Jeff Green | Jun 11, 2009
Back to HomeFeature Article - June 11, 2009 Talk about the flying fiddles of timeBy Jeff Green
The Blue Skies Community Fiddle Orchestra was once but a gleam in the eye of Orchestra Director Carolyn Stewart, but for 10 years it has been meeting to rehearse every Saturday through the school year at 10 am sharp. Twice a year, in June and December, and at the Blue Skies Festival in August, the orchestra puts on performances that showcase their collective talents.
Next Sunday, on June 21 at the Maberly Hall, the orchestra will hold their tenth annual June concert. A number of former orchestra members will come back for a reunion concert, and they will all be joined by old friends Kirk and Magoo to celebrate 10 years of fiddle music in Frontenac and Lanark County.
While she said that forming a fiddle orchestra had always been “kind of a dream of mine,” Carolyn was “terrified on the first day of rehearsals because I wondered how I was going to get them all to play together - people who have never played with other people don't know how to do it.”
Carolyn said the first tune the orchestra learned was “Floppy Eared Mule because it was the simplest tune that I knew, and we worked really hard, splitting into groups, clapping along, anything I could think of to help people learn how to play in unison.”
Over the 10 years a few members are still part of the orchestra but there has been a lot of change as well. A Beginner orchestra was established to bring beginning fiddlers to the level where they could join the ever improving Fiddle Orchestra.
One of the highlights of the past ten years was a trip to Cape Breton in 2003.
And then there have been the concerts. “No matter what level the orchestra has been at, they always play their best at the concerts; I’ve come to depend on that,” said Carolyn.
In addition to their own ever-expanding repertoire, the orchestra has been joined by some fine musicians at their concerts, including Kirk and Magoo, Haines and Leighton and others, with funding help from Blue Skies in the Community, which has been a constant source of moral and financial support.
As well, guitars, mandolins and percussion have been added to fill out the sound.
In the past year or so, the orchestra has been playing a number of compositions written by its own members, which has also been rewarding.
“However I am feeling, I just love getting together on Saturdays. I'm really happy to see them every week,” said Carolyn.
And people will also be really happy to see and hear the tenth anniversary concert at the Maberly Hall. Tickets are $12 for adults, and $2 for children and the concert begins at 7:00 pm.