Rocky Mountain Strings is an advanced performing group of young violinists directed by Deborah Moench, Ramona Stirling, Asheley Watabe and Chandelle Fairbanks. Shelley Astle is the accompanist, with Michael Thomas McLean as their in house composer/arranger. In August of 2015, they toured Russia, Estonia, and Latvia. In 2011 they toured Belgium and France where they performed in various venues and participated in a workshop with the studio of Koen Rens in Turnhout, Belgium. In August of 2008 the group toured Argentina, performing for thousands in concert halls with the Suzuki students of Buenos Aires and Cordoba. The group has also performed at the International Suzuki Association of the Americas Conference in Chicago (1998) and in Minneapolis (2006). In 2003 the group gave performances throughout Italy. At the invitation of the Wieniawski School of Music in Lodz, Poland, the group performed in Poland and the Czech Republic in October 2000.
They have also toured Utah and Idaho several times. Locally Rocky Mountain Strings loves performing at venues such as Libby Gardner Hall, the Assembly Hall on Temple Square, Interfaith Choir Festivals, First Night, the Utah Symphony Lobbyfest, conventions, churches, private parties, and many schools. Every spring they donate three school assemblies to local schools to spread the love of classical music to other young people.
Rocky Mountain Strings Directors
Deborah Moench began teaching the violin when she was in the 5th grade, one year after beginning lessons! This began a love of sharing music with children that has never ceased. In 1978 Hiroko Primrose introduced Debbie to the Suzuki Method of teaching violin. This was a great gift to Debbie and all her subsequent students. Currently Debbie maintains a large violin studio in Salt Lake city. She is co-director with Ramona Stirling of Rocky Mountain Strings, a performance group for their advanced students. Debbie is a past president of the Suzuki Association of Utah and the coordinator of the 2012 Suzuki Association of the Americas Conference in Minneapolis, Minnesota.
Ramona Stirling has been the director of the Intermountain Suzuki String Institute in Salt Lake City, Utah, for twenty three years. She has been teaching the Suzuki violin method for 30 years. Mrs. Stirling maintains a violin studio of 40 students. Ramona Stirling and Deborah Moench are co-directors of the Rocky Mountain Strings, an advanced violin performing group that has toured Europe twice and recently returned from Argentina. The group performed at the SAA International Teacher Convention in 1998 and 2006. Her other great loves besides the violin are downhill skiing, hiking, traveling, and knitting. She is the Suzuki mother of four grown children. She has a degree in Humanities from Brigham Young University. From 1980-83 she had three years of long term Suzuki training with Hiroko Primrose, and has taken many short term courses over the last 30 years.