The Canadian Fiddle Tune Project

by Christopher Verrette, violinist

One of the ways Tafelmusik is commemorating the Canadian Sesquicentennial is through the Canadian Fiddle Tune Project. In conjunction with Alison Mackay’s Visions and Voyages concert program, students from the Etobicoke School of the Arts and the Suzuki program at the Miles Nadal JCC are learning a compilation of fiddle tunes from different traditions as well as some baroque pieces by both English and French composers. The students are being coached on the fiddle tunes by Anne Lederman, and by myself on the baroque music. We will all come together to perform them on stage at the Jeanne Lamon Hall right after the Sunday performance of Visions and Voyages, February 26.

cornelius-krieghoff-the-fiddler
The Fiddler, by Cornelius Krieghoff

The Miles Nadal JCC is a vital part of the Bloor/Spadina neighbourhood and Bloor Street Cultural Corridor. The music programs there are connected with Tafelmusik in another way: one of the longtime teachers there is Gretchen Paxson, who is married to oboist John Abberger, and many children of Tafelmusik players have participated over the years, including my own daughter. It is thus a familiar place to visit, although I only recently noticed a detail that underscores the importance of music to its activities and mission: there is a plaque honouring Leonard Bernstein in the main lobby.

It is a longer trip for me to visit the Etobicoke School -and the Grade 9’s rehearse early!- but it is always rewarding to be able to introduce what we do to another generation of musicians and music lovers, and to personally see and hear the thriving musical scene they have there. It will be a festive event when all the students come to our venue to perform the pieces with members of the orchestra.

It is always great to get young people in our audience, and the students will attend our Friday night show, but it is even better to engage with them in the act of making music together. I am particularly interested to hear what Anne does with these fiddle tunes; she has a wide repertoire and fluency in numerous styles and traditions. The students are making a big commitment by learning all the music from memory. We hope the short performance will contribute to our collective sense of the diverse influences that make up Canadian music and culture in this special year.

Hear the results of the Canadian Fiddle Tune project on Sunday, right after the concert, at approximately 5:30pm in Jeanne Lamon Hall.

Don’t miss our remaining shows – best availability is Thu – Sat! Click here for more information.

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