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      Sweet tunes at the Upper Peninsula Chamber Festival

      The halls and auditorium at Kaufman Auditorium came alive...w ith music, that is!

      People of all ages and all walks of life came together Friday for the fourth annual U.P. Chamber Festival. Participants had a full day of lessons and performing, learning new skills and perfecting previously acquired ones.

      "It helps a lot, it does, just this one day. You get in more than you think you could," said Shay Simonds, festival participant.

      Connecting with others through music was an amazing experience for many.

      "Well, it's kind of nerve-wracking because it's my first time, but I think it's a lot of fun because you get to challenge yourself. And it'd be cool if you won, but that's not what it's all about," said Ry Swaty, festival participant.

      Participants were able to have individual critique as well as a mini history lesson on violin making from Paul Bartel. Besides owning his own music store in Ohio, Bartel also owns a real Stradivarius violin, a rare and very old violin worth millions.

      "That's the best it could be, and I had a pretty good collection over about a 30-year period of old Cremonese Italian violins. But not a strad. A strad came available, and the woman that owned it was willing to give me time to sell my collection," said Bartel.

      Everyone involved felt the festival was a great learning experience, and the officials for the U.P. Chamber Festival are hoping to have the fifth annual festival next spring.