Sandy Schniewind, Contrabass

Sandy Schniewind, Contrabass

Sandy comes from a very musical Bay Area family. Her mother was Concertmaster of Prometheus Symphony until 1973, when she joined the Oakland Symphony and played with them for 38 years. Sandy learned piano from her grandmother, then played violin. In fourth grade, she played in the Kensington Community Orchestra with Robin Hansen, conducted by Bob Hansen (who just might be related to Eric Hansen).

“In sixth grade, my music teacher said, ‘we need a bass player and since you play piano, you can read bass clef. Here’s a bass.’” Sandy basically taught herself how to play it. She played it through school, but got really tired of lugging the bass around on buses. The lure of jazz and folk rock led her to singing and playing guitar with the Oakland Jazz Choir and folk rock bands—that heavy bass fell out of her life.

Meanwhile, Sandy went to UC San Diego and University of the Pacific in Stockton, getting a degree in music therapy. She’s now Director of Rehabilitation at the Gladman Mental Health Rehabilitation Center, a facility for long-term psychiatric care.

In the summer of 2009, Sandy signed up for a chamber workshop week, on piano. The Director found out she had played bass and persuaded her to borrow one of theirs and play bass instead. “I had to use Google to see if the bass would even fit in my car. I realized then that I regretted giving up such a beautiful instrument.” Sandy started taking lessons and talked with Eric Hansen about joining Prometheus.

“It’s really great for me to have my own music to balance my life out. Prometheus is really fun and I love our bass section. Plus it’s a nice family connection with my mother.” And just to keep music interesting, Sandy also plays with a tango group and a chamber orchestra.

~Joyce Vollmer

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