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SHAR String Quartet Competition 2012 - Division 2

Posted by Guest Blogger on May 22, 2012 4:06:00 PM

SHAR Apprentice Megan Fedor shares videos from the first round of our 2012 String Quartet Competition. Watch below!

On April 15, 2012, twelve quartets came to SHAR to compete for a chance to prove that they are the best high school string quartet in Michigan. Michael Avsharian, Executive Vice President of SHAR Music; Kathleen Grimes, principal violist in the Ann Arbor Symphony; and Robert Reed, cello professor at Eastern Michigan University, acted as judges to help make this extremely difficult decision.

Divsion 2 Quartets:

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Topics: SHAR, String Quartet Competition 2012

SHAR String Quartet Competition 2012 - Division 1

Posted by Guest Blogger on May 21, 2012 10:53:00 AM

SHAR Apprentice Megan Fedor shares videos from the first round of our 2012 String Quartet Competition. Watch below!

On April 15, 2012, twelve quartets came to SHAR to compete for a chance to prove that they are the best high school string quartet in Michigan. Michael Avsharian, Executive Vice President of SHAR Music; Kathleen Grimes, principal violist in the Ann Arbor Symphony; and Robert Reed, cello professor at Eastern Michigan University, acted as judges to help make this extremely difficult decision.

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Topics: SHAR, String Quartet Competition 2012

SHAR String Quartet Competition 2012 - Overview

Posted by Guest Blogger on May 17, 2012 10:18:00 AM

SHAR Apprentice Megan Fedor describes our 2012 String Quartet Competition and presents the highlights in a snazzy video. Watch below!

April was an exciting month for us here at SHAR, hosting a Quartet Competition for Michigan high school string quartets! We had applicants from all over the state, representing a dozen high schools and youth orchestras. Quartets were divided into two divisions, depending on the size of their school orchestra program, and we able to choose their own repertoire.  Each quartet was competing for a chance to win a quartet of Presto Impulse Bows (worth approx. $2,500!), medals, and individual gift certificates to SHAR Music.

All quartets competed in front of the judges on April 15th, and were narrowed down into the top three finalists from each division.  These six quartets went on to compete in front of a live audience on April 16th, the winners were crowned, and these quartets performed their entire movement.

Watch below to see a preview of the competition—full videos are coming soon!

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Topics: SHAR, String Quartet Competition 2012

The SHAR Apprentice Program

Posted by Joseph Chapman on Apr 19, 2012 1:47:00 PM

In today's blog post, Alexandra Ostroff and Katie Thompson, two senior apprentices at SHAR, promote the SHAR Apprentice Program by sharing a little about their time here. Interested in applying? Scroll down to the bottom of this post for more details. 

Hi Alexandra! So, you're now a senior apprentice at SHAR, but what were you doing before? What has your time as an apprentice like here? Do you perfrom in town?  

I applied for the Apprentice Program upon earning my Master in Music from The University of Louisville in May 2008. I’d gone straight into my graduate work after I earned my Bachelor in Music from Baldwin Wallace College in 2006 and, needless to say, I was burnt out on school. As an apprentice I’ve had a few projects that I’ve worked on. I looked into carrying more orchestral excerpts, did a brief write up on the most popular method books here, blogged about a quartet with co-workers, helped co-ordinate the Sassmannshaus Workshop in the Showroom, and organized the Apprentice Ensemble’s outreach to local Michigan schools.  I’ve really enjoyed writing reviews for products and the monthly “Notes From An Apprentice” blog.

During my time working at SHAR, I have worked in several departments and helped out where I can. I enjoy working in the showroom. I have learned a lot about the many products available for violin and viola (my primary and secondary instruments) and even cello (which I couldn’t play to save my life). 

I’ve also carved a niche for myself here in Ann Arbor as a working musician. I took several auditions and sent my resume to the many Southeastern Michigan orchestras upon my arrival.  I’ve actively searched for playing and teaching opportunities in the area and have learned to balance them with my full-time position at SHAR.  

Hi Katie! You're also a senior apprentice. When did you first join the apprentice program? And how have you spent your time in it? 

I came into the program in Fall of 2010, after I finished my master’s degree. When I moved to Ann Arbor, I wasn’t sure of much. I didn’t know where I wanted to end up, just that I wanted to play the violin! While I’ve been here, I’ve clarified goals and learned important skills that will help me in my future endeavors. I’ve gained a lot of tools for understanding and helping people. I’ve worked on a number of projects, both on my own and with my colleagues here. I’ve met many wonderful musicians and teachers, both at the ASTA trade show I attended and here in Ann Arbor. Through my contacts, I’ve had the privilege of playing gigs in this area. Being in this program has helped me define what I want to do and has given me many tools to actually accomplish those dreams!

Are YOU graduating in May (or did you graduate in December 2011)? Are you not sure what path to take next?

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Topics: SHAR, SHAR Apprentice

SHAR's 3rd Annual String Quartet Competition

Posted by Alberta Barnes on Apr 17, 2012 11:50:00 AM

SHAR Music is proud to announce the winners of its third annual Quartet Competition!

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Topics: Violin, Parents, Education, Beethoven, Viola, SHAR, Cello, Auditions, High School, Classical Music, Chamber music, Dvorak, SHAR Apprentice, Schubert, Strings, String Community, Performance

Blog Survey

Posted by Alberta Barnes on Apr 10, 2012 11:12:00 AM

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Topics: SHAR

Meet Our Bloggers!

Posted by Joseph Chapman on Mar 16, 2012 3:08:00 PM

Alberta Barnes
is orignally from Boise, Idaho and began playing the violin at a young age. She continued her study of the violin at Lawrence University and graduated magna cum laude from the Conservatory of Music in 2009 with a degree in violin performance. While studying under the instruction of Wen-Lei Gu, Alberta also played in numerous chamber ensembles, local symphonies, and was  co-concertmaster of the Lawrence Symphony Orchestra. After finishing her undergraduate studies, she worked toward a master’s degree in theology at Franciscan University of Steubenville, briefly living in Rome and studying at the Pontificia Università San Tommaso. She is currently a SHAR Apprentice and lives in Ann Arbor, Michigan. She plays regularly at a local Italian restaurant and performs as a part of the SHAR Apprentice Ensemble.

Joseph Chapman was born in Charlotte, North Carolina. He attended the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill where he earned a B.A. in English and creative writing and the University of Virginia where he earned a Master of Fine Arts in poetry writing. Before joining the web department at SHAR, he taught writing part-time for the University of Virginia, the University of Michigan, and Semester at Sea. His honors include the Ann Williams Burrus Prize in Poetry (2005), a Henry Hoyns Fellowship (2005-2006), and an Academy of American Poets prize (2007). From 2007 to 2008, he served as poetry editor for Meridian magazine, and his poems and reviews have appeared or are forthcoming in Boston Review, The Cincinnati Review, Best American Poetry 2012, and elsewhere. He lives in Ann Arbor, Michigan with his wife Julia Hansen.

Nerissa Nields
has been a member of the legendary folk band The Nields since 1991. She has toured North America, been on major labels, shared stages with 10,000 Maniacs, Suzanne Vega, Indigo Girls, The Band, and James Taylor (to name a few), played to tens of thousands from stages all across the continent and has passionate fans all over the world. Between the Nields and her duo with sister Katryna Nields, she has made sixteen CDs. She is the author of three books, most recently All Together Singing in the Kitchen: Creative Ways to Make and Listen to Music as a Family (Shambhala/Roost Books 2011). With her sister Katryna, she is the co-creator of HooteNanny, early music programs for children 0-10 and their grown-ups, and HooteNanny Guitar, a program for parents to learn to play guitar with and for their children. She lives in Northampton, Massachusetts with her husband Tom and their two children. Photo by Sarah Prall. 

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Topics: SHAR, Blog

What's in a Name? Everything for SHAR's John Cheng Violins

Posted by Joe Chapman on Jan 25, 2012 9:48:00 AM

In this week's blog post, I quote from Romeo & Juliet and talk about the stink eye, Apple computers, and globalization. Then I share praise for our John Cheng line of violins from Strings Magazine. Intrigued? Read on.

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Topics: Violin, SHAR, John Cheng

Become a Guest Blogger for SHAR

Posted by Joe Chapman on Jan 17, 2012 12:46:00 PM

Your wildest dreams just came true: we're taking submissions for our blog. Write a blog entry for us and share tips and stories with other teachers, students, and musicians. Have your say. Speak your mind. But first check out the details below.

Call for Submissions:

We're excited about expanding our blog to include our readers and customers! As we increase our number of weekly blog entries, we'd like to read the entries that you want to see on our page. So, we're looking for entries between 500 and 1,000 words on any topic you think the string community would find useful and interesting. That said, here are some suggested topics:

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Topics: Parents, SHAR, String Community

Would Stephen Colbert Make Fun of SHAR's 50th Anniversary?

Posted by Joe Chapman on Jan 10, 2012 5:19:00 PM

SHAR is celebrating its 50th anniversary this year. I can't help but get all self-conscious about the celebrations and wonder how Stephen Colbert would respond to institutional birthdays. I also admit that SHAR is a good and decent company after all and probably deserves a birthday celebration.

With all the talk about Super PACs in the Republican primaries and the two-year anniversary of the Citizens United (2010) Supreme Court case coming up, I feel a little strange writing a blog about SHAR's 50th anniversary. Mainly, I guess, because we're celebrating the birthday of a company. (Are institutions people? Who should actually get the cake and presents?) I worry that Stephen Colbert, comedic genius and chief tormentor of the new Super PAC practice, might mock me. 

It's true. The two-year anniversary of the Citizens United case and its effects on the current political climate have got me thinking too much about the intricacies of SHAR's big 50th celebration. Here are my further questions: Is it weird to celebrate a company's birthday? Do companies have birthdays like real people? And, more importantly, can you hurt a company's feelings by not celebrating its birthday?

Of course, SHAR is not a person. It's a company that sells strings and string instruments to make a profit, and SHAR probably does not have feelings that can be hurt. That said, SHAR has done some things worth celebrating. It started out as a family business in 1962 -- in the basement of Michael Avsharian, Sr., the father of Charles Avsharian, the current CEO -- and has remained a family business since. And though SHAR does sell stuff, it doesn't just sell any type of stuff: it sells musical instruments, strings, sheet music, and all the accouterments and accessories necessary to making music. If most folks can agree that making music is one of the finest things in this world, then serving musicians and the teachers of those musicians is a good and decent mission for a company.

And to celebrate the SHAR's good and decent mission, we're releasing a video series that documents the company's history and its engagement with the string community. Mostly what comes across in this video series is SHAR's commitment to fine craftsmanship, education, and, especially, to musicians, whatever your age, level, or budget. One upcoming video episode will focus on our highly respected violin repair shop (the Henry Ford collection asked SHAR to work on their violins). Other episodes will highlight our deep commitment to the American String Teachers Association (ASTA) and school sales and rentals, with testimonials from the former president of ASTA and local high school teachers. Essentially, the point of all these videos is to show that for fifty years SHAR has provided quality goods to musicians throughout all the stages of their careers: from awkward middle school players to refined orchestra members.

(Excuse the brief self-awareness and pop-culture reference, but I wonder how Don Draper and Peggy Olson from Mad Men would write pithy ad copy for SHAR if Don and Peggy played up the stages-of-your-career angle. "We're there for you from string orchestra to symphony." "Make music. We'll worry about the rest." I could go on. If you're so inclined, leave a comment below with your own Don Draper and/or Peggy Olson ad copy for SHAR.

Anyway, all this is to say that SHAR is celebrating its 50th anniversary, and we're happy about it. It's tough to think of a company as a person, but maybe it's not so tough to think of SHAR as a group of folks with good intentions who are dedicated to music and music education. Check out our weekly videos here every Monday and raise a toast to fifty more years.     

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Topics: SHAR, String Community

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