Trent Bruner

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Northern Lights Bluegrass and Old Time Music Camp and Festival 2014 – Bigger and Better Print E-mail

Hello everyone! Thanks for checking into the latest news from my August 2014 performances in Saskatchewan.

After I was finished at the John Arcand Fiddle Fest in Saskatoon and the Northern Lights Casino in Prince Albert, I went to teach and play for the second year in a row at the Northern Lights Bluegrass and Old Tyme Music Camp and Festival at the Ness Creek site, northeast of Big River, Saskatchewan. The weather was comfortable for a busy but positive week in 2014 as camp registrations were up and festival attendance was up as well.

I had a diligent class of six piano students that were part of the 131 students who registered for the camp as they learned the finer points of accompanying fiddlers and other traditional folk music on piano. The class level was intermediate and ranged from teenagers to adults. They had many years of classical music instruction but most had never chorded on the piano before. They showed good musical growth over this week and I was pleased with their progress. Other classes were offered for students at various levels for banjo, mandolin, guitar, fiddle, kids’ music, vocal harmony, standup bass, and Appalachian flatfoot dancing. There were evening concerts, dances and jam sessions that took place throughout the week as well. The camp ends with a concert number from the whole camp on the Friday evening when the festival opens. It was again thanks to the work and patience of Ken Olson (of Ken Olson and Friends) that this performance was coordinated and guided so that everyone was able to get their one solo in with the Bill Munroe song ”Can You Hear Me Callin’”.

I performed at the festival this year doing piano accompaniment for renowned fiddler Calvin Vollrath of St. Paul, Alberta and was joined by Freddie Pelletier of Birch Hills, Saskatchewan on guitar for a Friday night old time dance set, which included Yours truly calling some square dances while playing piano at the same time! I also shared piano time on stage with bluegrass acts Jeff Scroggins and Colorado from Lyons, Colorado and The Slocan Ramblers from Toronto, Ontario.

I was also asked by the organizing committee to lead fiddle jams as well for the weekend festival. When I was not leading jam sessions or perfroming, I was enjoying the music played by groups such as Jeff Scroggins and Colorado from Lyons, Colorado, Los Texmaniacs from San Antonio, Texas, The Slocan Ramblers from Toronto, Ontario, Le Vent du Nord from Montreal, Quebec, The Cumberland Brothers from  Cumberland, British Columbia, and Saskatchewan acts Ryan Boldt, Freddie and Shiela Pelletier and The Grid Pickers. For those who remained for Sunday, there was Sunday Morning Gospel music led by Irvin Amundson of Park Valley, Saskatchewan. This is always a festival tradition that has been warmly received.

In closing, the week went well and good comradery between all was the theme of the entire week. Thanks again to the committee for a job well done and for their efforts in promoting and developing old time and bluegrass music in Saskatchewan. 

My next news item will be on the 25th annual Canadian Grand Masters Fiddling Championship as it returns to Ottawa, Ontario with a special gala concert and the annual Canadian national fiddle championship contest. See you next time down the musical trail!

Musically Yours, Trent