenges who have started with music and parents will come back and say, ‘The specialists say they can’t believe the improvement, and they figure it’s from the music.’”
Seeing those kinds of breakthroughs is inspiring, she added.
“For me, music isn’t just about the music — it’s seeing how the students grow, too. I’m a teacher who doesn’t only get to see them for one school year but for a length of time. Some of my students I have had from Kindergarten through to Grade 12. It’s so interesting to ‘grow’ with them and to pick music that will interest and motivate them, too.”
Of course, performing is an enormous part of the mix, too. That’s where Strings Galore comes in.
During their first performance at Music in the Park, Maetche decided to break things down and showcase different styles via different amalgamations of the group.
“We came up with the name Strings Galore because it’s classical, it’s fiddling, there are cellos and bases in there, too. We are trying to represent it all the best way we can.”
The different orchestras include The Singing Strings, which plays an eclectic mix of classics from Bach and Mozart to pop/rock tunes from the Beatles or Queen.
There are also The Techno Fiddlers and The Cats and the Fiddles.
“These groups combine to showcase our local history of family dances that were held at our local community halls and how music was and still is an integral part of our lives.
“It’s also multi-cultural and multi-generational.”
Meanwhile, Maetche is always exploring new music to try both for Strings Galore and her own artistic pursuits.
“A student will say they’ve found a wonderful thing, so I will Youtube it and often think, yes, this is really cool! I usually listen to music that I’m either going to perform so that I can get another perspective, or see what other people have done with it.
“Or I’m thinking I just need something fresh.”
Next up in the Music in the Park series, which is presented by the Lacombe Performing Arts Centre, is Memphis Mafia on June 28.