Long-time musical tradition returns this weekend

An old-time and increasingly rare event will return to Lacombe on Sunday.

An old-time and increasingly rare event will return to Lacombe on Sunday.

On Jan. 26, Lacombe will host the 37th Annual Lacombe Fiddler’s Jamboree.

Laurie Maetche, owner and instructor at Maetche Music Studios, has been involved with the Jamboree for 30 of its 37 years running and has been in charge of it since 2001. Maetche said that the Jamboree first began as a fiddle contest and was run by the Chamber of Commerce as part of its Snowfest event.

Now, Snowfest no longer exists but the Jamboree is still going strong. Maetche said one of the reasons she got involved with the Jamboree was to keep it alive.

“I didn’t want to see this fall by the wayside as well,” said Maetche.

Fiddlers come from all over Central Alberta to perform in the Jamboree, said Maetche.

She added that she and other fiddle instructors in the area strongly encourage their students to participate in the event.

It is important for Lacombe to keep its annual jamboree running, said Maetche, as there are hardly any jamborees held in the province any more.

She added that she feels it is also important for Lacombe to keep the event running as it has become a part of the community’s history.

All ages are welcome in the fiddler’s jamboree, said Maetche. All skill levels are welcome as well, she added.

“Even if you can’t play well, we’d love to have you there.”

As the event is held in the winter, participation in the Jamboree varies depending on road conditions, said Maetche.

Typically, 40-50 fiddlers participate.

Maetche added that numbers are declining somewhat as the senior fiddlers are getting too old to fiddle or are dying out. However, she said that there is a healthy young crop of under 20 fiddlers stepping up to fill their shoes.

There is not a competitive element to the fiddler’s jamboree.

Maetche said it is more of a social gathering for fiddlers to meet and perform.

“It’s just a chance for these guys to come out and share their love for fiddle music.”

The jamboree runs much like a large recital or concert for fiddlers.

Maetche said the fiddlers register in the morning and then play in the afternoon.

Fiddlers perform two pieces each or three if they are shorter pieces, said Maetche.

Fiddlers are allowed to perform any pieces they want.

For anyone curious about the difference between a fiddle and a violin, they are the same instrument. Maetche said one of the many jokes illustrating this is that the only difference between a violin and a fiddle is “The nut on the end of the bow.”

Fiddlers will be showing their stuff at Lacombe Upper Elementary School from 1:30-4:30 p.m. on Jan. 26.

Tickets are $10, children 10 and under are free.