MOUNT VERNON — Krista Solars and the Dan Emmett Music and Arts Festival both turned 25 this year, and if minstrel Dan was listening in from above one has to believe he was impressed with Krista’s performance Saturday in the Old-Time Fiddle Contest.
Playing in the highly competitive open division, Krista was the top of the field, earning top prize from the panel of judges. The 25-year-old from Jeromesville was flawless throughout her three-tune set, and then entertained an appreciative audience with a rousing impromptu rendition of “Orange Blossom Special” while the judges deliberated.
Winning awards is nothing new to Solars, who among other titles has registered three wins in the Ohio State Fiddle Contest, one as a junior and two in the open division. She is a graduate of Oberlin College and has one year remaining to earn a Masters in Violin Performance from Indiana University.
Krista started playing classical violin at age 4, and at 6 she began to practice fiddle as well. Two decades later she professes equal affection for both musical styles.
“When I graduate I want to play music, play anything, for a living,” she said. “I have a feeling I’ll be playing classical as well as fiddle, because I love them both too much to give one up.”
Krista has played in the Akron and Cleveland Youth Symphonies, and she performed at Carnegie Hall in 2007 with the Oberlin Orchestra. She has released four studio CDs since she was 17, the latest being called “Fiddlin’ With Dynamite.”
Placing second and third with superb performances in the open division were Joel Lautzenheiser of North Lawrence and the versatile Jacob Stockdale of Bolivar. Earlier in the day, Stockdale won his class in the festival’s Flat-Pick Guitar Contest.
Also fiddling their way to first-place awards on the First-Knox Main Stage were Brandon Shull of Lancaster in the 12-19 division, Bob Glenn of Chippewa Lake in the 55-and-Up division and Christiana Joneikis of Shreve in the 11-and-Under division.
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