Trent Bruner

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Canadian Grand Masters Fiddling Championship 2008 Print E-mail

For many years now I have made travels from Saskatchewan to Ontario for various fiddle events.  The fiddle events I perform at most often have been the Canadian Grand Masters Fiddling Championship in Ottawa and the Pembroke Fiddle and Step Dance Contest about 150 kms northwest of Canada's capital city.  This article is about my time in Ottawa this year.

From August 17-21, the By the Canal Fiddle Camp took place at the Long Island Locks along the Rideau Canal south of Ottawa.  There were 74 fiddlers and 11 piano students taking lessons in fiddling and piano accompaniment.  I worked alongside Geoff Horrocks of Ottawa in the piano classes and with fiddle teachers Jacynthe Trudeau, Mathew Johnson, Terri Lynn Mahusky, Troy MacGillvray, Shane Cook, Brian Hebert, Patti Lamoureux, Mark Sullivan, and Calvin Vollrath.  Everyone gave their best effort and enjoyed themselves immensely.  What will be my lasting memory of the camp activities is that 2008 will be "the year of the jam".  After the camp day was finished and instructors concerts were done, the formal jam session would take place, but also of note was that after that jam was over, I was amazed that many decided to keep jamming and jamming until the wee hours of the morning!  It was a familiar situation with many fiddlers playing in many jam sessions thoughout the camp while I went to sleep to the sounds of many various fiddle tunes.  It was a time to remember.

After the camp was done, the actual contest took place Saturday, August 23rd at the Centrepointe Theatre in the Nepean district of Ottawa.  I was honoured again to be house accompanist for the contest, with Everything Fitz as the guest artists from Bancroft, Ontario.  Troy MacGillvray of Cape Breton, Nova Scotia, Denis Encontre of Winnipeg, Manitoba and Rodney Krip of the Cleavers (Saskatoon) were the contest judges.  The number of fiddlers was down to 22 fiddlers this year, which is low for this contest, but the calibre of fiddlers was very high. For us in Saskatchewan, it was heartwarming to see Karnnell Sawitsky of Saskatoon become the fifth Saskatchewan fiddler to ever make the top 11 at the Canadian Grand Masters.  The top three in this year's contest were Quebec's Andre Brunet, Ontario's Mathew Johnson, and Ontario's Kyle Charron.  This is Andre's first win at the CGM and his third appearance in the finals.  I extend congrautlations to Andre and to all the other fiddlers for their quality music at this year's CGM.  It is always an honour to share great fiddle music with each of you, and I am always humbled to have the opportunity to perform with you all.

More news to come later with the story of TV tapings and more fiddle and stepdance!  Until next time, enjoy live music at its best!

Musically yours, Trent