Fiddlers. On. The. Loose.

From Churchill and Snow Lake to Flin Flon, the MCO’s Fiddlers on the Loose are all over the province playing and work-shopping fiddle and folk music.

The six musicians and librarian/stage manager travel by van, plane, and train to the more remote regions of the province, providing music education and performances to young people and communities facing economic and geographic challenges.

The musicians who make up our group bring the rigour and experience of internationally trained professionals who’ve spent years developing their craft.

At the same time, we are deeply respectful of such Manitoba traditions as Red River fiddle music, in which many of the young people with whom we work are steeped. We strive to support traditions and programs that already exist in the communities we visit.

And so, our approach is as collaborative as it is instructive: we have a blast performing and sharing fiddle tunes with students in community centres and schools, while also offering technical and professional advice about musicianship. We work closely with music teachers and fiddle instructors, and they have commented on the program’s impact beyond the classroom.

Children develop and hone skills like self-discipline, team building, musical techniques, presentation skills, confidence, and awareness of different career opportunities in music.

Fiddlers on the Loose strive to create performance opportunities for young people too. So far, the Frontier Fiddlers, a group of talented young student musicians from the Frontier School Division, have twice performed alongside the MCO as part of our regular concert series.

We constantly seek to expand our program, which normally reaches over 7,500 children and provides 30-35 in school / in-library presentations each year. Since the pandemic, we have added online services like live streaming and online workshops and Learning Guides.

Fiddlers on the Loose playlist
from the Official MCO YouTube Channel

Go to playlist

These materials were created for use by Nursery to Grade 6 students and their teachers, and everyone is welcome!

They provide tools and resources to be used in association with the Fiddlers on the Loose! online performances. We hope to also be able to present in-person workshops and performances before too long.

© 2019 Julie Mongeon-Ferré-Beryl Peters with grateful collaboration from the education and outreach committee.


Mary Lawton, violin

Currently a violinist with the WSO, Mary Lawton received her Bachelor of Musical Arts degree from the University of Western Ontario, and later received her Masters degree from Yale University. She has performed as a member of many orchestras, including the Calgary Philharmonic, Orchestra London, the COC Orchestra, the Banff Festival Orchestra, the MCO, and was Assistant Concertmaster of both the National Ballet of Canada and the Esprit Orchestras in Toronto. Her extensive chamber music experiences have been encouraged by coaches Peter Oundjian, Gilbert Kalish, Lorand Fenyves, Menahem Pressler, and Jaap Schoder, and she was twice invited to the Banff Centre to act as Concertmaster for the chamber productions of Punch and Judy and Jackie O. Since moving to Winnipeg in 1997, Mary has also enjoyed working with the Chamber Music Society, Groundswell, Kokopelli, the Festival on the Red, and is also the Concertmaster with MusikBarock.

Boyd MacKenzie, violin

Boyd MacKenzie is a violinist with the Manitoba Chamber Orchestra, and was also a long-time member of the period performance group, MusikBarock Ensemble as well as the Winnipeg Symphony Orchestra. He serves as the contractor and concert manager of the Manitoba Chamber Orchestra and manages the MCO’s Minstrel booking agency. In addition he coordinates and contracts musicians for Artists In Healthcare Manitoba in collaboration with the MCO. He has composed a number of scores for film, television, and commercial use, and has arranged music for a variety of instrumental configurations. In addition to his performing, Boyd has maintained a private teaching studio and worked as a music educator. He holds a Bachelor of Music degree from Brandon University, where he studied with Francis Chaplin, and spent two years in Utrecht performing with the Utrecht Symphony Orchestra before returning to Canada.

Michaela Kleer, viola

Michaela Kleer is a professional violist and music instructor, living and working in Winnipeg, Manitoba since 2018. Since moving from Toronto, she has performed regularly with the Manitoba Chamber Orchestra (MCO) and Winnipeg Symphony Orchestra. She also teaches weekly string classes at Sistema Winnipeg – a program that uses music as a tool to teach life skills and values to children in underserved communities. This year she has also enjoyed opportunities playing concerts in unique venues all over Manitoba with the MCO’s outreach ensemble, Fiddlers on the Loose. Michaela has also been a member of The National Youth Orchestra of Canada (2013) and has taken part in the Tafelmusik Baroque Summer Institute (2017).

Michaela obtained an Artist Diploma in 2017 from the Royal Conservatory of Music’s Glenn Gould School, and has an Honours Bachelor of Music degree from Wilfrid Laurier University (2015). Her main instructors include Steven Dann, Christine Vlajk, and Susan Lipchak.

On the side, Michaela enjoys daily yoga practice, exploring and hiking/biking, and playing music with her husband and horn player, Aiden.

Carolyn Tolson Nagelberg, cello

Carolyn Tolson Nagelberg, cellist, has been an active player with the Manitoba Chamber Orchestra since 1973 and was a member of the Winnipeg Symphony Orchestra 1972-2019. She has performed with many musical groups in Winnipeg, including GroundSwell, Aurora Musicale, MusikBarock and Music Inter Alia. Her summer activities have included the Rainbow Stage Orchestra (Winnipeg), the Colorado Music Festival Orchestra (Boulder) and the Great Music West Festival Orchestra (Bear Lake, Utah). She received a Bachelor of Music degree with honours from the University of Michigan (Ann Arbor) in 1965. Before coming to Winnipeg, she was a member of several orchestras: the Toledo Orchestra (Ohio), the Richmond and Norfolk Symphonies (Virginia), the National Symphony Orchestra (Washington, D.C.) and the St. Paul Opera Orchestra (Minnesota), among others. Her husband Paul is a bass player.

Paul Nagelberg, double bass

Paul Nagelberg, double bassist, moved to Winnipeg to accept a position with the Winnipeg Symphony Orchestra in 1978. Since that time, he has become a regular member of the Manitoba Chamber Orchestra. Paul’s freelance work in Winnipeg has included the CBC Winnipeg Orchestra,StartFragment MusickBarock Ensemble,EndFragment in-school concerts with the Canadian Education Ensemble, Rainbow Stage and private teaching. His summer activities have included the Colorado Music Festival Orchestra in Boulder, the Great Music West Festival Orchestra in Utah, assistant principal; the Des Moines Metro Opera Orchestra in Iowa, assistant principal. Prior to coming to Winnipeg, Paul played principal bass in the National Youth Orchestra of Canada for two summers. He attended the Eastman School of Music and the University of Michigan School of Music, graduating with honors from the latter.

Paul and his wife Carolyn (MCO cellist) are proud parents of two sons who are fine musicians in their own right.

Here are Paul's answers:

When did you start playing? 14

Why did you choose your instrument? I was told in high school that I had to be in a string program. I chose bass from the string instrument options as I thought it was the most cool.

Why is music important to you? Music soothes me and moves me emotionally. I feel like I am not alone when I listen to music.

What do you like to do (at home/ to relax)? I often listen to music at home.

Rodrigo Muñoz, guitar and percussion

Composer, arranger, guitarist, percussionist, bassist Rodrigo Muñoz has been active in Winnipegʼs musical scene for over 35 years. He is the leader of the popular Latin Jazz ensemble Papa Mambo, and as a percussionist he has performed with Latin legends Tito Puente and Jose Luis "Changuito" Quintana and Canadian jazz stars Jane Bunnett and Hilario Duran.

Rodrigo studied Classical Guitar under Harold Micay at the University of Manitoba, and Afro Latin Percussion in San Juan, Puerto Rico. He has taught and given master classes at the Manitoba Music Conservatory, University of Manitoba Jazz Department, and presented clinics at the Canadian Mennonite University, Brandon University, Norway House, Long & McQuade Music, and numerous high schools in the province. Rodrigo has been a member of The Manitoba Chamber Orchestraʼs outreach sextet for the past 12 years, and has served on music-related juries for The Manitoba Arts Council, The Canada Arts Council and The Canadian Juno Awards.

Rodrigo has toured across Canada with different musical groups including his own band Papa Mambo, he won the WCMA with Trio Bembé and has recorded numerous CDs including three that he has produced with his label "Uncontrollable Records."

When did you start playing? I was 8 when I started playing guitar

Why did you choose your instrument? the instrument chose me, it was the only musical instrument in our house

Why is music important to you? It's how I made my living for the past 35 years, and I get a lot of enjoyment in producing it

What do you like to do (at home/ to relax)? play ping pong, foosball, surf the net, cook, spend time with my wife


Fiddlers on the Loose create performance opportunities for young people, too. Local fiddle students are included in school and community concerts, performing alongside the Fiddlers on the Loose musicians.

The Frontier Fiddlers, a group of talented student musicians from the Frontier School Division, have twice performed alongside the MCO as part of their concert series in Winnipeg.

The MCO and Artists In Healthcare Manitoba (AIHM) are honoured to partner with the financial support of Johnston Group, The Winnipeg Foundation, and Manitoba’s Safe at Home program.

Professional musicians from various genres perform concerts for seniors in long-term care, patients and residents in hospitals and hospices, and mental health patients in multiple Manitoba healthcare organizations. During the pandemic, these concerts are offered online at no charge.

Musical styles performed run the gamut from classical to pop—there is something for everyone.


The Fiddlers on the Loose outreach group performs in libraries throughout Winnipeg during the Spring Break with live - and lively - free family performances. Children of all ages explore the wide range of entertaining musical styles and discover how the instruments make the sounds they do.

For families with children up to 12 years of age. Live performances are currently on hold.


Each year, the group also travels to correctional facilities in Manitoba, including Stony Mountain, Rockwood Institute, and the Women’s Correctional Facility.


Chamber Orchestra

A chamber orchestra is a group of up to 40 musicians. Because a chamber orchestra is smaller than a full orchestra (around 100 musicians), each player in the chamber orchestra has an important role.

Chamber orchestras usually don’t perform in full-size concert halls since the numbers of instruments and repertoire are more suited to the acoustics of smaller, more intimate spaces.

String Family

The string family is typically the members of the violin family: violin, viola, cello, and double bass. The harp and the piano are also considered in the string family.

The Violin Family

The members of the violin family are the violin, the viola, the cello, and the double bass.


The violin is a wooden string instrument in the violin family. The violin is the smallest and highest-pitched instrument in the violin family.


The viola is larger than a violin and has a lower and deeper sound.


The cello or violoncello is a string instrument of the violin family with four strings tuned an octave lower than the viola and on octave higher than the double bass.

Double Bass

The double bass is the largest and lowest-pitched bowed string instrument in the violin family.

The Fiddlers on the Loose! play instruments of the violin family, along with the guitar. The standard modern violin family consists of the violin, viola, cello, and double bass (bass).


What is the difference the violin and the fiddle?

Violins are also frequently used in folk, jazz, rock and roll, country music and bluegrass music. The violin is played in many cultures all over the world. The violin is sometimes called a fiddle.


Rodrigo plays a guitar, which is from a different family of instruments. While it has strings, it does not have a bridge, and is not played with a bow. There are many members of the guitar family and they all share the common feature of not having a bridge and of being played by plucking or strumming the strings.


A person who makes or repairs violins is called a luthier or a violin maker. The parts of a violin are usually made from different types of wood with the exception of the electric violin. Violins are usually strung with gut, Perlon or other synthetic or steel strings.


  • What are the names of stringed instruments in an orchestra?
  • What notes are the 4 strings on a violin?
  • What is a scroll?
  • What is the purpose of the chin rest on a violin?
  • How do you use the tuning pegs?
  • What is a violin bridge made of?
  • What are the holes on a violin called?
  • What are violins made out of?
  • What are fine tuners?
  • How many separate pieces of wood does the modern violin contain?
  • What are modern violin strings made of?
  • What part of the violin holds up the strings?
  • What does the tail piece on a violin do?
  • What is the purpose of the bow?
  • How does the bow work?
  • How can it be used to create different types of sound?
  • What is rosin and why is it important for playing a stringed instrument?
  • What does the frog do on a violin bow?
  • What materials are used for the bow of a violin?
  • Pizzicato is another way we play a stringed instrument; listen to Waterdrops and describe how it makes you feel.


  • Brandenburg — 1st and 3rd movt.
  • C Major scale
  • Wizard’s Walk
  • Bailecito en mi
  • Instrument bow construction
  • Beethoven's “Ode to Joy” with 8 different bowing techniques
  • Waterdrops
  • Mueve la centura — rodrigo
  • Drowsy Maggie/Swallowtail
  • Jig Medley
  • Fandango, Boccherini
  • Romanian Train Song
  • Les voyageurs


  • How should we take care of a stringed instrument?
  • How do we rosin a bow? - which rosin should be used and where do we get it?
  • How do we loosen/tighten the hair on the bow?
  • How do we know when the hair is wearing out?
  • How do we set up a bridge properly?
  • How can we use, construct, or adjust a chin rest?
  • Examples of how to tune an instrument - how to play in tune?
  • Bowing techniques
  • Practicing how to play faster
  • When is a bridge is out of position?
  • How can we check if the bow is straight?
  • When is a string worn out?


  • Why does music make us feel a certain way, or help us tell a story?
  • Why do we add music to films and video games?
  • How does music without words convey emotion? For example, why does the Jaws theme sound scary?


  • Why are the musicians reading music while they are playing for you?
  • How can we write music down? Why is it useful to be able to do that?
  • Why does a piece of music have different parts played by different instruments, and why does it sound better when everyone is playing?

Please send us your questions. Email us at