Oh my, we had a great time at the Berlin Fiddler’s Convention. It is their 17th year, but my first time ever attending ANY such thing. We went last night for a couple hours that presented last year’s competition winners, Sarah Beth and Company, performing for the first hour or so and a group from Bowie, MD, called the Fitzmaurice Band performing second. Sarah Beth’s group was okay, but had trouble with the sound not being adjusted correctly for the first half of their performance, so I will reserve my opinion on them, because I didn’t see/hear them at their best.
FMB was fantastic! Check them out at www.fitzmauriceband.com. Great vocals, attractive young people with amazing enthusiasm and energy, and of course, talented musicians all. We were not interested in todays 6 + hours of competition, but did return to watch the musicians jam at the end of the day. It was held in a front room at the Atlantic Hotel and we got there at just the right time to get a seat so close we were actually BEHIND some of the performers at a table. We ate dinner while we watched, so it was like dinner theatre. Not something we planned, but sometimes those are the best things. Serendipitous, it was.
A young family group performed first today and I’m sorry I missed their names. It looked like a dad and 3 daughters. The fiddler daughter was only 17 and she was great, but kind of shy. I enjoyed her music, but her personality did not shine through. Maybe in a few years, she will have more confidence performing and we’ll see her smile. But FMB performed after that, and we so enjoyed them. The beautiful twin sisters sing lead vocals and play guitar and bass fiddle. The male fiddler is tremendously good, and they also have guitar, mandolin and banjo players. All of them just put their entire souls into what they are playing and it is what makes the difference in the music. The fiddler looked liked if he could just crawl inside it and become one with his fiddle, nothing would make him happier. We were priviledged to chat with him briefly before we left and he was most friendly. They were all out of their EP’s, but he said we could email him and make some arrangements to get a copy. You can listen to tracks on their website, but it is not set up for downloading.
My other reason for attending the convention was to try to get connected with a local fiddler who might be a teacher/mentor for me, but it didn’t happen. My intention now is to contact the local organizer of this event and see if he can give me some possibilities. He’s GOT to know all the local fiddlers.
I so wish I had brought my camera today, so I could have gotten a few photos and maybe a short video of the groups, but alas, I didn’t think of it till I was already there.
Went to the flea market in Laurel, DE, today and came away with a few bargains. Also visited the local thrift store and got great stuff. I will give a full report with some photos tomorrow.