In 2008 the VdGSA initiated the "Circuit Rider Program" to provide support to communities that do not have a local viol teacher and wish to set up an ongoing relationship with a viol teacher. The purpose of the program is to provide an opportunity for players in such communities to have ongoing lessons that will give direction to practice time and help set goals.

Change in Circuit Rider program for 2015 only:

For 2015, only Half-Circuits, that is two visits within a half-year period, will be offered. This change is designed to encourage new participation, and a chance for a trial-run for groups of viol players who are not sure they can sustain a full four-visit program.

After 2015, the Half-Circuit will be for first-timers only. In 2015, all Circuit Rider groups should apply for the Half-Circuit only, even if they have had a Circuit Rider before. The guidelines are below, with only the schedule reduced to a half-year.

This one-year change is to bring the program in line with the calendar year, and away from the academic calendar on which it has operated since its inception in 2008. In 2016, the full year four-visit circuits will again be offered, with the Half-Circuits reserved for first-time applicants.

While the deadlines in the VDGSA News were given as April 15 for application and May 15 for notification, the deadlines have been extended to allow more time for this change in schedule for the program. The deadline for application is now May 15, with notice given by June 15.

For more information please contact Jane Hershey, the program coordinator.

Here are the program guidelines:

  • Consult with other local players and assemble a group who are interested in having lessons and willing to make a one-year (4 visits normally, only 2 visits in 2015) commitment to the program. You are advised to have one person in charge of organizing the finances in advance to guarantee the success of the program. This can be done in a number of ways. Here are some examples of models for successful programs.
  • Select a teacher from the list of participants (teachers who have agreed to make the same kind of commitment to you) and contact that teacher directly. Our list of teachers includes their nearest airport, so that you can factor in the travel costs.
  • Contact the teacher and set up a schedule of 2 visits to take place before the end of 2015.
  • Agree to guarantee a minimum of 10 hours of teaching at $50/hour for each 2-day visit; this time could be used for private lessons, group coaching, master classes, and/or beginner sessions. (Note: Your group can decide to divvy the payments up as they see fit, but must provide the teacher with a minimum $500 per visit.)
  • Arrange to provide local transportation, housing, and food for the Circuit Rider during each visit.

Here's what you'll get from the program:

  • A grant of up to $2000 for the year ($500/visit) to cover the Circuit Rider's long-distance travel. (Additional funds are available for communities that can "piggy-back" their visits so that the teacher can make one multi-destination trip.)
  • Continuity: two personalized lessons from the same teacher with time to practice in between.
  • Coaching for any size or level of group, on music chosen by you or provided by your instructor.
  • A choice of teachers who are committed to the goals of the program.
  • An hourly rate below the national average.


"...the trouble is WELL WORTHWHILE.. We've had GREAT teachers and learned from every one." Suzanne Ferguson

"...participation in the Circuit Rider Program with Viols Houston has engendered a strong sense of community and family among us, enabled us to coalesce as a viol community, and has emboldened us to tackle ambitious projects..." Brady Lanier

Here are the teachers who have enlisted in the program:

TeacherCityAirport Code
Jack AshworthLouisvilleSDF
Joanna BlendulfMadison, ALHSV, BHM, BNA
Rachel CamaPhiladelphiaPHL
Tina ChanceyWashington DCWAS
Julie ElhardMinneapolis/St. PaulMSP
Wendy GillespieBloomington, ININD
Jane HersheyBostonMHT
Lisle KulbachBoston/New YorkBOS,NYC
Josh LeeJacksonvilleJAX
Carol LewisBostonBOS
Larry LipnikNew YorkLGA,JRK
Betsy MacMillanMontrealYUL
Sarah MeadBostonBOS/PVD
Ros MorleyNew YorkNYC
Joëlle MortonTorontoYYZ
Annalisa PappanoCincinnatiCVG,DAY
Alice RenkenMinneapolis/St. PaulMSP
Lesley RetzerLong IslandISP,LGA
Tulio RondonMinneapolis/St. PaulMSP
Gail Ann SchroederAshevilleAVL,CLT,GSP
Phillip SernaChicagoCHI
Elin SoderstomMontrealYUL
Mary SpringfelsCerrillos, NMSAF,ABQ
Carolyn SurrickBaltimoreBWI

How to apply

Download the application form here and send the completed form to Jane Hershey:
  • by email, as a scanned attachment. (Click here for email address.)
  • or by regular mail (hard copy):
    Jane Hershey
    19 Blakeville Rd.
    Rindge, NH 03461-9730

The deadline for applications is May 15 this year.

For information about applications or general information about the Circuit Rider Program, contact Jane Hershey.