Youth Programs


Michael Sawzin, Director of Youth Programming and Strings Instructor


While at the Eastman School of Music, Michael Sawzin completed dual Master of Music degrees in Saxophone Performance and Literature under the tutelage of Dr. Chien-Kwan Lin and Music Education under Dr. Richard Grunow. He previously completed dual Bachelor of Music degrees with Honors in Music Education and Saxophone Performance from Wright State University in Dayton, OH, under the study of Dr. Shelley Jagow.  

Michael is a founding member of the Eastman Saxophone Project, the saxophone quartet, Project Fusion. As a member of Project Fusion, he has been awarded top prizes in the 2012 North American Saxophone Alliance Quartet Competition (AZ), the 2012 Coleman Chamber Music Competition (CA), and the 2012 J.C. Arriaga Chamber Music Competition (CT). The quartet has also received 1st prize in the 2013 MTNA Chamber Music Competition, grand prize and audience award at the 2013 Plowman Chamber Music Competition, and Gold Medal at the 2013 Fischoff National Chamber Music Competition.

As a member of the Avion Saxophone Quartet, Michael received the Edgar Hardy Early Impact Scholarship, the Dayton Chamber Music Scholarship, and the Chamber Music Fellowship at the University of Nebraska at Lincoln. Avion was also chosen to perform at the International Symposium for Music Education in Bologna, Italy. Avion released their first CD in 2009 featuring two world premieres: Stop is the New Go by A.J. McCaffery and Green No. 26 by Chris Serena.

Michael teaches in various settings ranging from beginning instrumental instruction to collegiate teaching. He was formerly the Instructor of Saxophone at the University of California Riverside and Instructor of Woodwinds at Fountain Valley High School in Fountain Valley, CA. He has recently moved to Chestertown and now teaches the majority of lessons for the Fiddlesticks! Program.

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Caitlin Patton, Executive Director and Strings Instructor

Caitlin Patton

Caitlin Patton serves as Executive Director of OuterArts Maryland, Inc. and teaches violin, viola and cello in the Fiddlesticks! program. She performs with the Union Symphony Orchestra (North Carolina) and the Chester River Chorale. Caitlin serves as a grant review panelist for the Maryland State Arts Council and on the Boards of Directors of the Humane Society of Kent County and the Chester River Chorale. 

Caitlin received her Master of Public Administration program at the College of Charleston in Charleston, South Carolina, where she focused her studies in Arts and Nonprofit Administration. She was the graduate assistant in the Arts Management program, where she worked on graduate student recruitment and with the Charleston Jazz Initiative. Upon her graduation, she was inducted into Pi Alpha Alpha, the national public administration honor society, and received the MPA program’s Outstanding Student Award in recognition of her 4.0 cumulative GPA and involvement in the MPA community.

Born in Baltimore, Caitlin grew up on Maryland’s Eastern Shore where she developed a passion for reading, writing and music as well as animal rescue and equestrian pursuits. She was admitted to Washington College at the age of 15 and graduated magna cum laude four years later with majors in Humanities and Music and minors in Creative Writing and English. Both during and after college, she taught violin and horseback riding lessons and trained horses professionally. Her arts administration experience includes positions with Spoleto Festival USA, the Boston Symphony Orchestra (at the Tanglewood Music Center) and as the first Executive Director of the Mid-Atlantic Symphony Orchestra.

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Nevin Dawson, Presenter and Strings Instructor

Nevin Dawson

Nevin Dawson (violin, viola) studied music at Pennsylvania State University and has played with many symphonies and chamber ensembles, including Pennsylvania Centre Orchestra, Canberra Symphony Orchestra, and the Mid-Atlantic Symphony Orchestra. He premiered several works in the Musica Nova concert series at Penn State, and played with the Penn State Chamber Orchestra for its European tour. He currently teaches violin, viola, and cello at Music Life in Chestertown. He has also played with a variety of rock and folk bands for more than 15 years, and currently plays with The Pam Ortiz Band, Harp & Soul, and Ricky Walls and the North County Pickers. He is recorded on seven albums.

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