four young men holding string instruments
Madeline Island Chamber Music

MacPhail on Madeline Island: Adult Strings Retreat

Date: Sat Aug 05 2023

Time: 4:00 PM

Location: Madeline Island

Saturday, August 5 through Tuesday, August 8, 2023

Registration deadline: Wednesday June 21, 2023

Financial Aid is available.

Are you an adult string player and a nature enthusiast? Yes? Then the Adult Strings Retreat on Madeline Island is for you!

During this retreat, adult recreational string players will have the opportunity to work with MacPhail’s outstanding string faculty members, connect with other adult students, and commune with the natural beauty of Madeline Island.

MacPhail on Madeline Island Practice Cottage

You may choose from one of two tracks:

1) Chamber Music for Intermediate and Advanced Players– Participants will be paired with other ensemble members to work on string chamber repertoire.

  • Participants interested in the Chamber Music track should submit a recent audio or video recording of their playing so ensembles can be arranged according to playing ability.
  • Please include a recording of the participant playing 1 3-octave scale of their choice.
  • You may submit a video or audio recording:

2) String Orchestra, for Beginning and Intermediate Players– Participants will rehearse string orchestra repertoire with a conductor.

  • Participants interested in the String Orchestra will automatically be placed in a string ensemble.
  • Track two String Orchestra participants do not need to submit an audio/video recording.

Repertoire will be determined before the retreat, and all participants will be notified beforehand. Participants should practice their parts to the best of their ability and be ready for rehearsals.

A small, low-pressure “share-formance” will conclude the retreat.

String Retreat Faculty

Ashley Ng

Headshot of Ashley Ng. She has short black hair and is holding a violin.
Ashley Ng, string orchestra

Dr. Ashley Ng, Minnesota violinist, is a freelance musician and music teacher based in the Twin Cities.

Serving as the Associate Principal Second Violinist with the South Dakota Symphony Orchestra and Concertmaster of the Minnetonka Symphony Orchestra, Ashley enjoys performing in orchestral and chamber music ensembles throughout the Midwest.

Ashley is a founding member and marketing director for the 10th Wave Chamber Collective, a new-music ensemble bringing contemporary classical music to a wider audience across the Twin Cities. Ashley is also a founding member of the Stone Arch String Quartet that enjoys performing for weddings and special events.

In addition to performing, Ashley is proud to be a faculty member of the MacPhail Center for Music where she began her musical studies as an 8-year-old. Ashley is involved both as a private teacher as well as working with group classes through MacPhail’s School Partnerships programs.

Jeremy Swider

Jeremy with a black bow tie and a white shirt
Jeremy Swider, chamber music coach

Jeremy Swider has been teaching violin and viola at MacPhail for the past 21 years. He enjoys teaching all ages, from 4 to adult. Other positions he holds at MacPhail include: teaching through Online School Partnerships, serving as Chamber Music Coordinator, and Adult Chamber Music Camps Lead Teacher.

From classical to pop, improvisation and fiddle techniques, Jeremy’s teaching style incorporates a fun, well-balanced mixture of traditional technical materials and exciting musical repertoire to help students quickly gain more confidence in performance or audition situations. He also likes to help students develop their artistry by learning to listen carefully to themselves and form their own musical aesthetics.

He performs regularly with his wife, violinist Krista Broadway Swider, as the Broadway-Swider Duo and as a member of the Sonorous String Quartet. Jeremy has been featured in the MacPhail Spotlight Series, performing with pianist Gail Olszewski. He can also be heard playing in his church’s worship team at Bethel Christian Fellowship in St. Paul. He is a former member of the Woodlands Symphony Orchestra and the Brazos Valley Symphony, both in Texas.

Joe Kaiser

Joe playing cello
Joe Kaiser, chamber music coach

Joe Kaiser has been teaching at MacPhail since 2002. He teaches cello and chamber music in the Individual Instruction, Group Instruction, Suzuki and School Partnerships programs. In every setting, be it a group class or a one on one lesson, Joe uses a highly engaging, fun, student-centered approach to his teaching. Additionally, he is an active chamber musician and freelance performer whose work has taken him from recording studios, to nightclubs to the many concert venues in the Twin Cities.

Joe received his Bachelor of Arts from the University of Minnesota.

Schedule

Saturday, Aug 5Sunday, Aug 6Monday, Aug 7Tuesday, Aug 8
7:30-8:30am
Breakfast
7:30-8:30am
Breakfast
7:30-8:30am
Breakfast
8:30-9:30am
Individual practice time
8:30-9:30am
Individual practice time
8:30-9:15am
Individual practice time
9:30-11:00am
Ensemble rehearsal
9:30-11:00am
Ensemble rehearsal
9:15-10:45am
Ensemble rehearsal
11:00am-12:00pm
Down time/Island time
11:00am-12:00pm
Down time/Island time
10:45-1:00pm
Lunch and personal time
12:00pm-1:00pm
Lunch
12:00pm-1:00pm
Lunch
1:00-2:00pm
Special topic: “The History of Stringed Instruments”
1:00-2:00pm
Special topic: Modern Scores, Techniques and Notation
2:00-2:45pm
Individual Practice Time
2:00-2:45pm
Individual Practice Time
2:00pm
“Share-formance”
4:00-5:00pm
Meet & Greet
2:45-4:15pm
Ensemble Rehearsal
2:45-4:15pm
Ensemble Rehearsal
5:00pm-6:00pm
Retreat Welcome and Overview
4:15-6:00pm
Down time/Island time
4:15-6:00pm
Down time/Island time
6:00-7:00pm
Dinner
6:00-7:00pm
Dinner
6:00-7:00pm
Dinner (off-site)
7:30pm
Fiddle Circle
7:30pm
Movie night: Composed
7:30pm
Outdoor Bonfire

Information

The deadline to register is Wednesday, June 21, 2023.

Ensemble pairings and string orchestra repertoire will be decided upon and sent out no less than two weeks before the start of the retreat.

Participants in the Chamber Music track should video record themself playing a piece or two that they feel represents their playing. Please also include a three-octave ascending and descending scale. Upload the video to YouTube (set to ‘unlisted’) and e-mail the YouTube link to Jeremy Swider, Chamber Music Coordinator, at swider.jeremy@macphail.org.

Participants in the String Orchestra track do not need to record a video.

A 100% refund will be issued if a written (or email) cancellation notice is confirmed as received before June 21, 2023. After June 21, 2023, no refunds will be issued.

The Adult Strings Retreat on Madeline Island seeks to provide a well-rounded educational experience centered around playing a string instrument. From individual practice time to rehearsal and coaching time to socializing, everything here is string-related in some way.

Special Topics. MacPhail faculty members will be giving two informational presentations about string instruments. The first topic is The History of String Instruments, giving a broad overview of the development of what we now know as string instruments. The second topic brings string instruments into modernity with a discussion titled, Modern Scores, Techniques, and Notation.

Evening Activities. There are two music-related evening activities planned: a Fiddle Circle and a Movie Night. The Fiddle Circle is a semi-improvisatory group music-making experience. Participants will be provided parts in advance ranging in difficulty from basic sustaining notes to more complicated melodies. The point is to help build community while playing an Irish jig or two. Movie Night will screen the documentary “Composed,” about performance anxiety in professional musicians. Even the best of them get nervous, but not everyone admits it. This enlightening documentary pulls back the curtain on performance anxiety, showing everyone gets nervous. A brief discussion led by the MacPhail faculty members will conclude the screening.

Island Time. There are many things to do on Madeline Island. From the main strip to the beaches and hiking trails, nature abounds on Madeline Island. During downtime, participants are welcome to explore the island independently. More information will be provided at the retreat about what to do and places to see on the island. We also recommend table tennis, finding a shady spot to read a great book, or play a game with new friends on the porch.

“Share-formance.” What would a retreat be without a proper ending? The concluding “Share-formance” is a wonderful, low-pressure way for participants to share the music they’ve learned during the retreat. This event will be live-streamed, so even folks on the mainland can share in the enjoyment as well.

 

Comfortable clothing (active wear, jacket/sweatshirt, comfortable shoes, & sun hat suggested. Extra shoes for hiking and swimsuit, if you would like to swim)

Performance clothing – Something that you feel good in, look good in, and shows us who you are on a great day!

Pajamas

Extra pillows and a cozy blanket if needed/desired.

Insect repellent

Sunglasses

Sunscreen

Phone charger

Water bottle

3-ring binder for handouts

Notebook & pencil/pen

printable packing list (PDF)

Boarding is available in the MacPhail on Madeline Island lodges. These buildings feature screened porches, lounges, and kitchenettes. Dorm rooms are shared between two students (limited private rooms are available for an additional fee) and are equipped with shelving, wardrobes, and air conditioning.  Lodges feature two levels – the second floor is accessible by stairway only, so please note any mobility limitations upon registration. Communal bathrooms on each floor have shared sinks outside the restroom area, and a walk-in shower, sink, and toilet that are housed in a separate room that is secured with a door.

Please note that there are 3 separate locations for activities. Dorms & practice rooms/small ensemble spaces are grouped in one location, and the dining hall and performance space are in separate locations. Transportation may be required between the various sites as they are not within walking distance of one another.

For more information about Madeline Island and to view photos of our facilities, please visit the Madeline Island Information page.

Participants are encouraged to provide their own transportation to Madeline Island. Participants are encouraged to carpool; MacPhail is willing to help facilitate sharing contact information with others who want to carpool. MacPhail will also provide a rental van to help transport students (and/or instruments) from Minneapolis to Madeline Island. Seating will be limited in the rental van. Parking is limited on the island, and there are ferry fees both per vehicle and passenger. Transportation between sites on the island may be necessary as they are not closely walkable.

For more information on Madeline Island, including location, transportation, and our facilities, visit the Madeline Island Information page.

Cost

All Inclusive (Includes classes, lodging, meals & activities): $1,150.00

Commuter Rate (Includes classes & activities only): $555.00

Programming + Food Package (includes classes & activities, plus meals): $1,000.00

Food & Lodging Only (limited spots available): $595.00

Private dorm room (limited spots available) $200.00

Transportation package* (includes round trip between MacPhail Center for Music and Madeline Island, plus transportation on the island during the institute): $200.00

*Participants choosing to provide their own transportation will incur all expenses, including the fee for the ferry.

Financial Aid

Financial assistance is available for this retreat. Financial Aid Information, Aid Grid, and Form

(Please disregard the deadlines listed on the form. It is the appropriate form to use for this retreat.)

For questions regarding our financial aid program, please contact Student Services at 612.321.0100.

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