The 32nd annual Western Open Fiddle Competition was launched in Red Bluff today. This is always a welcome respite from work and the worries of life. I can’t adequately describe how relieved I was to see old familiar faces – not close friends, but people I see at all the contests, all ages, everyone in a jovial mood. Strangers saying hello and goodbye. Music in every corridor. The live entertainment was light-hearted, funny, toe-tapping, rejuvenating. Children playing everywhere: innocence, wild and free.
The California Old Time Fiddlers Association survives on the work of self-less volunteers who love the old time fiddling tradition, donating countless hours without remuneration of any kind. I have the privilege of knowing some of these generous souls, and meeting new ones at every contest.
I would estimate that fifty percent or more of the youngest competitors are home schooled. One of the perks of these contests – for home schooling families, at any rate – is that the children have the opportunity to perform on stage in front of the multitudes from a very young age. To a friendly and appreciative crowd. Our little Annie Jo (age 6) earned 6th place in the PeeWee division today. Her older sister, Amanda (age 11), earned 1st Place in the Junior Junior Division. Here’s the round of tunes that led to Amanda’s prize:
And here’s Christopher (age 16) in the Junior Picking Division on his new mandolin: