String Sisters tune up for Holidays at Empire Mine |

String Sisters tune up for Holidays at Empire Mine

Courtney Ferguson
Submitted to Prospector
Submitted photo

Celtic music, holiday spirit and pure joy make a String Sisters appearance a memorable experience. The teen trio features Emilie Roberts Brockway on fiddle, Lexi Tyrrell on cello, and Delphine Griffith on harp. The girls met at Nevada City School of the Arts, where the extensive music program encourages students to be interpretive and learn to play by ear.

Alasdair Fraser is a revered mentor and attending his Sierra Fiddle Camp is a summer highlight. The girls have participated in Fraser’s Spring Concert Tour, and are regulars at Nevada City’s Victorian Christmas and Grass Valley’s Cornish Christmas events. Performing at KVMR’s 2012 Celtic Festival enabled the girls to grow both as musicians and as entertainers. Appearances on NCTV and at local nonprofit events have helped raise funds for many a worthy cause.

The String Sisters will be the featured entertainers at Holidays at Empire Mine, Friday and Saturday. They’ll perform in Bourn Cottage, where around 1,000 people visit each day.

“When I was around 10 years old I used to appear at Bourn Cottage as one of the children,” Emilie Roberts Brockway said. “Volunteering made me feel like part of the history and part of our community. It was a great experience, and I’ve missed it. Now I’ll get to do it again, only this time with the band. Lexi, Delphine and I are really excited. It’s quite an honor, really. We’ll be playing traditional Celtic music, of course. We’re also working on collecting random items to make us look they way they did in 1905. It will be fun to perform there and see our friends as well as all the many guests who will attend.”

Holidays at Empire Mine is an annual celebration that, historically, attracts around 1,000 visitors each day. With music by the String Sisters, traditional decorations, lavish, brand-new costumes and free Gold Star cookies and hot, spiced cider being served, Bourn Cottage is a good place to start the festive season. Santa Claus will be greeting families and listening to children’s wishes in the Clubhouse — with hot dogs, drinks and kettle corn for sale outside.

The Mineyard will be open, with demonstrations in the blacksmith shop. Even the old offices will be bustling with activity, as docents in turn-of-the-century costumes relive Empire Mine’s glory days as one of the oldest, largest and most prosperous, hard-rock gold mines in American history. The Gift Shop features hundreds of unusual items for gold mining/history enthusiasts, as well as mementoes.

For information, contact Empire Mine State Historic Park at (530) 273-8522, or

Support Local Journalism

Support Local Journalism

Readers around Grass Valley and Nevada County make The Union’s work possible. Your financial contribution supports our efforts to deliver quality, locally relevant journalism.

Now more than ever, your support is critical to help us keep our community informed about the evolving coronavirus pandemic and the impact it is having locally. Every contribution, however large or small, will make a difference.

Your donation will help us continue to cover COVID-19 and our other vital local news.


Start a dialogue, stay on topic and be civil.
If you don't follow the rules, your comment may be deleted.

User Legend: iconModerator iconTrusted User