Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Fiddlin' Around

Although this girl is young, her expression leaves no doubt that she is very prepared
for her turn playing in the Indiana State Fair Fiddle Contest.

I passed through the storage building at Pioneer Village on Saturday, on my way to another event, where I saw people tuning their fiddles and warming up for the annual Indiana State Fair Fiddle Contest. Behind the barn a young woman was tuning up, making sure she and her accompanist were in harmony, as inside an older man went from one entrant to another with his guitar, calmly making sure he and his charges would be in tune, as well.

As one of the entrants told me, while it is important that your fiddle
 be in tune, it's more important that the fiddler and their accompanist
be in tune with each other.

The contest is sponsored each year by Traditional Arts Indiana, an organization devoted to "expanding public awareness of Indiana's traditional practices," focusing on the artistic sensibilities as they are defined by the communities in which the artists participate. Not only does this include music, but other skills as well, such as weaving, carving, pottery, lace-making and bee-keeping, among others.

Tuning and last minute practice behind the barn

The contest was divided by age group into four classes: 11 years and under, ages 12-17, 18-59, and 60-plus. Each contestant was alloted 5 minutes in which to play 3 selections; a waltz, a hoedown, and a selection of the fiddler's choice. However, "Orange Blossom Special" and "Listen to the Mocking Bird" were not permitted to be played.

Unfortunately, the winners of this year's contest have not yet been posted, so I'm not able to say who won, but a great part of the contest is about community and learning from other players. I can tell you the audience was supportive and enjoyed listening to all the participants, because I could hear their cheers and applause pouring out of the Opry House.


dive said...

Oh, wow, I wish I'd been there for the fiddle contest. I love things like that. Hee hee for the Orange Blossom Special ban. Nothing worse than hearing the same piece played over and over.
That last photo made me ache with nostalgia. My instrument cases have been propped up in some truly bizarre places over the decades. That picture sums up the best of community country living so perfectly.

Speedway said...

You'd have enjoyed it, Dive, at least as much as I do. Obviously, I have my own preferences; I've virtually no interest in the carnival rides, but love the opportunities for pictures and state fair cuisine holds no interest. It's the participation and being able to watch other people do the same, learning a bit as we go. Each year, something new.