Education: Bachelor’s Degree from College of Wooster, Ohio
Teaching experience: 18 years
With Rhapsody since 2012
After begging Santa to bring her a violin for 5 years, Charlene finally started playing violin at age 9 in the Capital University Suzuki Program in Columbus, Ohio. She played with the Suzuki Tour Group on their 1999 tour of Chicago and their 2001 tour of Estonia. At the College of Wooster in Wooster, Ohio, Charlene continued her Classical violin studies with Dr. Thomas Wood and Lin He, and played with the Wooster Symphony Orchestra and the Wooster Chamber Orchestra under Chicago Jazz Orchestra conductor Jeffrey Lindberg. Although a geology major, she took many music classes and was determined to learn enough music theory to be dangerous.
Concurrently with her violin studies, Charlene became obsessed with Irish music and convinced her parents to take her to an Irish-Catholic Social Club (read: bar) to learn the music from more experienced players. She went on to study at workshops and camps with All-Ireland fiddle champions Liz Carroll, Seamus Connolly and Oisin Mac Diarmada. Collecting the title of Senior Fiddle Champion at the 2005 Midwest Fleadh Cheoil (Irish music competition), Charlene has been warmly accepted into the Irish music community and is known for her danceable, pulsing rhythm and newly-composed tunes. Always up for a challenge, Charlene has also dabbled in diverse genres such as bluegrass, old-time, Americana rock, folk-rock and Swedish when the opportunities arose.
Charlene has been teaching violin and fiddle since high school and is certified with the Suzuki Association of the Americas in teaching violin books 1, 2, and 3. Focusing on theory, composition, performance skills, and musicality, Charlene also teaches alternative violin styles in tandem with Suzuki repertoire, believing it makes for a well-rounded musician. Charlene has a teacher’s heart and loves to creatively find ways to teach anything from basic violin/viola fundamentals to soulful musicality.
Charlene enjoys a varied career in teaching at Rhapsody and out of her home in Stoughton, while also performing in the Irish band West Wind and the Americana rock band Pink Houses. Occasionally she must leave her loving husband Josh and spunky toddler Adele for a weekend when she plays for feiseanna (Irish dance competitions) all over the United States.