Trent Bruner

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Hi everyone! Here is another article from me for Facebook and This comes from a familiar site that I have played at for many years near home in Saskatchewan, Canada.

Again, I was able to lend my talents for the 22nd annual John Arcand Fiddle Fest that ran from August 8-10, 2019 at Windy Acres, located southwest of Saskatoon on Saskatchewan Highway #60. I served again as soloist, accompanist, and member of the house band on call throughout the three day event. The weather was much more comfortable than the 2018 temperatures between +35 and +40 Celsius, attendance was up over last year, workshop participation was up, the fiddle contest was condensed into one day, more camping spots were filled up as well, and many people came to the John Arcand Fiddle Fest for the first time again.

Once again when I parked the van outside, I ended up for another consecutive year asking myself if I had a personal parking spot, a personal toilet or both! Because I ended up with a spot that you could say “both” as the correct answer, I felt immediately that this was business as usual for this event once I got settled in.

The session began for me as a piano soloist on Thursday afternoon for a one hour set from 2:00 P.M: until 3:00 P.M.. Here I played some original piano pieces, others from the old time dance repertoire that I’ve heard through the years (in which many got up on the dance floor and danced), selected favourites from my “Piano by Request” album, and one country gospel song from my Life Lessons Book #1 titled “The Master’s Touch.” This way, it allowed me able to play as a soloist before shifting my focus to the rest of the Fiddle Fest as an accompanist., both on piano and guitar. 

Over the weekend, this included a stage spot with country singers Jess Lee and Will Ballantyne, square dance workshops, an evening concert with the fiddle workshop instructors, Metis singer Krystal Pedersen, a fiddle contest with 50 contestants in all classes both Friday and Saturday, spot accompaniment with multi instrumentalist Ed Peekeekoot, and the Saturday night dance with fiddler extraordinaire Calvin Vollrath. I had also released the hard copy version of my new fiddle book, “All of Mine-Volume 1”, a collection of 60 original fiddle tunes. Needless to say, it was a busy time. 

During Friday afternoon, I also made my rounds to the fiddle groups with my guitar in hand to see how the fiddlers were making out and was able to give the right chords and the right tempo to help everyone get the right note in the right place, regardless of playing ability. I always look forward to my mini-guitar tour around the site as it gives me a chance to work on some fiddle tunes I haven’t heard in a while. This year, I also played twice on guitar and twice on piano for Patti Kusturok’s 365 Days of Fiddle Tunes, with the last piano spot including me and one of The Cleavers, Rodney Krip, on a waltz we recorded on “Cleaver’s World” titled “The Sweetheart Waltz,” one of my own fiddle tunes. I had also seen the release of John Arcand’s newest album, “#17.” A music book of tunes from the same album was also released; one of which I had done the notation work on to ensure the book was released.

The 23rd annual edition of the John Arcand Fiddle Fest will happen August 6-8, 2020. I will be back as one of the house accompanists for this weekend again. For this contest and festival to remain as one of Western Canada’s largest is an honour for John and Vicki Arcand to host and organize. It is also an honour for me to come back each year as a house accompanist and to have a very reliable piano partner in Desiree Steele to help out with the rehearsals in the back part of the Arcand yard.

The next article will feature highlights from the interview and concert I had in the Canwood Legion Hall with Ed Peekeekoot (guitarist, vocalist, flautist, composer, painter and wood carver) organized by the Canwood Branch of the Wapiti Regional Library. Until next time, see you somewhere down the musical trail!

Musically Yours, Trent