Trent Bruner

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John Arcand Fiddle Fest 2013 – The Tradition Lives On Print E-mail
Hello everyone! The 16th annual John Arcand Fiddle Fest took place from August 8-11 at Windy Acres Vacation Farm southwest of Saskatoon. Lionel Gilbertson and I were one of the two house accompanists who worked this event with many fiddle and Red River Jigging workshops, along with guitar workshops, cultural activities, concerts and dances. 

For me as a house accompanist, John’s festival is always a wonderful experience with various fiddle styles and a visible sharing of Prairie culture every time a fiddler takes the stage, regardless of contest, concert or dance setting. For Tyler Kushneryk and me, it was delightful to play for the Thursday afternoon entertainment while people took an early supper break before the Thursday night concert. It was not only Tyler’s first time as a soloist at John’s festival, but it was also a chance for me to get some piano solos in before the fiddlers took the stage that evening. Sharing the stage with talented guitarist Clinton Pelletier and fiddlers Shamma Sabir, Gordon Stobbe, Desmond Lagace, Patti Lamoureux, Rodney Krip, Daniel Gervais, Calvin Vollrath and John Arcand is always an honour whenever the concerts take place. This night again was no exception!

The contest portion, which took place Friday, Saturday and Sunday, saw 51 fiddlers compete in various age classes and over 20 Red River Jiggers compete in the dance competition. It always warms my heart to see the increasing number of fiddlers aged 18 and under that continue to compete and give continuity to the contest and the fiddle scene as a whole. Congratulations to all the winners and participants who took part.

There is never a shortage of dancers who fill the floor on Friday and Saturday nights at the John Arcand Fiddle Fest. It has been said by some that the best compliment you can ever give a fiddler is to get up and dance. As an accompanist who plays many dances, I feel the same way as well. I’m always delighted to see the full floor, even when the floor was expanded three years ago, there was still a full floor!  As long as we have dancers who will dance, the fiddlers of tomorrow will be reminded and taught about the importance of fiddle music and dance being one. The Cleavers (Rodney Krip, Tyler Kushneryk and Yours truly) played the Friday night dance, and I called a set of squares from the piano for the Friday night event. while Debden’s Bannock Country played the Saturday Night dance.

Mark your calendars for August 7-10, 2014 for the 17th edition of the John Arcand Fiddle Fest. Results can be found at See you down the music trail!

Musically Yours, Trent