Biographies

Danita Hartz
An Idaho native, born in small Kellogg, Idaho. Danita picked up the fiddle after watching her older siblings. Since then she's gone on to a degree in music/pedagogy and a master's degree in violin performance. Danita won the National Grand Championship for the third time at the Weiser Old Time Fiddlers' Contest. Hartz is also the first woman ever to win the title. Hartz is the co-owner of Hartz Music in Meridian.

1998, 2000, 2001 Grand National Fiddle Champion - Weiser, ID
1990, 1994, 1996 Grand Masters Fiddle Champion - Nashville, TN
1991 - 1992 SPGBMA National Fiddle Champion - Mountain View, AK
1992 World Series of Fiddling Champion - Langley

Matt Hartz
Born in Idaho, Matt is one of the masters of Texas-style fiddling. He was a long-running champion at Weiser and has collected a closet full of trophies in fiddling competitions. He and his wife Danita own Hartz Music in Meridian, Idaho.

1989-1993-1995 Grand Masters Invitational Fiddle Champion - Nashville, TN
1988-1992 Grand National Fiddle Champion - Weiser, ID
1988 World Fiddle Champion - Crockett, TX
1992 Texas State Fiddle Champion - Hallettsville, TX

Richard Kriehn-mandolin, violin/fiddle, guitar, bass, viola
Richard Kriehn has been involved with music making from the time he was ten. Whether it's playing bass in a cover band, fiddle in a country band, violin in a symphony or guitar in an acoustic duo, he feels right at home in any situation. When asked, however, his first choice would be mandolin. He started playing the mandolin at the age of ten, and at 19 had won the Buck White International Mandolin Contest. At thirty-five, he still feels he has a lot to learn. Richard moved to Nashville in January of '96, and was fortunate enough to work with Ronna Reeves, 1946, The Nashville Mandolin Ensemble, Aaron Tippin, Michael Peterson, and Travis Tritt. After five years in Nashville, he has come back home to Idaho, joined up with the other fine teachers at Hartz Music in Meridian. When he's not playing or teaching music, he likes to spend time with his wife Danette and their three children…and just maybe, an occasional fly-fishing trip.

Tom Lowe-Electric Guitar, Bass, Keyboard
Tom began playing the piano at age 10, guitar at age 13 and electric bass at age 16. Tom participated in the South Junior High Choir for three years. He is a founding member of the Original Fabulous Chancellors of Boise. Tom graduated from Borah High School in 1962 and enrolled at Boise Junior College. In 1964 the rest of the Chancellors enrolled at Idaho State University in Pocatello while Tom stayed with the music department in Boise studying under Grif Bratt and Jack Best, taking piano and upright bass lessons, singing with the choir and playing percussion in concert band. He graduated in 1968 with a BA in Music, theory and composition option.

After the Chancellors, Tom played dance casuals with most standard jazz musicians in Boise: Paul Helfrick, Louie Ventrella, Bill Rhodonbaugh, Floyd Heaps, Dick McGaorlin, Hank Houst, Dee Tonning, Jim Watkinson.
Tom played one year with George Thomason at 7 Seas in Nampa and the Ranch Club in Garden City six nights/week. He also played with Rand and Betty Hillman in "Current Jam" at 122 in Garden City and 123=Embers in Boise six nights/week for two years. Tom also played with Suzie Arden Show at 122 in Garden City six nights a week for two years.

Tom formed a house band for Dino's in 1974 with Dino Pozzobon, John Jones, Mark Peppard, and Cherie Buckner. Then Juli Elias, Sharon Wardle, Jimmy and Lynn Vermillion, Rick Markwick, John Hynaman, Randy and Dee Anderson.

Tom then went to work for Hewlett-Packard 1-5-81. He began playing casuals with Rand and Betty Hillman when they returned from the road such as the Snake River Stampede and Pocatello Frontier Days for ten years and the Elko Labor Day Fair Dance for seven years. Tom played weekends at Key Largo Restaurant for three years, Orphan Annies Restaurant for three years until it burnt down. He played with Cyndi Lee and Streetwise until Orphan Annies was rebuilt, and is still playing there now. In addition Tom plays at the Blues Bouquet on Mondays.

Tom taught at Holsinger Music for four years, at Peebles-Winter for twelve years which ended in 1981, and at Musician's Pro Shop for three years

Louis McFarland -Percussion, Guitar
Louis started his percussive training at the age of 11 simply to be "one of the cool guys at the back of the band room." He began studying privately at 15 and has since been exposed to many diverse drumming situations. He has played drumset in the Albertson College of Idaho and Boise State University Big Band jazz ensembles, has/is working with small jazz, blues, rock, country & heavy metal groups including his current gig with Classic Ashley. He has also been a member of the AC of I and BSU Symphonic Wind

Ensembles, the BSU orchestra & percussion ensemble and the BSU Blue Thunder Marching Band.
With influences as diverse as his stick bag - from West African drummer Mamady Kieta, to country swinger Bob Wills, to rapper Busta Rhymes - Louis hopes to impart to his students both his learned and experienced knowledge of drumming with a fundamental appreciation for the aesthetics and joy of music

Bruce Alkire-banjo, guitar
Bruce Alkire started his musical career in the third grade as a piano player. That training lasted only one year as he moved with his family from Nebraska to Idaho. He remembers reading in a "TIME" magazine that French horn players were the highest paid musicians in the orchestra so from the 4th to the 9th grade he was a French horn player. He quit playing in the school band when he entered high school because he didn't want to play in a "marching band."
After a year away from music, he took a fancy to Bluegrass Banjo inspired by an Earl Scruggs record he heard. He got a banjo for Christmas, bought an instruction book, shut himself in his room and didn't come out until he knew how to play (well, maybe to eat). He tried college but bluegrass was where he wanted to be.

His professional career started when a friend and him were hired to play banjos at a wedding reception. He has played in several bands that have played all around the state of Idaho, Alaska, and toured British Columbia and Alberta, Canada for four months. He took up fiddle at age 21 to add variety to the band.
When marriage and family came along he worked at many different jobs from short order cook to logger, but he always played music too.

He learned finger picking guitar about 1982 and have taught Community Education classes in Boise for several years. He is now also interested in Cajun fiddling and accordion.

Bruce lives in Horseshoe Bend with his wife of 22 years, Deb, and his four children. Three of their four children also play an instrument and music is an important part of their lives.


 



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