BY JESSICA THOMAS – PONY EXPRESS
Editor’s note: This piece is provided by Hoof Prints, a partnership between the Stillwater Gazette and The Pony Express, Stillwater Area High School’s student newspaper.
In the fast-paced world we all live in today, it is hard to make time for the things we love to do. But one St. Croix Valley resident has brought his childhood passion with him to adulthood and made a flourishing career out of it.
Brian Wicklund has been fiddling since he was 7 years old. When he was first introduced to bluegrass music when he was 10 years old, it changed the way he saw music forever.
Throughout his teen years, he played in a fiddle band with his father. His father is one of his main inspirations for living his passion.
“It was a great way to spend time with my pop,” Wicklund said. “Not only did I learn a lot about music, but I learned a lot about life in talking to my dad on the way home from late night gigs.”
After his teen years he became a touring musician. He has played in Japan, the deserts of Oman and many more locations all over the world. He continues to play in a band called The Barley Jacks, as well as hosting music camps and teaching kids how to play the fiddle.
“My brother took his fiddle class and he loved it because he said Mr. Wicklund is really into it and that makes him really inspirational,” Stillwater Area High School sophomore Cecilia Peterson said.
After a student has played for six months, Wicklund invites the student to play in one of his monthly jam sessions at a variety of venues.
“I have been to a few of the shows,” Stillwater Area High School junior Megan Weaver said. “The kids look really talented and like they have had a great teacher and a fun time.”
During the month of December, the chosen venue was at a new, but well-known, restaurant called Tin Bins in downtown Stillwater. The concert was Dec. 19.
“I haven’t ever performed there,” Wicklund explained. “It’s a new venue for me. However, it seemed like a great venue for my student recital with good food and a homey feel — perfect to help my students feel comfortable.”
Wicklund’s passion for music is reflected in the care he has for his students and his emphasis on ensuring his students enjoy learning to play.
“A lot of the friendships that develop are really deep and long lasting,” Wicklund said. “Many become really close. Some of them have formed bands that now play regularly.”
Wicklund not only lives out his musical passion, but he also has three kids he loves, and he has many other hobbies.
“As far as non-musical endeavors, I really like Nordic skiing and volunteer coach with the Stillwater High School Nordic Ski Team,” Wicklund said. “I also trail run, split a lot of firewood, cook a lot of food and have been teaching myself Swedish language.”