Stringdancer got its start in St. Louis, MO, in 1995, at the last Kimmswick Dance Weekend at the Old Lee Farm. That weekend was legend - you couldn't really tell people about it on Monday, because who would believe you? So we come from excellent roots.
Around the turn of the century, we got geographically challenged, but we've managed to continue to play together at least once a year, sometimes more. Every reunion is just a blast for all of us. We almost always play the Stringdancer Memorial Time Slot at Kimmswick, opening on Saturday or Sunday evening, and occasionally show up in one of our home cities, St Louis, Minneapolis or Cincinnati. We all still play a lot, just not as often with each other as we'd like.
Stringdancer is Martha Edwards on fiddle, Pam Carson Stoll on fiddle and David Kirchner on guitar. We are sometimes joined by Jeff Hersk or Fred Stoll on bass. Pam and Martha combine high energy fiddling with beautiful, creative harmonies and David provides the steady, inventive rhythmic support. It may be Pam and Martha's classical training (that rich, full sound) that makes everyone swoon over the waltzes
Martha Edwards, fiddle
Martha comes from a classical background, with degrees in music and everything, and she free-lanced in Boston for 25 years without ever once hearing of contradancing. All that changed, however, in the early 90s, when she started dancing, then met Pam and played for waltzing, and then met David and started playing with Stringdancer. She now plays exclusively for dancing – contra, Morris, English Country Dancing and nineteenth-century couples dancing. In addition to Stringdancer, she also plays contra dances with Reel Women and the Jigelos, Summer Lightening, and Chicory. She is also a member of the Halcyon Light Orchestra (Waltzing et al), Blackthorn Morris, and the Tu'Penny Players (ECD). She has developed an unfortunate tendency to start dance series.
Pamela Carson Stoll, Fiddle
Pam started playing violin at age 9, and played in community orchestras in the US and France and then professionally with the Hong Kong Philharmonic. In the early 90s, Pam started contra dancing and fell in love with the community and dance. She played with the Original Speckled Band for the English Country Dancers in St Louis and discovered the joys of being a dance musician. Playing waltzes with Martha and David evolved into Stringdancer, which still feels like "home". She also composes dance tunes and has been exploring other instruments including recorder, mandolin and bodhran. In addition to Stringdancer, she plays with Brittany Bay and Pigtown Alley, and organizes the quarterly Queen City Consort waltz evenings in Cincinnati.
David Kirchner, Guitar
In college, David told his friends continually that he was going to buy a guitar and learn to play it. Eventually they all chipped in to buy him one just to shut him up. He claims to be completely self-taught at the guitar, which means that he is apparently a really good teacher. He's a highly accomplished caller and dance writer as well. He has been known to call one of his own dances while playing the guitar, but has not yet done this while playing a tune he wrote, the slacker.