Siblings Glenn and Edith Sigler brought Pittsburg State musical energy to a statewide fiddle competition this August.
Natives of Joplin, Missouri, the brother and sister duo each received top honors in the Kansas State Fiddling Competition Sunday, Aug. 26 in Lawrence, Kansas. They competed in the Open Category, meaning there were no age restrictions and anyone was allowed to enter. Glenn, junior in biology, received first place and Edith, sophomore in music performance, received second.
“We got our start playing in the family band,” Edith said. “My grandma’s played music her whole life, my mom’s played music her whole life. Growing up, we played in the band on different instruments.”
In addition to violin, Glenn plays saxophone, Edith plays clarinet, piano, and banjo, and both siblings play guitar and mandolin. The two take violin lessons at PSU from Raúl Munguía and play in the Southeast Kansas (SEK) Symphony Orchestra.
“The technique is not that different between fiddling and playing in the orchestra, but the overall style is different.” Glenn said. “Classical violin is more about playing exactly what is written and expressing what the composer wanted to express. The fiddle is more about how you want to express the music.”
During the competition, Glenn and Edith played guitar to accompany the other on violin.
“Our teacher encouraged us to play in fiddle competitions,” Edith said.
The two take fiddling lessons from Rick Morton of Broken Arrow, Oklahoma. Morton plays with the Tulsa Playboys, a bluegrass band who performed at the Bicknell Center during the recent Little Balkans Days festival. A fellow competitor at a classical violin competition introduced Glenn and Edith to Morton.
“We were backstage at a Suzuki violin recital and there was this kid backstage warming up and playing some fiddle,” Glenn said. “We asked him where he learned to do that and he pointed us to Rick Morton.”
Morton has since moved on from classical violin, according to Glenn.
Edith said that Pitt State’s appeal is the freedom to take many different classes.
“I wanted to take both science and music classes, and I couldn’t do that at the bigger universities,” she said. “Some of those schools wouldn’t allow you to be in two music ensembles, you weren’t allowed to take a science class and be a music major.”
Glenn and Edith also added they wanted to choose a school that was close to their home.
“We knew some of the faculty here like Dr. Munguia and Dr. Britz,” Edith said. “And some of the schools we looked at didn’t have orchestra programs to speak of, like Missouri Southern.”
Before coming to Pitt State, the siblings took classical violin lessons from retired Missouri Southern State University (MSSU) professor Kexi Liu. Glenn added that the flat-rate tuition program at Pitt State influenced his decision.
“I knew I was going to have to take a lot of classes, as a biology major with a music minor,” he said
Glenn and Edith will perform with the SEK Symphony at their opening concert next month.