Current members are, in alphabetical order: Diego Bustamante, Arthur Eriksson, Richard A. Eriksson, Bowen Jiang, Sarah Krulder, Britta Macdonell, Dara Phung, Alethea Sung-Miller, and Athena Sung-Miller.
Alethea Sung-Miller (“Allie”)
Founder and manager, Alethea is a ragtime enthusiast, composer, musician, writer, dancer, and – of course – student. She has an Honorable Mention and silver medal from the Ragtime Society and has played in the 2013 and 2015 Sutter Creek ragtime festivals, 2013 West Coast Ragtime Festival, 2014 Ragtime House Concert, 2014 and 2015 Sacramento Music Festivals, and other venues. She lives in Sacramento, CA with her twin sister, where they are both home-schooled by their parents. She loves to make people smile, and adores spending time with her beloved friends. She is currently 16 years old and has written several novels, as well as dabbling in poetry. She doesn’t want to say much more than that, so if you want to know more, you’ll have to ask her yourself.
Diego Bustamante is an avid birder and pianist, and enjoys many other hobbies, ranging from juggling to skiing and beyond. He is a three-time gold medalist in the ragtime competition, having won gold in 2011, 2013, and 2014, and Honorable Mention in 2012. He has performed in the Sutter Creek Ragtime Festival every year since 2011, the West Coast Ragtime Festival since 2013, the Sacramento Music Festival since 2014, and in the 2014 Ragtime House Concert. He lives in Paradise, CA, and attends the Progressive Schoolhouse. He loves promoting his CD, but that’s because it’s really quite good – you should all head over and get a copy, his rendition of Eubie Blake’s Baltimore Todolo is to die for! His stutter is the most adorable thing on Earth, and flustered and/or overjoyed Diego is a god-given gift to this humble world.
Arthur Eriksson, 14 years old, loves to spend his time playing video games – when he’s not at the piano composing new tunes or practicing old ones, that is. He has participated in the ragtime competition since 2013 and has been featured at the 2014 and 2015 Sutter Creek Ragtime Festivals and the 2014 and 2015 Sacramento Music Festivals. He lives in Rancho Cordova with his older brother, Augie, and attends Arden Middle School. He also plays several other instruments, including the saxophone, which, besides the piano, is his principal instrument. He has won multiple awards and plays in several different jazz bands, earning scholarships and prizes wherever he goes.
Richard Augustus Eriksson (“Augie”)
Augie, 15 years old, not only plays the piano for two jazz bands, participates in the Chico Music Academy and CAPMT Convention each year, and competes in the West Coast Ragtime Festival every year since 2013 – he also does cross country running, Boy Scouts, and tennis, and plays video games in his free time. He won Honorable Mention in the 2014 ragtime competition and was featured in the Diego and Friends concert at the 2014 Sutter Creek Ragtime Festival as well as the 2014 and 2015 Sacramento Music Festivals. He lives in Rancho Cordova with his younger brother Arthur and attends Mira Loma High School. He enjoys snooping on Alethea’s phone, but that’s okay since she usually has the bad sense to leave it unlocked when in the presence of friends. He’s also a master at minesweeper, which is an ongoing competitive venture for him, Athena, Alethea, Diego, and Butterfly Boy (see below).
Bowen Jiang is an avid jazz improviser and composer as well as classically trained pianist. He lives in Chico, California and attends Pleasant Valley High School, and loves to enjoy the various facets of nature around him, including nurturing his very own home science lab (in which he has, in previous years, completed many experiments, including growing a lovely stock of butterflies – hence his nickname, Butterfly Boy). He is currently single (wink wink!) after a devastating breakup with his Harry Potter books and a one-time encounter with a seductive fish from a seductively poisonous lake. He is also a professional snarker, and his hair is fun to touch, but don’t tell anybody you heard that from me.
Sarah Krulder, 14 years old, is currently the Syncopators’ only vocalist. She has stunned crowds at the 2014 West Coast Ragtime Festival, 2015 Sacramento Music Festival, and the 2013 and 2014 Sutter Creek Ragtime Festivals with her angelic voice, incredible delivery, and beautiful personality, teaming up with Diego to perform jazz classics and favorites from Broadway musicals. She lives in Chico, California. She hates corn syrup but loves exotic food – so no Italian breadsticks (she can’t taste them; just sniffs them); but if you find a restaurant with jellyfish, be sure to order that for her instead!
Britta Macdonell, 21 years old, is an avid composer and musician, playing the piano and the double bass. Currently she is at Pensacola Christian College in Florida, studying for her music major. She and her “little sister” Alethea are currently working on an album of songs they are composing together, but the album is not yet complete. Britta’s hometown is Placerville, California. She is learning a bit of Portuguese for no reason, but her boyfriend is Brazilian and does happen to speak some, which is a nice plus. She also knows how to tune a piano and take it apart, which is pretty damn cool! The sad part is that she (usually) remembers how to put it back together, too.
Dara Phung, 16 years old, is interested in fashion and makeup, and even has her very own fashion blog (thatsadarable.blogspot.com). She plays with the San Francisco Youth Orchestra and has been a gold medalist at the ragtime competition since 2011. She lives in the Bay Area, near San Francisco, where she participates in multiple music events. She enjoys being swag and hipster, taking beautiful pictures in the wilderness called nature – that is, on top stoplines and in front of city lights. She is a beauty queen and makeup guru with a sense of fashion that never fails to catch your eye, and her piano playing is the raddest, baddest part of all!
Athena Sung-Miller, 16 years old, is the twin sister of the Syncopators’ founder, Alethea, and loves to write, learn foreign languages, and watch anime. She won silver in the 2013 ragtime competition and Honorable Mention in 2014, and has been featured in the 2013 and 2015 Sutter Creek Ragtime Festivals, the 2014 and 2015 Sacramento Music Festivals, and the 2012 West Coast Ragtime Festival. She lives in Sacramento, California, and is home-schooled along with her sister. She loves speaking French and learning various insults in foreign languages, and her favorite thing to do is tell her sister horrifying stories of various historical plane crashes as a right-before-bed nighttime gift. She also specializes in being a supreme dork, and her cuteness is unmatched by anyone in all of the world.