Mark Kreitzer (guitar, banjo, fiddle, bass, mandolin, mandocello, mandola, Dobro, ukulele). The Minnesota Bluegrass and Old-Time Music Association (MBOTMA) recognized Mark’s virtuosity by presenting him with its first Favorite Bluegrass Multi-Instrumentalist award. Mark also is a member of the Clearwater Hot Club, Patty and the Buttons, and the Mill City Hot Club. He often sits in with other local groups, including Becky Schlegel, The Platte Valley Boys, Twin Cities Hot Club, and the French 75. He was a long-time member of the Harmonious Wail and, as a member of the Middle Spunk Creek Boys, was inducted into the Minnesota Rock and Country Hall of Fame. Mark, a prolific songwriter and recipient of MBOTMA’s first Favorite Bluegrass Songwriter award, has recorded two CDs of his originals — “Pages” (solo CD) and “The Mark Kreitzer Band.” A number of other bands have recorded his music, as well. One of Mark’s most recent projects was writing the music and lyrics for the Minnesota Centennial Showboat musical, Mark Twain’s Mississippi, based on Twain’s book, Life on the Mississippi. Laurie Lewis captures Mark’s writing with a simple statement: “ This fellow has something to say.” Mark is an educator, as well, currently teaching American Folk Instruments at Carleton College
Anthony Ihrig (banjo, dobro, guitar, percussion, vocals), a former rock and roll drummer, has spent the last ten years making a name for himself in the Upper Midwest’s booming acoustic music scene. In 1999, he co-founded the Twin Cities-based string band Free Range Pickin’, who were at the forefront of a “newgrass” revolution that helped introduce modern string band music to a whole new generation of fans. In 2006, he co-founded The High 48s Bluegrass Band, one of the premier traditional bluegrass bands in the region and winners of the prestigious RockyGrass Bluegrass Band Competition in Lyons, Colorado. Anthony was one of a handful of songwriters selected for the 2012 International Bluegrass Music Association’s (IBMA) Songwriter Showcase at the World of Bluegrass convention in Nashville, TN. He has released nine full-length albums, toured the US playing major bluegrass festivals, recorded one of his original songs with Grammy-winning Nashville musicians Randy Kohrs and Mike Compton, performed with Prairie Home Companion’s Garrison Keillor, consulted with banjo virtuoso Bela Fleck about the history of the banjo before Fleck’s Throw Down Your Heart album/film, and has had his original music featured in film and on radio stations across the country. You can learn more about Anthony at anthonyihrig.com
Chuck Kreitzer’s (bass, vocals) father taught orchestral strings, his mother taught vocal music and orchestra, and all six Kreitzer children played instruments, starting with piano and venturing out from there, generally to stringed instruments and folk music. Chuck went the classical route and played the French horn until college, initially planning a double major in French horn and voice. He started down a slippery slope, however, when his high school band teacher asked him to fill the band’s need for a bass player. At the University of South Dakota, Vermillion, he gave up the French horn but continued playing orchestral bass, then got his masters in bass from the University of Colorado, Boulder. Upon his return to the Midwest, Mark led him and his bass astray, and Chuck joined Mark first in the Middle Spunk Creek Boys, then in the newly-formed Mark Kreitzer Band. Not wanting to turn his back completely on his love of orchestral music and education, Chuck played for a number of years with the St. Paul Civic Orchestra, Bloomington Symphony, Wayzata Community Orchestra, and the Metropolitan Orchestra, and now is nearing his 30th year teaching strings (violin, cello, bass, and viola) in Hopkins public schools.
“Doctor Tom” Schaefer (fiddle) started medical school 1975, and, not having enough to do, started learning to fiddle, quickly becoming the South Dakota State Fiddle Champion (’78, ’79, ’80) and North Dakota State Fiddle Champion (’87). He’s currently a member of Cousin Dad, Tune Jerks, and Cagley Black, Schaefer, Njoes, and plays with Rugged Road, Clearwater Hot Club, Platte Valley Boys, and Mary Henderson/Geoff Shannon. He often sits in with other local groups, including seven at the 2012 MBOTMA Winter Bluegrass Weekend, possibly setting a festival record! Tom’s fiddling has been recorded on more than 60 CD’s, and he has performed with many notable performers, including Country Music Hall of Famers Hank Thompson and Jethro Burns, Grammy winners Riders in the Sky and Clay Hess, Texas Playboy alumni Tiny Moore and Eldon Shamblin, and Bluegrass Boy alumnus Bob Black, as well as with Tommy Emmanuel, Peter Ostrousko, Paddy O’Brien, Daithi’ Sproule, Altan, Jay Ungar, Liz Carroll, Michael Cleveland, Garrison Keillor, Dean Magraw, Dan Newton, Katie McMahon, Mike Auldrige, Randy Kohrs, Brian Miller, Norah Rendell, Jack Lawrence, Tim Hennessy, Laura MacKenzie, and Ross Sutter.