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Sunday, May 21, 2023

Five Bunnells and Their Strings

 This post is a chapter in former editor Charles E. Bunnell (Charlie to his friends) recently compiled Bonnells & Bunnells of Note (And a few Burnells & Burrells for Good Measure). The complete work is available on Internet Archive at this linkCharlie Bunnell's Bonnells & Bunnells of Note.

This chapter is about The Bunnell Strings. You can watch them play Healer of My Heart on YouTube.

Charlie wrote:

Several months ago Anne McDade Barrett of Oceanside, California, sent me a lengthy newspaper clipping from Good News, etc, a San Diego county (California) Christian Newspaper. It was the story of a quintet, The Bunnell Strings. Anne had also done some research and found the names of the parents. I finally contacted them, or at least their “leader,” Keren Bunnell who was happy to provide some family information for the database and newsletter.

First, their story:

The family consists of 4 sisters (Keren, Kimberly, Corrie and Cara) and one brother (Ross). Their parents were James Phillip and Julie Ann Bunnell. James was a Lt. Commander in the Navy and served in Afghanistan and Iraq. Their mother home-schooled them and made sure that they all started violin lessons by age 5. Their father died in 2007 and three years later their mother passed away. James and Julie Bunnell are buried in Fort Rosencrans National Cemetery, San Diego, CA. Keren was the only one of legal age at the time and was able to convince the courts to grant her guardianship of her four siblings. The family live together and play at events together. 

From their website: (Editor's note, the site is no longer active.)

Keren, 25 years old; Kimberly, 23; Corrie, 22; Cara, 20; Ross, 18; bring together a rare ensemble of double bass, cello, viola, and two violins. They have played for several television stations performing as soloists with the Orchestra Nova on KPBS, Salute to Teachers on Cox Channel 4, UT-TV and KUSI News. The siblings have won awards in various competitions, including first place in the VOCE regional and state competitions and the ASTA competition in the chamber ensemble division. They are recipients of many scholarships assisting them in their studies at San Diego State University under the direction of the critically acclaimed Hausmann Quartet.

The five of them live together in the family home. Each member of the family has specific duties for their home lives, professional lives and academic lives to run smoothly. The eldest, Keren, handles the bills, plays the viola and is an accounting major.  Kimberly is the cellist of the group, the cook and “not too far away from getting two bachelor degrees at San Diego State University in Music Performance and Public Administration.”  The next eldest at 22 is Corrie who uses her music composition education to do the musical arrangements for the group, as well as playing violin and acts as the quintet’s leader. Next in line is 20 year old Cara who is one of the violinists and is a college junior. The youngest and only male is Ross who plays the bass, provides some of the humor and is carrying a double major of political science and music. 

The genealogy:

When I turned to the database to see if the family was there, I found three James Phillip/Philip Bunnell pages with conflicting information. After sharing them with Keren, we were able to determine that there are likely two James Phillip Bunnells; one born in Maine who married Joan Viemeau and had two children, and Keren’s father who was born in California and married Julie Ann Modzelewski. The third James Phillip was also her father but contained only minimal information. The pages were updated and the five children added to the database. James Phillip Bunnell, father of this musical group, is 380091 in the database.  The children are 390107 thru 390111. The quartet’s lineage is: William1, Benjamin2, Benjamin3, Benjamin4, Isaac5, Isaac6, Clark7, Isaac8, Charles9, Edward10, Ellwood11, Gene12, James13, Bunnell Strings14

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