The Short Version
I love Israeli food, Norwegian chocolate, and Jesus. And not necessarily in that order! When I’m not playing or teaching, you can find me hanging out with my family, studying Norwegian and Hebrew, and dreaming of all the ancient historical sights I have yet to visit.
The Longer Version
I started learning the violin when I was 7. It’s all my dad's fault that I got exposed to Scottish fiddling. He dragged us along to all sorts of Scottish festivals as his interest in our Scottish heritage grew. He started saying "Jo, one day, you are going to be a Scottish Fiddler." And I’d look back at him sternly and reply, "No, I am going to be a violinist!" At one of those festivals I heard Dr. John Turner and Colyn Fischer playing and that was it. I was forever hooked on Scottish Fiddling.
The Scottish fiddling community and my many friends there inspire me to keep diving deeper into the style. There’s immense beauty in all the different aspects of the fiddle. It’s the musical style and form where I feel I can truly express myself.
I teach violin and Scottish fiddling because I want to pass on my love and joy in making music. I'll help you with technical excellence for sure. But helping you find your unique voice and enjoy playing is most important to me.
Along with playing and teaching, I love writing fiddle tunes. Traditional tunes were written based on experiences. Historic writers wrote tunes for everything, from 'The Auld Man's Meer's Deid" (The Old Man's Mare's Dead) to "Neil Gow's Lament for the Death of His Second Wife" (they weren't afraid of long titles). Life's filled with experiences that make for good tunes. A few of mine include "Wandering the Streets of Jerusalem," "Miss Johnson's Welcome to Mr. Finley Lawrence," and "A Deal for Stupid."
I earned my B.A. in Music with a Violin Concentration in 2013 from Crown College in Minnesota. I fulfilled one of my lifelong dreams when I won the U.S. National Scottish Fiddling Championship in 2017. I've performed for years with my family band, MPK Christian Celtic Band, as a fiddler, singer, songwriter, and dancer. I also play with the Central Wisconsin Symphony Orchestra and sit as concertmistress for the Wausau Symphony. In addition to my fiddling lessons with Dr. John Turner and Dr. Melinda Crawford, I've continued my classical studies under Professor Steven Bjella at the University of Wisconsin Stevens Point.