on a summer camping trip to the Irish Hills. There, thirty-four young musicians will bond and prepare for the new group's first gig at the Saline Summerfest on August 9 (see Events).
Current Saline High School students are too young to remember the split, which grew out of disagreements over organizational structure and creative direction.
The Saline Fiddlers Philharmonic was founded in 1994 by then orchestra teacher Bob Phillips (no relation to Brad). The idea, Bob Philips recalls, was to offer "an extracurricular to expand [students'] world beyond the classical music we were learning in orchestra class."
The group split in 2003, in part because school administrators requested that Ben Culver resign as director. The Saline Fiddlers became an independent nonprofit led by Culver, while Fiddlers ReStrung re-formed as a school-affiliated nonprofit, currently overseen by the district's Community Education unit and a parent advisory board.
Brad Phillips, who was a senior in 2003, remembers the split as "a stressful thing for students to see happen." Step-dancing choreographer Sheila Graziano recalls being caught in the middle of an "emotional" division; she ended up instructing both groups.