The Fiddle History of Canada draws crowd and celebrates fiddlers

                Southeast Saskatchewan has developed a fiddling culture, which has been grown by Michele Amy of Forget. This past weekend showcased what her students are capable of as they performed a two act production, The Fiddle History of Canada.

                The production was envisioned by Gordon Stobbe and follows the history of Canada through the point of view of the fiddle. With Cornerstone Theatre helping put the showcase on through acting out historical moments in time, and were followed by numerous tunes from that period. Doug Waldner, with Cornerstone Theatre, helped to re-write the script for the occasion.

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                The project was brought to the community through Amy and her fiddle studio. Through her Cornerstone Theatre contacts they decided on a way to make the showcase, which has travelled across Canada to different areas, a uniquely Carlyle and area production.

                The production was dedicated in memory of Fred Easton, the man who taught Amy how to play and is the grandfather of fiddle music in the southeast, as well as Father Banga, who had been very supportive of the fiddling culture being developed in the area.

                The performances took place on Thursday, April 30, and Friday to Sunday, May 1-3. A total of 54 young fiddlers put on a spectacular show with the help of eight musicians in the pit band, five actors, and nine backstage assistants.

                There was a total of 360 costumes used and 84 props included in order to bring forth the final show.

                The students amazed the audience as they took to the stage playing hours of music. They further impressed the crowd as they took the 35 songs and would go from one into another without missing a beat.

                As one patron was heard saying, “That’s a lot of notes!” He was thoroughly impressed by the showcase and all of the songs the youth knew.

                Fiddlers participated from Alameda, Arcola, Carlyle, Carnduff, Corning, Estevan, Forget, Stoughton, Lampman, Oxbow, Redvers, and Manor. Ages ranged as well from very young to adult fiddlers bringing together numerous fiddling enthusiasts.

                Fiddling in Canada comes with a unique history, which developed through a mosaic of cultures coming together and sharing their music. French, English, Scottish, Irish, Eastern European, and First Nations music all met in Canada to form a truly unique sound, which resonates through today’s Canadian fiddlers.

                In fact the Maritimes have preserved old tunes which have been lost in the old countries and people travel from Ireland and Scotland to relearn this music.

                A great amount of work was put into the production, which was very evident. It was a spectacular showing that many said could have been held in places like the Centre of the Arts in Regina.

                Everyone in attendance was wowed by the showcase and thoroughly enjoyed themselves at the production.

                Earlier in the week a few performers travelled to different schools in the area to showcase what they’ve been working on. Check for videos of two songs from the showcase which were performed at Arcola School on Tuesday, April 28.


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