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Alumni Profile: Christian Sedelmyer (’03)

Since graduating from Cathedral Prep in 2003, Christian Sedelmyer has started and continued to have a very successful music career as a fiddler who has been nominated for a Grammy.

This CP alum chose Prep because his father, Jon, went to the school during the 1960s. “I think I just grew up thinking that I wanted to be a Rambler,” Sedelmyer said, “Even though [my dad] had taught and coached women’s basketball at Mercyhurst by the time I was born.”

While being a Rambler, Sedelmyer chose to be a part of the policy debate team. He continued to participate in debate for four years, and he still recalls it as being one of his favorite memories while at Prep. He was even able to get a Presidential Scholarship because of his ability in debate, which eventually helped him gain admittance to Wake Forest University. 

“I loved being a member of the policy debate team. I joined first semester freshman year, and it became my life for four years,” Sedelmyer recalls, “My coach at Wake, Ross Smith, often said, ‘Debate prepares you to analyze all the given information in a certain situation, and then use that analysis to make the best possible decision. We have to make decisions every day of our lives.’ That still resonates with me today.”

Besides having a successful debate career in high school and college, Sedelmyer is an extremely talented musician. At just the age of five, Sedelmyer picked up the violin as his first instrument. While growing up, his father played the guitar often in the house, eventually inspiring Christian to further his musical talents. 

“My Dad is probably my biggest inspiration in music. I grew up hearing him play guitar and sing around the house every day…I feel like I really came of age listening to him play Neil Young, Paul Simon, and Crosby, Stills and Nash songs.”

When Christian got into high school, he formed a band known as Doublethink with some of his fellow classmates. In this musical conglomerate, Sedelmyer played the electric violin, adding a unique aspect to the rock band. 

So what led to Seddelmyer’s professional career in the music industry? Fresh out of college, he took a consulting job in Washington, D.C. In less than one year, he decided to move to Nashville, Tennessee, in 2008. Here, his interest in music exploded into something he couldn’t have imagined.

“Since moving to Nashville, I’ve gotten pretty deep into bluegrass, American old time music, and old country music, which a lot of people associate the fiddle with,” Sedelmyer said. 

In 2009, he joined the acoustic pop group The Farewell Drifters. After two and a half years of nationally touring, performing at popular festivals, and releasing two albums, Sedlmyer’s reputation was beginning to inflate rapidly in the music industry. His success even drew the attention of stars such as Bluegrass musician Jerry Douglas, which led to many lifelong memories for Sedelmyer. 

“My first major musical experience was in 2013 at the Hardly Strictly Bluegrass Festival in San Francisco’s Golden Gate Park. I was asked to play fiddle in a house band for a tribute set and got to play with a bunch of musical heroes – Emmylou Harris, Vince Gill and Jerry Douglas,” he said. “The following year, Jerry Douglas invited me to play in his band, and this year, our album What If got nominated for a Grammy. Bill Murray came to a show the Jerry Douglas Band played in Charleston, SC and hung out with us after the show. That was insane,” Sedelmyer reminisced. 

Sedelmyer also doesn’t let recent success get into his head and slow down his work. 

“I’m always recording and working on new things. My band 10 String Symphony recorded a new album in Scotland that we’re releasing this summer, so we’ll be touring to support it this fall,” he continued, “Hopefully a hometown show in Erie, as well!” 

It was announced today that 10 String Symphony’s new album Generation Frustration will be available to the public on July 13. To read the release and listen to one of the tracks, “One Way Telephone,” check out the announcement from American Songwriter

It doesn’t seem like Sedelmyer plans on slowing down his musical career anytime soon. When I asked him if he had any regrets about leaving his job in D.C, he responded accordingly. “Never. I think working a job that I really hated for a year before jumping into music professionally was very important for grounding and context,” Sedelmyer concluded. “I’ll admit; it did feel a bit like a dream at first. But I’ve been doing this for ten years now, and so at this point, it mostly just feels like I found the right job for me.”

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