Family-friendly fiddle camp reaching all generations

‘Old Time Family Dance’ set to be held on Aug. 19th at Deer Valley Meadows

The Alberta Society of Fiddlers is hosting another ‘Old Time Family Dance’ on Aug. 19th at Deer Valley Meadows.

The dance is part of a weeklong music camp that hosts a variety of events which are usually only open to camp attendees. This year, however, the dance is open to the public, with admission by donation.

The dance will begin at 7 p.m., with a dance workshop in the afternoon from 3:30 p.m. to 4:30 p.m. Those wishing to attend the dance workshop must call ahead and RSVP with Deer Valley Meadows Camp.

“It’s cool to see the little kids grab their grandparents and dance with them, or sisters dancing together, or a mom with their child,” said Laurie Maetche, a fiddle instructor and regional director for Red Deer and area.

“We teach them also the protocol of it – they have to ask the person to dance and thank them afterwards, whether they walk back to the seat with them or not. It’s a lost culture.”

The fiddle camp is actually comprised of several instrument classes and even a quilting class. There are fiddle, piano and guitar teachers with students ranging from five-years-old to over 70.

Maetche said the goal of the Alberta Society of Fiddlers (ASF) is to engage a variety of age groups and people in the art of fiddling.

She said that it is something she wishes people would continue through their lives and be able to pass onto their children.

“What we’re trying to do is promote fiddling, old time dancing and other multigenerational things. We want to be associated with fun. With the dance we thought it would be nice to open it to the public and try to keep this part of our culture going.

“When we look at all the dance clubs in the area, those memberships are all 50-plus. There aren’t really groups under 50 that know how to dance a waltz or a two-step or a Virginia reel. If you were ever wondering about old time dance or fiddling, come out to this free dance – that’d be a good way to check it out and see if you really like it.”

The weeklong camp requires chaperones, many of who came together to add a quilting class component to the camp. Maetche added the quilters always try to somehow tie their final design into the fiddling camp or a theme that goes with it.

The camp is open to anyone from beginners to advance wanting to learn or enhance their fiddling or accompaniment abilities.

Maetche encourages people to come to the dance, decide if they like what they see and then consider joining for next year.

There are classes for beginners in fiddle. Guitar and piano instruction requires at least a basic understanding of the instrument, which must be brought by the attendee. Piano players require a keyboard. Quilting classes require a personal sewing machine.

This year, the camp pays tribute to an instructor who was killed in a car accident this year.

“We always choose one tune for all the students to learn. This year we picked Aunt Ida’s Fiddle. One of our instructors, Heather Soldan, was killed in a car accident in April. She was a driving force in the community. She wrote this, and so we’re doing that as an honour to her for this year.”

Deer Valley Meadows Camp is located near Alix. It is on the north bank of the Red Deer River, half a mile south of Hwy. 11 on RR 230. For more information on the camp, directions or the dance, call Troy at 780-998-4817 or Laurie at 403-782-5596.

kmendonsa@lacombeexpress.com

 

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