The Uptown Mandolin Quartet of Lawrence has a 25 year tradition of performing classical music on mandolin family instruments. The quartet seeks out music from all periods that enhances the unique sound quality of the mandolin. They use some standard string quartet literature, but often pieces are arranged by founder and director Jeff Dearinger.
Jeff founded the ensemble in 1973. The original group, the Lawrence Mandolin & Guitar Ensemble, varied in size and instrumentation and became a quartet in 1981. All the current members learned to play their instruments specifically for this ensemble. Beth Dearinger first picked up a mandolin in 1974, Charles Higginson took up the mandola in 1976, and Mike Stewart traded his violin for a mandolin in 1992. They have performed around the region and at conventions of the Classical Mandolin Society of America in Nashville, Tenn.; Montreal, Canada; Minneapolis, Minn.; Providence, Rhode Island; and Louisville, Ky.
The Uptown Mandolin Quartet plays vintage Gibson instruments: 1924 F-4 Mandolin, 1921 F-4 Mandolin, 1923 H-4 Mandola, 1924 K-4 Mandocello.