Bios

Jamie Kitchel

Fiddle and Vocals

Jamie Nov 2017

Jamie started playing piano at age 7, followed by violin at age 11. She was classically trained and played in symphony, pit and chamber orchestras and quartets throughout high school. When she moved to Colorado in 2000 to attend college she was introduced to the world of bluegrass and it didn’t take long for her violin to transform into a fiddle. Upon moving to the Upper Peninsula she became involved in the local music scene, playing at weekly jams. After finishing nursing school, and while in graduate school, Jamie played with the Two Track Ramblers band with her husband on banjo. Around that time, Jamie was introduced to the world of old time music and hasn’t turned back since. She has studied old time fiddling with Erynn Marshall, James Bryan and others. Today she enjoys playing with ASC and is continually grateful not only for the musical experiences fiddling has brought her, but the friendships and connections with musicians from all over the world that she has been so fortunate to cultivate in the process.

Rochelle Schuster

Hammer Dulcimer, Mountain Dulcimer and Autoharp

Chelle Edith 2016 crop

Rochelle “Chelle” Schuster studied piano as an adult, mastering all six years of the John Thompson course.  At age 48, she became interested in the mountain dulcimer and began taking lessons and going to festivals.  At an annual dulcimer festival in Evart, Michigan, where hundreds gather to attend workshops, she became interested in the hammered dulcimer and has been playing it since.  Chelle and her late husband Ken, along with friends Barney and  Marilyn Ouellette, formed the string band Lost Lake Effect, playing music around the UP and Wisconsin for over ten years along with producing two CD’s.  Chelle moved to Marquette in 2006 and has been a proud member of All Strings Considered since its formation in 2011. Along with all the band members, Chelle enjoys and supports local traditional music.

Maggie Morgan

Acoustic Bass and Vocals

ASC GM 2017 Maggie cropMaggie grew up in Oklahoma, where she had piano lessons as a child and was a band nerd in high school. One of her best childhood friends was the daughter of a great country and bluegrass fiddler, so she heard those sounds growing up but did not take up that kind of music until after college. College friends taught her the basic folk-music guitar chords; her mom bought her first guitar in 1971; and she attended her first Bluegrass Festival in 1973. That was followed by many more of the same. She began playing acoustic bass in the early 80s, in Missouri, mostly in Bluegrass, and joined an Old Time band there in the mid-90s. She moved to Marquette in 2000, and has enjoyed all aspects of the local, traditional-music scene since.

Annette Watts

Autoharp and Vocals

Zoey Hiawatha 2015 5 cropAnnette hails from the Shenandoah Valley of Virginia.  Although her youth was spent in one of the heartlands of traditional music, she gravitated toward old time later in life.  Her early years in church choirs schooled her in harmony singing and she still performs with the local Choral Society. Though she sings Bach, Mozart, and Rutter quite competently, she tempers her classic vibrato and brings out her laser voice for Appalachian songs with ASC. Annette has learned directly from such master artists of Appalachian singing as Ginny Hawker, Sheila Kay Adams, Val Mindel, Joe Newberry and others. Annette began playing the autoharp as a compliment to her husband Phil’s guitar many years ago. She would say it is a simple instrument, “just push a button and strum”, but she is known to take a melody break from time to time. In addition to playing and singing with All Strings Considered, Annette and Phil often do interactive workshops on songs of the Original Carter Family of southwest Virginia.

Phil Watts

Guitar, Banjo and Vocals

Hiawatha Dance 1 CropPhil plays guitar and a bit of clawhammer banjo with ASC and has been known to spin a tale or two during ASC concerts. Phil grew up in North Carolina surrounded by a rich tradition of old-time and bluegrass music though he was more into Blood, Sweat & Tears and the Tijuana Brass in his youth. Initially, he studied music education and trumpet at the East Carolina University School of Music where he met Annette.  Eventually, this early musical direction diverted into other academic interests. He learned three or four basic guitar chords in college during the great folk revival of the 60’s and 70’s then put the guitar in the closet for a decade or more.  A couple of decades ago, Phil and his family started spending extended time with old-time musicians, initially through the Hiawatha Traditional Music Festival in Marquette, then a long string of summers at the Augusta Heritage Center in Elkins, West Virginia and the Blue Ridge Old Time Music week in Mars Hill, North Carolina. Through their annual trips to the southern mountains, Phil and Annette developed a deep appreciation of the tight harmony of traditional Appalachian singing.