Soldotna Community News

Posted: Monday, September 17, 2007

What do the Dixie River Rats, Redoubt Chamber Orchestra and the Bluegrass Jam have in common? If you haven't guessed, it's Sue Biggs.

If you've tapped your foot at a local community function, it's likely she was there makin' that music. She sings, plays violin, fiddle and piano. She performs in seven local groups, teaches and composes.

She grew up in a musical home where her father sang country. Her mother sang boogie woogie, lots of harmony and played Spike Jones and classical records. Her siblings play and sing and even now when she gets together with cousins they have huge jam sessions.

She was born in Hoquiam, Wash., and grew up on the West Coast. Sue studied piano and was classically trained as a violinist. She went to Western Washington University and received her degree in music education for grades kindergarten through 12.

She was married more than 20 years and has two children. Max, 20, and Heidi, 21. Both are musicians and live in Seattle attending college.

While raising her family, Sue kept involved with music. In Colorado she was the music director at the Lutheran Church and learned to play hand bells and wrote hand bell music, which has been published.

She came to Alaska in the 80's and substituted in Metlakata. For the past nine years she's taught in Soldotna and Kenai and taught music at Redoubt Elementary for four years. Sue is passionate about teaching music and said, "The reason I love what I do is that I can bring to the kids a love of different styles of music and make music real and connected to them. I'm teaching what I love. It's fun to bring my life experience to them and pass it to them."

Being very afraid of performing when she was young, she marvels that now she's performing in so many groups. She plays fiddle in the bluegrass band, Spur Highway Spankers (spank the banjo as you play it) and was instrumental in starting the Bluegrass Jam Group. It meets every first Thursday at Christ Lutheran Church, and is open to anyone to play or listen.

She plays violin, and her best friend and fiance, Jack Will, plays guitar, at a lot of functions.

She plays violin for the Kenai Peninsula Orchestra, the Redoubt Chamber Orchestra, Kalgin Island String Quartet and the pit orchestras of the Kenai Performers. She plays piano for the Dixie River Rats and the Christ Lutheran Church for a contemporary worship service (Christian music) on Sunday evenings.

She's also a member of Worth Many Cattle, a four part women's harmony group that sings many original songs they write.

In her spare time she loves to garden, sew, shoot pictures of flowers, cats, nature and birds, and spoil her cat. She is trying to learn watercolor painting too.

It's great to have Sue in our community. She's so willing to share her musical talents and help others.

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