Tangents: life  beyond biology...


Alice as a violist... many years agoMy first love (and career) was music, and music remains a hugely important source of happiness in my life. I was trained as a professional violist and spent several years playing viola in orchestras - first in the Costa Rican National Symphony, and then in the New World Symphony in Florida. When I gave up music professionally, I didn't play at all for a couple of years, but then gradually began jamming, improvising, and exploring less formal musical opportunities. Finally, I discovered the big wide world of fiddling, and got hooked.

Alice as a fiddlerAt my first jam in Tucson, January 2005, I met two of my current band mates and good friends Dave Firestine and Claire Zucker. I now play irish, Appalachian old-time, and contra dance tunes. I also dabble in French Canadian and Scottish/Cape Breton tunes. I can (sort-of) fake my way through a bluegrass jam, and enjoy accompanying singers (on both fiddle and viola) in folk music. I've been in several bands, but these days, mainly play with my husband Robert as the Dire Ducks, or together with Robert, Dave, and Claire in our touring contra dance band, STEAM!. I recently have begun learning clawhammer banjo.

Since 2006, I've gone each year to the Walnut Valley Festival in Winfield KS, where I can be found jamming all day and most of the night with my Winfield family at Carp Camp. Now I only live 2.5 hrs away and can see more of my musical family during the rest of the year!

Check out STEAM! on Facebook:


I first got into biology through outdoor pursuits. As an undergrad at UBC, I was heavily involved in the Varsity Outdoors Club, and extended my previous love of hiking with rock-climbing, moutaineering, kayaking, and back-country skiing skills. I started birding when I moved to Costa Rica because I couldn't find any exposed rock! I do fewer of the riskier sports these days, but when possible, go on trips that usually involve some combination of natural history and strenuous activity.  Here is a taste of recent trips.
Canoe trip in Algonquin park, summer 2010
Canoing in Algonquin Park, Ontario. 

Backpacking on the Bruce Trail (Ontario) with my brother, Michael.

Skiing Manning
Skiing in Manning Park, BC. Christmas 2011.