String Blazers Contribute Music in the Community and Throughout Middle Tennessee


The Sewanee based youth string ensemble, String Blazers, has had a very busy fall season. Under the direction of Tammy Hobbs, the group originally formed in 2017 has grown into a multifaceted program that includes players between the ages of 8 and 17. String Blazers performed alongside the younger group String Cheese for the St. Mark and St. Paul Christmas pageant and prior to that alongside the Sewanee Symphony Orchestra. In addition, a quartet of the highest level students has begun performing in local long term care facilities and churches.

Perhaps most impressively, the group recently sent five students to audition for the prestigious midstate orchestra. Those who participated included Toby Van de Ven who played the viola and was selected to perform with the 11-12 grade orchestra. Maddie Van de Ven played the cello and was selected to perform with the 9-10 orchestra. Kat Carpenter played the violin and was selected to perform with the 9-10 midstate orchestra and in April will attend the All State Orchestra. Colton Waller was initially selected as an alternate, but was then able to perform in concert in January. Gillian O’Connell was the youngest participant and while she was not selected this year to perform, found the process motivating to continue working toward the goal of winning a spot next year. The audition process was rigorous, requiring each student to learn and be ready to perform all 12 major scales in three octaves by memory, a selected piece of music, and sightreading. The students then performed their work in front of judges and were selected from many participants in the midstate area. The concerts took place following four rehearsals over the weekend of Jan. 11-13, 2024 in Murfreesboro.

As the director of the String Blazers, Tammy Hobbs is very excited to have such a great showing from the Sewanee area string ensemble. If you see Tammy or these young musicians please congratulate them on their efforts.

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