Lauren, born in Ridgewood New Jersey, began her music studies at age nine and has been playing violin for fifteen years.
She has studied under Professor Lee Chin Siow at the College of Charleston and Professor Oscar Ravina, of the New York Philharmonic.
Mrs. Williams has performed solo recitals and in numerous chamber ensembles in New York City, Philadelphia, and Charleston, as well as throughout New Jersey.
She has participated in summer festivals such as the Rockland Summer Institute for Orchestral and Chamber Studies, Amati Music Festival, and Piccolo Spoleto's Young Artist Series.
Mrs. Williams earned her BA in Music from the College of Charleston and has been performing for weddings, and teaching violin since 2002.
In 2003, she attended the Suzuki Institute at Furman University where she received her Suzuki teaching certification.
She has participated and and received her Suzuki training under Joanne Bath of East Carolina University and has been a registered Suzuki teacher since 2005.
She continues to perform for weddings and events full-time in the Charleston area. When she's not performing, she teaches with her husband,
Mike, Suzuki Violin at East Cooper Music, for kids learning violin in a group setting and private instruction.
Mike Williams, Acoustic/Electric Violin
Michael was born in a musical family, his father being a classical guitarist, mother a classical pianist, and older brother a classical and jazz pianist. Michael first began to play the piano at the age of seven then took up the violin at age 9. He attended the Charleston County School of the Arts for middle and high school, then attended the College of Charleston. He became one of the in-house musicians and only violinist to play jazz in the Charleston Grill in the Charleston Place Hotel. In college, he studied classical under Lee-Chin Siow and jazz under David Heywood, and graduated with a Bachelorís in Music Performance on the violin. By graduation, his wife, Lauren and Mike creates the Palmetto Strings ensemble. In 2009, he has also created a music school, named East Cooper Music, located in Mount Pleasant, SC. He has also created a wedding blog for Charleston - Charleston Weddings, at www.charlestonweddings.com.
If you would like to hear Mike live, go to the Charleston Grill at Charleston Place Hotel, downtown any Sunday night, 7-10pm.
Bob Williams, Guitar
Bob Williams began playing guitar in middle school and has since been performing and teaching for over 30 years. While playing in bands along the East Coast while in high school and college, he continued his studies of jazz and classical guitar.
After receiving his high schoolís ďMost TalentedĒ award, he attended Methodist University where he developed the schoolís first jazz program for the music department. After receiving his Bachelor of Arts in music, he continued classical guitar studies at UNC-W ilmington with Michael Lorimer, a student of the renowned Adres Segovia . At this time Bob developed a classical guitar program at Sandhills Community College. Many of his students went on to earn their degrees in music, and a number of his jazz students have graduated with honors from Berklee College of Music. As an instructor Bob has written two method books which have sold more than 4000 copies.
His Modern Method for Guitar is used by a number of teachers and schools. After teaching in the public school system in North Carolina and developing a private school of music, he moved to Charleston, South Carolina, where he continues to teach and perform full time. He teaches classical to rock guitar at East Cooper Music in Mount Pleasant SC. His students are consistently chosen as the guitarists for the local middle and high school jazz bands, and his students consistently place high in the all-state jazz band auditions. Only two students are accepted from the entire state each year, and Bob has had students in those positions five times. His students also audition regularly for the South Carolina Governorís School on classical guitar. On weekends you can hear Bob perform in the five-star Sanctuary Hotel on Kiawah Island and at the Charleston Grill in Charleston Place Hotel.
Lonnie Root, Acoustic/Electric Cello
Lonnie originally hails from Fairfield, Connecticut. He was immediately drawn to the natural beauty and cultural diversity of Charleston and felt equally about the College of Charleston. He became immediately active within the college as he moved up to co-principal of the orchestra and participated in their chamber groups, concerts, and various master classes under the master tutelage of his teacher Natalia Khoma. His work spread to the community as he began playing weddings, church services, and was given a seat with the Piccolo Spoleto Festival Orchestra under the great maestro Donald Portnoy. Lonnie finished out his last full semester of school playing to a sold out Sottile Theatre of 800 people featuring the works of young composers / arrangers Andrew Walker and Lee Marchbanks featuring their brainchild of Radiohead arrangements for a classical ensemble. He is currently either teaching, or playing in various ensembles and festivals around Charleston as he remains very active in the classical music scene, performing for weddings and private events with the Palmetto Strings. Lonnie teaches cello at East Cooper Music, located in Mount Pleasant, SC.
Catherine Salley, Cello
Catherine began playing the cello when she was 10 years old in Charleston, SC. She received the Lightsey Cello Scholarship to attend The College of Charleston,
and studied under Professor Damian Kremer. While at CofC, she was a member of the internationally acclaimed ensemble Charleston Pro Musica, under the direction
of Steve Rosenberg. She traveled and toured with this ensemble throughout France, Uruguay, and the Southeastern United States. While a member of Charleston Pro Musica,
Catherine performed in Piccolo Spoleto, on 5 CDís, and in a South Carolina Educational Television (SCETV) documentary of their concert series in France.
Catherine has been playing a variety of venues, such as weddings and receptions, in the Charleston area since 1997, and has been with playing with Palmetto Strings since 2008.
Jessica Hull-Dambaugh, Flute
Jessica Hull-Dambaugh is currently the Principal Flutist of the Charleston Symphony Orchestra, a position she has held since 2004.
In addition, she has spent her summers playing Flute and Piccolo with the Central City Opera Orchestra in Colorado.
She has most recently appeared as a soloist with the Charleston Symphony Orchestra and was a featured artist in the 2009 & 2010 Piccolo Spoleto
Festival as part of their Spotlight & LíOrgano concert series. Jessica has toured extensively throughout China, Europe, the Netherlands, South America,
and Latin America, and has attended the acclaimed Schleswig-Holstein Orchestral Academy in Germany, the Music Academy of the West, the National Orchestral
Institute, and the Youth Orchestra of the Americas Orchestral Training Institute. She holds degrees from the Crane School of Music at SUNY Potsdam and Carnegie
Mellon University, where she was a student of Jeanne Baxtresser. Prior to her move to Charleston, Jessica held the position of Principal Flute with the Maryland
Symphony Orchestra and performed frequently with the Kennedy Center Opera House Orchestra.
Mayumi Nakamura began studying the violin at the age of nine. By age twelve, she was a featured soloist on a live radio broadcast with the
Hiroshima Symphony Orchestra. She has performed extensively as a soloist and chamber musician throughout Japan, South Korea, and the United States.
Mayumi gave her New York City recital debut in Carnegieís Weill Recital Hall in 2002.
Mayumi also has a broad range of orchestral experience, having performed with the Atlanta Symphony, Charleston Symphony, Manhattan Chamber Orchestra, Hiroshima Symphony,
Hilton Head Symphony, and many others. She received her Bachelorís Degree from the Tokyo National University of Fine Arts and Music before moving to America, where she earned a
Masters degree from the Manhattan School of Music in 2000 and a Professional Studies Diploma from the Mannes College of Music in 2003. Her teachers included Ariana Bronne and Todd
Lauren Eastlack, Violin
Graduate of Indiana University Jacobís School of Music, violinist, Lauren Eastlack began her studies at the age of five at Buffalo Suzuki
Strings in Buffalo, New York. Lauren earned her Bachelor of Music and a Masters in Music in violin performance and a Performer Diploma
Certificate during her time at Indiana University. Her primary teachers were Paul Biss and Mimi Zweig. Between 2007 and 2009, Lauren earned
a position as an Associate Instructor of Violin at the Jacobís School of Music. In 2002, Lauren was the recipient of the Amherst Symphony
Orchestra Scholarship, the Buffalo Philharmonic Scholarship, and the Buffalo Chamber Society Scholarship. Lauren has performed as soloist
with the Buffalo Philharmonic on two separate occasions and in the fall of 2009 performed as soloist with the Amherst Symphony in Amherst, New York.
Austin Fitzhenry, Cello
Austin Fitzhenry began studying cello at age six with former CSO principle cellist James Holland. Growing up in a musical family, he had the opportunity to
begin performing at a very young age and played in his first wedding when only 11 years old. Ten years of wedding performances later, Austin still gains a
thrill from bringing the joy of music to listeners. In 2006 Austin earned a full scholarship for summer study at the Brevard Music Center. He has performed
as a soloist with the Charleston Symphony Orchestra and served as principle cellist of the Charleston Symphony Youth Orchestra for 3 years. Austin continues
his musical studies with CSO cellist Damian Kremer and enjoys each and every opportunity he receives to make music.
Jenny Weiss, Violin
Jenny Weiss, originally from Delaware, Ohio, began studying the violin at the age of 5. She completed her Bachelors Degree and Performer
Diploma at the Indiana University Jacobs School of Music as a student of Federico Agostini. While living in Bloomington, Jenny was a member
of the Columbus Indiana Philharmonic, Carmel Symphony, Terre Haute Symphony, and Richmond Symphony Orchestra. Jenny performs regularly with
the Charleston Symphony Orchestra, Chamber Music Charleston, The Sound of Charleston, and also teaches violin at Ashley Hall School.
Ben Weiss, Violin & Viola
A native of Indiana, violist Ben Weiss attended the Indiana University Jacobs School of Music.
During his eight years of study there Mr. Weiss completed his Bachelor of Music degree and Performer Diploma
in violin as well as a Performer Diploma in viola. While at Indiana University he was a member of the Richmond
Symphony Orchestra, Terre Haute Symphony, Carmel Symphony and the Columbus Indiana Philharmonic. In Charleston,
Ben performs regularly with Chamber Music Charleston, the Charleston Symphony Orchestra, The Sound of Charleston,
and also teaches at the College of Charleston and Ashley Hall School.
Samantha Clark, Viola
Samantha has been playing the viola for 17 years, beginning in elementary school in Lexington,
KY. After several years of private lessons, youth orchestra, Kentucky All State Orchestra,
competitions and attending the Kentucky Governorís School for the arts, she decided to pursue
a Bachelorís degree in Viola Performance at Converse College in Spartanburg, SC. While in
Spartanburg, she studied with Miles Hoffman, performed in the Spartanburg Philharmonic,
Asheville Symphony, Hendersonville Symphony and the Brevard Philharmonic as well as
teaching a studio of viola students. Ms. Price recently began working towards her Masterís
degree in Performance at CCM in Cincinnati, where she currently studies with Catharine Carroll
and Masao Kawasaki.
Susan Messersmith, Trumpet
Susan Sievert Messersmith, a native of northeast Ohio, is the daughter of two organists. She grew up in a very musical environment and began private trumpet studies in high school with Dr. Jack Gallagher at the College of Wooster.
She completed the Bachelor of Music Degree at the Baldwin-Wallace College Conservatory of Music in 1990 (studying with James Darling and Mary Squire) and graduated summa cum laude, 1st in a class of 920 students. She also attended the Eastman School of Music (studying with Barbara Butler) where, in 1992, she earned a Master of Music in Performance and Literature, as well as the Performerís Certificate. In 1993, Susan won national auditions for Second Trumpet positions in both the Tucson Symphony and the Charleston (SC) Symphony Orchestra. She signed a contract with the latter and began a 14-year tenure in that position.
In addition to her duties with the Charleston Symphony and CSO Brass Quintet, Ms. Messersmith has been an adjunct faculty member at Charleston Southern University since 1993 (where she teaches trumpet and directs the brass choir), and was a member and co-coordinator of the Spoleto Brass Quintet for many years.
In 2007, she decided to spend more time with family, and resigned from the CSO, though she can still often be seen on the stage with the orchestra, performing as needed. Additionally, she maintains a very busy freelancing and teaching schedule.
Erika Blanco Violin
Erika Blanco, a Charleston native, holds a bachelorís degree in violin from Vanderbilt Universityís Blair School of Music. Having grown up in Charleston, she began her violin studies with Deborah Menick of the Ashley River Creative Arts School and continued with violinist and youth orchestra conductor Rex Conner of Charleston. During her time at the Blair School of Music, she studied with the first violinist of the Blair String Quartet Christian Teal. She also worked alongside violinists Cornelia Heard and Carolyn Huebl, violists John Kochanowski and Kathryn Plummer, cellist Felix Wang, and pianist Amy Dorfman. Suzuki pedagogue and Director of Suzuki Programs Carol Smith mentored and helped her to attain her Suzuki certification. Prior to receiving her degree, she studied under Stephen Panchaud, assistant concertmaster of the Chattanooga Symphony and Opera. She has performed in recitals and concerts all throughout the Southeast region of the country as well as the United Kingdom. She has had the privilege of performing in masterclasses with violinists Alexander Kerr, former concertmaster of the Charleston Symphony Orchestra, and Soh-Hyun Park Altino, Professor of Violin at the University of Memphis. Erika spent an entire season with the Chattanooga Symphony and Opera under the baton of Robert Bernhardt and plays occasionally with the Charleston Symphony Orchestra. She now spends most of her time nurturing the students in her Suzuki violin studio.
Christopher Jenkins, Classical Guitar
Christopher Jenkins is a performer and teacher in Columbia & Charleston, South Carolina. He completed his B.M. in Performance from George Mason University School of Music where he studied with Larry Snitzler. He is currently pursuing his Master of Music at the University of South Carolina School of Music where he studies with Christopher Berg.
Christopher has performed in masterclasses for greats such as Pepe Romero, Martha Masters, Gilbert Biberian, Gallardo Del Rey, and Joaquin Clerch. He has studied in a series of classes and instruction by renowned guitarist and composer Roland Dyens. He also performed in masterclasses at the La Guitarra Festival in Santa Maria, California in September of 2007.
Mr. Jenkins has performed locally and abroad. His performances have taken him abroad to Spain and Argentina, as well as locally in South Carolina, Virginia, West Virginia, Maryland, Texas, and Washington D.C. Christopher is also a member of The Coda Duo, an award-winning classical guitar duo. The Coda Duo received first place in their category at the Brownsville Guitar Ensemble Competition in 2010.
Yun Hao, born in Shanghai, China, began his cello studies at the Shanghai Conservatory and continued his studies at the Municipal School of Music in Montevideo, Uruguay, with Professor Pedro Laniella. Mr. Jiang was principal cellist of the National Youth Orchestra for several seasons as well as a member of the Montevideo Philharmonic Orchestra. He has been coached in cello by William Molinas, Claudio Baraviera, Owen Carmen, Steven Doane, and Hans Jensen. Yun Hao was awarded the Juvenalis Award in 1999 and won First Prizes in the Jeunesses Musicales Competition in 2002 for cello soloist and chamber music ensemble. He now continues to perform for weddings and events with the Palmetto Strings.