The Valley Youth Fiddlers (VYF) ended their season on a high note on Saturday.
The group of more than 50 folk musicians played to an almost full house with their last stop on their tour at the Della Herman in Smithers. The concert, Aurora Radio Voice of the North, played out like an old time radio show with songs, stories and commercials from made-up sponsors. The group first took the mini tour up to the Yukon, Watson Lake and Dease Lake.
VYF board chair Patrick Williston said not only did they have a fantastic time touring the north but were well received.
“Terrific reception up there, people seem to really enjoy the show,” he said. “There were folks in the audience who were recording the entire show on their phones and after the show there was tons of interest, especially from young kids inspired by the playing and very much interested in picking up the fiddle.”
While performing in Watson Lake a Talhtan elder, known for his fiddling, joined them on stage.
“Gerald Edzerza is almost 90 years old… It was just fabulous, he got the concept of old time radio,” said Williston.
Reminiscing on the last nine months, Williston said the highlight of the season for him was just to watch everyone play together.
The group has about hundred players that range from age 6 to people in their 60s.
“When everyone gets together on the stage and you can see everyone is having a terrific time, everybody is moving, smiling, enjoying themselves and wrapped up in the arms of some epic orchestral piece that has been arranged for the Valley Fiddlers by one of Canada’s leading fiddler mentors,” he said. “We interact with some incredible mentors including Gordan Stobbe who has just been given the Order of Canada. He lives in Halifax and comes out to Smithers to arrange pieces for the group.”
Williston added they’ve built something special and are known across the country in the fiddler community.
“When everyone is playing together and wrapped up in the music, it’s purely magical, you can feel the energy, it is transmitted to the audience. To be surrounded by that, it is an incredible feeling.”
The Valley Youth Fiddlers are already thinking ahead to their next season which starts in September. They are gearing up for a big production next year to take on a provincial tour. While it is still in development they are working with illustrator Facundo Gastiazoro to add videos to the concert.
Anyone interested in joining the group can check out their website at www.valleyyouthfiddlers.com