The Grand Rapids Press
The Moxie Strings is the electrifying combination of fiddler, Diana Ladio, and cellist, Alison Lynn. With their feel-good melodies and foot-stomping, rock-influenced rhythms, this duo has put a fresh, enticing spin on Celtic and Americana music. Diana and Alison often join forces with dynamic drummer and world percussionist, Fritz McGirr, who lends his spirited expertise of traditional music’s percussion component and an engaging rhythmic energy to the show. Though rooted in tradition, The Moxie Strings offer listeners the unique opportunity to experience some of the world’s best known instruments and oldest genres through a young, progressive lens.
Diana, Alison and Fritz hold Bachelor of Music degrees in music performance and music education, which have given each the technical foundation to explore the limits of his/her instrument, and helped the group build a reputation for musical excellence. Both Diana and Alison use a variety of audio effects pedals. Alison performs on a newly invented, electric instrument and Fritz on a variety of world percussion instruments in celebration of their generation’s redefinition of folk music. The Moxie Strings write the majority of their pieces, and also arrange traditional tunes from many countries.
Soon after forming in 2007, The Moxie Strings were inspired to not only perform, but also to teach. Having made the exploratory journey from classical music to a world of eclecticism and musical creativity, the three have now dedicated their careers to helping young musicians make this life-changing and inspiring transition.
The Moxie Strings have taught enrichment clinics in over 60 schools throughout the US and have also presented on their research and methodologies to many teachers at music education professional development conferences. During most clinics, the group performs for students on electric instruments, teaches music by ear, and introduces non-classical playing styles. The Moxie Strings have researched and created an innovative sequence of activities designed to teach improvisation to classically trained musicians, which they employ at every clinic. They have written several orchestral accompaniments for their pieces and often perform with students on community concerts. The Moxie Strings deliver their message in a fun, accessible way, and stand before students as an illustration of the many opportunities that music holds.
The band is now based in southern Michigan, and tours extensively throughout the United States both playing shows and teaching clinics. The Moxie Strings’ ear-catching originals, dance-worthy, traditional tunes, and dedication to inspiring young musicians have quickly made it one of the country’s most promising instrumental acts.
Diana graduated with highest honors from the University of Michigan School Of Music, earning a Bachelor of Music in Music Performance with Teaching Certification. While at UofM, she had the honor of studying with renowned violist, Yizhak Schotten, Detroit Symphony Orchestra violist, Carolyn Coade, as well as highly acclaimed string instrument pedagogue, Robert Culver.
Diana is a studied Americana fiddler, song- writer and classical violist, and makes her living performing, recording and teaching music. She is a graduate of the Mark O’Connor Strings Conference, Christian Howes’ Creative Strings Workshop, and has studied with well-known string players such as Jeremy Kittel (Turtle Island String Quartet), Casey Driessen (Fiddler for Bela Fleck’s The Flecktones), Mark O’Connor, Brittany Haas, and Christian Howes. Diana went on to co-found the instrumental fusion trio, The Moxie Strings, which now tours the country both performing and teaching clinics in non-classical music.
Diana’s teaching experience includes 10 years as a private instructor, 6 years at Michigan’s American String Teachers’ Association Summer Camp, instructor at the Chelsea Fiddle Camp, Improvisation Coach at the Superior Strings Alliance, among many other clinics and summer programs. Immediately after graduating, she received a long-term sub appointment teaching a revolutionary string program designed to access young elementary students. She went on to accept a position teaching elementary music and beginning strings for the Ann Arbor Public Schools in Ann Arbor, MI, but has since resigned to pursue The Moxie Strings’ cause. Diana now lives in Kalamazoo, MI where she teaches privately and is also a freelance visual artist.
Alison is a studied contemporary cellist, specializing in rhythmic and percussive playing styles. She graduated with a Bachelor of Music in Cello Performance from Western Michigan University under the instruction of revered cellist and conductor, Bruce Uchimura. She is a graduate of the Mark O’Connor Strings Conference, where she had the opportunity to study with renowned cellists Rushad Eggleston, Mike Block, and Tristan Clarridge. She has also studied with celebrated contemporary cellist, Natalie Haas.
Alison’s teaching experience includes 10 years of private instruction, and over 14 years as counselor, teacher and recreation director of the American String Teachers’ Association Summer Camp.
With various projects, Alison has performed with hip-hop icon Kanye West, The Trans-Siberian Orchestra, Gaelic Storm, Alasdair Fraser & Natalie Haas, The Ragbirds, and as a soloist with the Battle Creek Symphony. She has performed at The Palace at Auburn Hills, The Breslin Center, The Ark, VanAndel Arena, Fifth Third Ballpark, Ann Arbor’s Top of the Park, The Intersection, Michigan Irish Music Festival, among many others, and for crowds of up to 25,000 people.
Fritz is an alumnus of the University of Michigan classical percussion program with a Bachelor of Music in Percussion Performance. Fritz had the pleasure of studying with world renowned Michigan faculty including multi-percussionist Joseph Gramley, vibraphonist Cary Kocher, and pedagogy legend Michael Udow.
Fritz is passionate about traditional percussion of many cultures, and has studied Brazilian and Afro-Cuban drumming with Michael Spiro (Indiana University) and Mark Lamson (Sol e Mar Music Collective), attending master classes and workshops taught by both. Fritz was selected to research and perform for Neil Sisauyhoat’s (University of Wisconsin, Madison) Doctor of Arts dissertation recital on the sacred Bata drumming of Cuba. This effort included the memorization of over 100 separate rhythms associated with the 23 Santeria Orishas. Fritz also studied at the University of Limerick, Irish World Academy of Music and Dance to broaden his knowledge of the traditional music of Ireland and obtained a bodhran performance certificate. His experience there included studying with bodhran greats Tommy Hayes (Riverdance), Mel Mercier (University College Cork) and Jim Higgins (Riverdance, Altan, Lunasa). While in Limerick, Fritz also studied ethnomusicology, focusing on the globalization of traditional Irish music. Drawing from his work in Ireland, Fritz was able to combine a very traditional style of bodhran performance with an adapted technique to create a modern rhythmic style applicable to folk, rock, and pop drumset rhythms and idioms.