An Interview with Hailey Sandoz

I’ve been the emcee at the North Texas Irish Festival for a few years and it was there that  I heard and met Hailey Sandoz.  I was so impressed with this beautiful, talented young lady that I felt I should write this interview. She is on Facebook, and you can find her schedule there and on her website, listed below.


1. Q: When did you first pick up the fiddle/violin? When was the first time you heard it and knew that’s what you wanted to do? 

I started playing violin when I was eight-years-old.  My Friend Caroline Adams, who was 13, would bring her violin to a homeschool gatherings we attended, and would play a few tunes. I started really showing interest in playing the violin, and asked Caroline if she would teach me.

2. Q: You’ve received several awards. Tell my readers about those.

Well, in 2012 I won the Southwest Celtic Music Association Scholarship Award. I used the money towards going to the Nataile MacMaster Leahy Music camp in Canada. While I was at the Leahy camp I was privileged to receive for fiddle, the camp spirit award, which came with very generous music related prizes.

3. Q: How would you describe your style and songs?

My style is made up of various genres of music. Besides Celtic music, I play Country, Bluegrass, French Canadian, and a little bit of Blues and Swing. I recently joined a Bluegrass band called “Nickelvile Road.” Anyway, my style has a little of all those.

4. Q: What advice would you give others who want to learn Irish/Scottish fiddle?

My advice is to go to the O’Flaherty Irish Music youth camp and O’Flaherty Retreat. The O’Flaherty Youth Camp is coming up June 24th-25th is still time to sign up). I’ve been going to both of these for years and each time I go I learn a lot! Last year the North Texas School of Irish Music was put together to help kids start playing Irish music and to learn more about it. I also recommend going to lots of sessions. You should also listen to as many recordings as you can.

5. Q: Tell us about your fiddle that you use.

I bought my current fiddle at the Luthier Fiddle Shop in Aubrey Tx. It was made by Steven T. Cundall. It is a Giorgio Luigi Belloso Valencia. It is such a great fiddle!

6. Q: Tell me about your touring schedule and future plans.

As I said before, I play many genres with different people. To highlight a few, I perform a mix of Celtic and Old Tyme with a great guitarist friend, Joseph Carmichael. Joseph and I have played many venues over the years. We’ve performed at the North Texas Irish Festival two years in a row, we’ve also performed a couple times at the Celtic Night at the Library at the Allen Library in their performance hall, this past March. Joseph Carmichael and I are performing monthly (except July, when he is out of the country) at McKinney Farmers Market on Chestnut square. We are performing there on June 22nd . I play 2 services every Sunday with the band at Cowboy Church of Collin County. I usually perform once a month at Crossroads Cowboy Church in McKinney with the Crossroads Cowboy band. We performed in March at the Mesquite Resistol Arena in March and will also be performing with them again on June 30th at the Crossroads Freedom Celebration, you can get more information on the website. I play once a month at Trinity Hall Restaurant and Pub with the Trinity Hall Session Players. Also performing with Bluegrass band – Nickelville Road at Wylie Jubilee Bluegrass on Ballard Festival on Saturday July 6th and August 17th at the Acoustic Music Society in Paris Texas, The Chrystal Opry House is in Whitewright/Tom Bean area November 2nd . For more events go to my website

7. Q: Favorite tunes?

There are so many great tunes its hard to choose one over the other. But Here’s a few tunes: “Jeans reel,” “Guns of the Magnificent Seven,” and the “Oblique Jig.”

8. Q: What is hardest thing to learn playing Celtic fiddle?

The bowing style is probably the hardest thing to overcome. There is so many techniques for bowing and patterns.

9. Q: Why do you like what you do?

It’s a lot of fun, it give me something I can share with others, and it’s great sessioning with other people.

10. Q: Who has had the greatest influence on your musical career?

Liz Carroll, and Patrick McAviune are my biggest influences. Though I have many influences, Clare Cason who is my fiddle teacher has really helped me over the years. I also want to acknowledge Ken Fleming, Peggy Fleming, Gordon McLeod, Michelle Feldman, and Rick Roberts, and many more.

11 Q: What are your future plans?

I plan to play music professionally, maybe be a recording artist, and work with horses on the side.

12. Q: Your website/manager?

My website is:
My manager is my mom Julia Sandoz.

13. Q: You’re an Irish step dancer. Inform my readers what that is and means.

Irish dance is a form of dance originating from Ireland. Most people refer to it as Riverdance. There are solo dances, and group dances called Figures. Most dancers go to competitions called Feis’. There are several types of dances Jig, Reel, Slip jig, Single jig, Treble jig, Hornpipe, and Treble reel.

One thought on “An Interview with Hailey Sandoz

  1. I’m impressed. And I certainly didn’t know that Celtic fiddling incorporates different bowing techniques and patterns. Amanda Shaw is one of my favorite fiddlers; I believe that she’s based in New Orleans and plays a “jazzy” blue grass.

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