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Strings Galore to be featured in Lacombe's Music in the Park series this summer

Strings Galore will be showcasing an eclectic mix of music Jun 19 for Music in the Park
Pictured here are ‘The Techno Fiddlers,’ one of the groups that is a part of the larger group of performers known as Strings Galore. They will be performing at Music in the Park on June 19.(Photo submitted)

Lacombe's popular Music in the Park series will be featuring Strings Galore on June 19.

Performances in the series, which is presented by the Lacombe Performing Arts Society, start at 6:30 p.m. on the Lacombe Memorial Centre’s Echo Stage.

"We always have a few new people coming and going, but it stays pretty much the same size," said Strings Galore director Laurie Maetche of Lacombe’s Maetche Music Studio.

"With the orchestra, we do the Rotary Carol Festival here in Lacombe, and then we also perform at the music festival (in the spring)," she said. There is also a year-end recital, plus of course the Music in the Park performance.

During their performance at Music in the Park, Maetche breaks things down to showcase different styles via different amalgamations of the group.

“We came up with the name Strings Galore because it’s classical, it’s fiddling, there are cellos and basses in there, too. We are trying to represent it all the best way we can.

"But there will be three groups performing," she said. "We will be starting with the Singing Strings Orchestra. We do an eclectic mix of music as well - we've done everything from We Will Rock You by Queen to the Yellowstone theme to folks songs like Shenandoah and the Skye Boat Song," she said.

"We've also done Mozart and Bach pieces, too.

"They will be playing for about half of the evening - about 45 minutes. And then we will have a quick stage change," she said, adding that the next segment will focus more on the folk/fiddle style.

To that end, the second half of the performance will feature a combination of The Techno Fiddlers (all adults) and The Cats and the Fiddles (all teenagers).

"They are combining to provide folk/fiddle music. It's great to listen to, but I will also have the microphone and will be doing dance instructing of the old-time dances," she explained. "We will be playing the old tunes that our grandparents grew up with!

"With the fiddling, we've been also doing such different styles. For a couple of years there, we did Ukrainian, Metis, French Canadian, and the East Coast Celtic styles - we did such a variety so that we could learn more about music (that's played) here in Canada," she explained. 

Over time, she also took a closer look at what was done locally over the years.

The group went on to tackle old-time waltzes and a range of traditional dance pieces that were popular closer to home.

"You can always see the audience members sitting in their chairs and moving" she said, referring to Music in the Park shows as a whole. "So I will just encourage the dancing, because it's such a big part of it, and it ties it all in together."

Maetche, who has been teaching for about 40 years, was trained in classical music but was introduced to folk/fiddle music as a teen.

"As a kid, I loved the group classes. That's what kept me motivated. My teacher, Mrs. Stuppard in Red Deer, had an orchestra for all of her students and community members. That stuck with me - the friendships you make.

"Music pulls people together," she said. "If we could have more musicians, I think we would have a better world."

As to her journey into teaching, she said it started during her high school years when a neighbour asked her for lessons. And it grew from there. Teaching remains a key source of rich inspiration.

"A lot of people won't pursue music as a career, but as something that they have always wondered about, or have been curious about," she said 

"I've tried to approach it that way, and to make it fun. But of course, there is the learning, too, so it is about finding that balance," she said. 

"For me, it's also about sharing that love of music so that they have the love of music to pass on as well.

"It's also not just music you are teaching, it's the whole person you are teaching," she said, pointing out how the discipline of rehearsing and practicing helps hone skills of cooperation and collaboration for life in general.

"It can help set you up for success in so many different areas of your life."

Of course, Maetche is a huge fan of music.

When it comes to choosing what to listen to, she either opts for total silence as a kind of break, or she'll throw on some feisty 80's rock.

"Probably one of my favourite bands is Aerosmith," she said. "They have such variety in everything that they do!

"Someone will also mention this or that band, and I'll go online and listen. And for a couple of weeks, I'll be focused on them until someone else tells me of another group," she added with a laugh. 

Following the Strings Galore performance at Music in the Park will be The Rojo's on June 26.

Mark Weber

About the Author: Mark Weber

I've been a part of the Black Press Media family for about a dozen years now, with stints at the Red Deer Express, the Stettler Independent, and now the Lacombe Express.
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