Sarah graduated Magna Cum Laude with a B.M. in violin performance from Grand Valley State University. At GVSU, Sarah studied classical music under the leadership of Gregory Maytan (graduate of the Jacobs School of Music) and Megan Crawford. Prior to that she received training under Erica Michaud and Carla Trynchuk (graduate of the Juilliard School of Music and former student of Dorothy Delay), head of the strings department at Andrews University. Sarah studied jazz performance under professors Michael Drost (graduate of Western Michigan University), Kurt Ellenberger, and Tim Froncek at GVSU.
Sarah competed in the Berrien Springs Fiddle Fest, winning first and second prizes on numerous occasions. She also performed in the Michigan State Championship Old Time Fiddler’s Contest, receiving various prizes. In 2015, Sarah placed first in GVSU’s Concerto Competition, soloing the first movement of Jean Sibelius’ Concerto in D minor with the Grand Valley State University Orchestra. In the summer of 2016, she was hired to assist in the premiere of several new works composed for the GVSU New Music Ensemble National Parks Tour. Sarah performed with the ensemble in Badlands National Park, Wind Cave National Park, Yellowstone National Park, and Grand Tetons National Park.
She has served in various orchestras, including the Andrews University Orchestra, Grand Valley State University Orchestra, and the Battle Creek Symphony. Sarah served as principal first, principal second, and co-concertmaster in the GVSU orchestra. She has been involved in several violin master classes, performing for Stephen Shipps, Elizabeth Holowell, Walter Verdher, Philip Greenberg, Felix Olschofka, Jonathan Sturm, and Kia-Hui Tan. Sarah also performed in an orchestra master class with Maestro Herbert Blomstedt. She has attended a variety of violin camps and conferences, including the Starling-Delay Symposium, Mark O’Conner Fiddle Camp, and Leahy Music Camp. She has also attended several violin master classes, featuring Jennifer Koh, Roland and Almita Vamos, Ayako Yonetani, Ming Feng Hsin, Rudolf Haken, Renee Skerik, and Jeffrey Lastrapes.
Steve’s early years were spent growing up listening to music within the home. His father was a skilled big band clarinetist, performing in bands alongside the likes of Patty Page and Anita Bryant. It wasn’t long before Steve also discovered a love for music.
His early music training was on piano and cornet, playing in symphonic bands and other school related ensembles. In his early teens, however, he began picking up the guitar. After attending a variety of concerts, Steve was inspired by the musical abilities he had witnessed and began to deeply focus his attentions on the guitar. He drew motivation from listening to the music of the Yardbirds, Jimmy Page, Ted Nugent and the Amboy Dukes, Eric Clapton, Doyle Dykes, B.B. King, Phil Keaggy, Al Di Meola, Pat Metheny, the Outlaws, and many others. Steve began taking guitar lessons, receiving instruction through the Mel Bay guitar training series and in classical music.
He played in a variety of garage bands while growing up, eventually maturing into the local professional band scene. Steve has performed at many events and has served as guitarist on various church worship teams. Steve enjoys performing and listening to a vast array of genres, constantly engaged in expanding his musical prowess.