Mandan News

Returning to play for grandma

Preston Schmidt began the concert at Edgewood Vista, Mandan, by playing one of his grandmother’s favorite songs.  (Dustin White photo)

Preston Schmidt began the concert at Edgewood Vista, Mandan, by playing one of his grandmother’s favorite songs. (Dustin White photo)

By Dustin White
Mandan News, editor

Performing for one’s grandmother can be a rewarding experience. When learning a new musical instrument, children are often eager to play for an audience. Grandmothers are also there for encouragement, especially when others may not appreciate those early musical skills.

Eventually, sometimes that attention pays off, such as when that grandchild takes an early passion for music and turns it into a career. That is exactly what Preston Schmidt has done.

Schmidt, a Mandan native, started playing the violin at age three. Seeing that their son had a passion for the instrument, his parents started lessons for him at the Suzuki School of Music in Bismarck. There, Schmidt began learning classical pieces, and eventually expanded his focus to bluegrass style music.

As Schmidt progressed with his musical abilities, he was honored for the music that he played. Throughout the years, he has been named the state Fiddle Champion in North Dakota, Minnesota, Montana and Wyoming.

Making the decision to pursue a career in music, Schmidt attended and graduated from Bismarck State College, and then went on to attend Middle Tennessee State University, where he graduated with a B.S. in Recording Industry with a concentration in Production Terminology.

Since then, Schmidt, who now resides in Nashville, has stayed busy. Whether it is producing music, or touring with his band, Brand New Strings, he has been able to make a career out of his passion.

However, Schmidt isn’t too busy to continue to play for his grandmother, Hildegard Steckler. Having returned to North Dakota, in order to play at his cousin’s wedding, Schmidt couldn’t pass up the opportunity to visit his grandmother. “You have to do this type of thing for grandma,” Schmidt said.

Steckler, who is a resident at Edgewood Vista Mandan, was treated to a concert by Schmidt, when he performed at Edgewood on Friday, July 11. Opening with one of his grandma’s favorite songs, Schmidt played more than a dozen songs for the large audience at Edgewood that included a large majority of Edgewood Mandan residents and many of Steckler’s family and friends.

“This was the largest turnout we have had for any of our musical performance events, “Stephanie McGregor, Marketing Director at Edgewood Vista, said.

Hildegard Steckler, left, standing with her grandson, Preston Schmidt. (Dustin White photo)

Hildegard Steckler, left, standing with her grandson, Preston Schmidt. (Dustin White photo)