Trent Bruner

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The 2013 Canadian Grand Masters - A Time for All to Remember Print E-mail

Hi everyone!

For those of you who were unable to attend the 24th annual Canadian Grand Masters Fiddling Championship in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, it was a magical experience for me as one of the two house accompanists for our national fiddle championship. For those who organized and participated in this event, the end result was truly special as it went beyond expectations in a big way. This was the first time that Canada’s national fiddle championship was held outside the Ottawa, Ontario region, and after the results of this special weekend that took place August 23rd-25th, it will go down as one of the most memorable times in the history of Canada’s national fiddle championship. The atmosphere was electric, the audience was energetic, and the memories will live on for many years to come.

It all started with the Friday Night welcome dance at Windy Acres, home of the John Arcand Fiddle Fest on Friday, August 23rd. It was more than well attended and served as the perfect warmup for the contest day, especially with contest M.C. Gordon Stobbe calling square dances for 13 sets of couples on the dance floor and well over 350 people (minimum) in attendance. Various contestants, accompanists, other musicians and judges performed for the dance, including the 2013 CGM Lifetime Achivement Award winner Alfie Myhre of Edmonton, Alberta. The dance floor was full thoughout the night, which made the evening even more speical.

Then 27 of Canada's top fiddlers competed for the 2013 title on Saturday, August 24th. They gave their best efforts to make this weekend a truly special time for all who were there. The sellout audiences for the CGM marked the first time in the contest’s history that both the preliminaries and finals had sold out. Lakeview Church was the venue for this event and was a top rate facility for the contest, which made logistics very workable and practical during the day. A big thanks to this congregation for making their building available to make this happen. Calvin Vollrath, Louis Schryer and Mark Sullivan were the judges and gave a wonderful performance during the Saturday night finals. Jake Charron and Yours truly were busy as the house accompanists for the contest and the Junior Showcase. The special project orchestra called ”The Grand Masters March West Orchestra” was made up of 100 fiddlers led by Gordon Stobbe and assistance from many other fiddlers. Michele Amy of the Kenosee Lake Kitchen Party organized this venture and it is with thanks that we acknowledge this contribution. The Junior Showcase featured Amber Gordon (Boyle, Alberta), Wyatt Bernier (Prince Albert, Saskatchewan), Elly Wedge (Richmond, Ontario) and Martha Pitre (Shediac, New Brunswick). April Verch's appearance as the guest artist was warmly received during both afternoon and evening sessions, earning standing ovations each time. J.J. Guy’s winning of The People’s Choice Award was also the first time a Saskatchewan fiddler won this award. To close the weekend, the participants met at The Bassment for a post contest jam session and on Sunday, August 25th, an wrap up afternoon jam session took place at Amigo’s Cantina.

In closing, to share in this music over the weekend was not only humbling for me, but was a delightful time to share in and contribute to what became one of the best fiddle events in Canadian history. I will always treasure these memories for the rest of my life. To get the winner's perspective, here's a print article from the Saskatoon Star Phoenix on Saskatchewan’s first fiddler to ever win the Canadian Grand Masters, James Steele of Saskatoon. Read on!!