Laurie Melting grew up in a musical household, with parents who were Band and Orchestra Directors. After deciding to pursue a music career, she received her Bachelors Degree in Music from Northwestern University, and Masters Degree from DePaul University. Her private teaches have included Ron Balazs of the Minnesota Orchestra, Samuel Magad, concertmaster of the Chicago Symphony, Myron Kartman and Mark Zinger. Throughout her career, Laurie has played with various chamber groups, including Chicago based Kreisler String Quartet, which traveled throughout Europe. In addition to her classical training, Laurie studied jazz with the great Gary Schulte, top jazz violinist in the Twin Cities. She uses her training and experience to create all of Ovation’s arrangements of popular/contemporary songs. Other interests include travelling, biking and hiking with her husband.
Sue Bennefeld graduated from the University of Minnesota with a degree in violin performance. Violin instructors included Herman Straka of the Minnesota Orchestra and Lea Foli, former concertmaster of the Minnesota Orchestra. Sue also plays with the Wooddale Church Orchestra. Previously, she played with Rochester Symphony and has been Concertmaster of Wayzata Symphony, Dakota Valley Symphony, Golden Valley Orchestra and Minneapolis JCC Orchestras. In addition to performing, Sue has a full music studio of private violin and viola students. Sue loves to rug hook and has made many beautiful rugs.
Sarah Bennefeld comes from a very musical background, as her mother is a violinist and her father was a bassist and refined Luthier. Sarah graduated with an Associate of Arts degree with emphasis in Music and an Associate of Fine Arts degree with Viola Performance from Normandale Community College. During that time, she studied with Richard Marshall of the Minnesota Orchestra. By the time she graduated, Sarah was already a very active freelance musician and private teacher in the Twin Cities. Sarah has played with the Rochester Symphony, the Mankato Symphony Orchestra and Exultate, and also has a studio of private violin and viola students in her home studio and at Blue Tree Music Education.
Julia Stewart grew up in White Rock, British Columbia and began her music journey at age 4 when she asked her mother for violin lessons. The cello teacher in town was cheaper, so cello it was. Julia didn't know the difference between the two instruments at the time, but now knows that cello was the instrument for her! At the age of 12, Julia was asked to join the Wisteria String Quartet, apprentice quartet of the Philadelphia Orchestra-based Wister Quartet. The group performed twice at Lincoln Center, as well as for Maestro Christoph Eschenbach of the Philadelphia Orchestra. Julia was a winner of both the Golden Key and American Fine Arts Festival which earned her two solo performances at Carnegie Hall. Julia is a graduate of Indiana University Jacobs School of Music where she sat associate principal chair of the school's top orchestra. While at IU she majored in cello performance and collaborated with Joshua Bell, Leonard Slatkin, Andre Watts, Janos Starker, Stanlisav Scrowaczewski, among others. Besides playing with Ovation, Julia teaches at Blue Tree Music Education and is an Admissions Counselor at Minnehaha Academy. Julia is a runner and has accomplished many races, including the Twin Cities and Boston Marathons.