Rachel Panitch is leaving her role as Resident Musician/Adminstrator at CMW to begin a graduate program at the New England Conservatory in Boston next month. All of us at CMW wish to congratulate Rachel on all that she has accomplished over the past four year, initially as a participant in our two-year Fellowship Program, and then as a core member of our staff for two years, during which time she also founded the Rhode Island Fiddle Project in nearby Pawtucket!
We'll miss Rachel dearly, but we also know that she will be only a short distance away, and since she is continuing in her role as director of the RI Fiddle Project, she will continue to have a significant local presence. Here is an excerpt from a recent letter that she shared with supporters of the Fiddle Project:
I am writing to you with much pride about what has been accomplished this year at the Rhode Island Fiddle Project. This year:
-15 students and their families have benefited from weekly lessons, a weekly group fiddle and dance class, and monthly special events with two Fiddlers-in-Residence.
-We have traveled as a group to hear a performance by the Carolina Chocolate Drops at Bryant University, and met the performers back stage!
-World-renowned musicians Jay Ungar and Molly Mason visited Woodlawn Community Center to offer our students a workshop, culminating with a performance for parents.
-Students celebrated Cajun Mardi Gras, and traveled to perform at a Cajun dance.
-The program received support from the Carter Family Charitable Trust, the Grey Fox Educational Fund, D’Addario Foundation, the RI State Council on the Arts, the Rotary Club of Pawtucket and the City of Pawtucket.
-Fiddlers-in-Residence performed at Pawtucket’s Mayoral Inauguration party, at house concerts around the state, at Common Fence Music’s Fiddlers & Fisherman concert, and at Pawtucket’s urban revitalization yoga studio.
You can see photos from their performances at our year-end Fiddling Celebration here.
There are some big changes coming up. I will be beginning my studies towards a Master’s degree in Contemporary Improvisation at the New England Conservatory this fall. I know that both my performance and teaching abilities will be strengthened and I will have much more to offer when it is complete.
In the meantime, the program is incredibly fortunate to have Michelle Kaminsky continuing as Fiddler-in-Residence and taking on weekly teaching of our students, with the assistance of some generous volunteers.
I will continue in my role as director and will continue to design and organize our monthly special events, including community dances, workshops and student performances. I am confident that the program has what is needed to continue to be a place for students to strengthen their connections with their peers and musical mentors, and to develop leadership skills through their immersion in fiddling traditions and community dance.
We'll miss you Rachel!
[Editor's note: If you are curious to hear some of Rachel's fiddling tunes, check her out on CDbaby, where you can also buy her recent album for $10.]