Kate Neufeld might still be young, but she knows one thing for sure — she loves music.
The member of the Cariboo Chilcotin Youth Fiddle Society has been playing the violin for almost 10 years. Or is it the fiddle?
Born in Williams Lake, when she was in Kindergarten, another girl in her class came to school and told Kate she had started to play the fiddle.
Kate went home and begged her mom to be able to play too. Her mom finally agreed and signed Kate up for the Cariboo Chilcotin Youth Fiddle Society, and Kate has never looked back.
All three of her other siblings also ended up in the group. Her older brother Zack, who recently graduated, has since moved on from playing guitar in the group, but her younger siblings Sara and Ben are both still in the group with her and play fiddle as well. Both her parents have also been involved over the years, with her mom Vanessa helping out as the group’s treasurer for a number of years and her dad Bryan went along as a chaperone to Ireland.
As well as playing with the fiddle group, Kate also plays classical violin, and said she wouldn’t be able to choose between the two musical styles.
The great sense of community is one of her favourite things about the fiddle group, a multi-instrument ensemble organized and led by Ingrid Johnston.
“She’s so great,” said Kate of her instructor, noting not only is Johnston amazing at the violin, but she also puts an incredible amount of time and effort into the group.
“It’s just above and beyond,” said Kate.
For her part, Johnston said she feels almost like Kate’s aunt after teaching the young musician since the age of six years old, with Kate taking part in private lessons, a teen fiddle group that makes their own musical arrangements and the main fiddle group. As part of the group, Kate has performed in many concerts and barn dances at the ranch and traveled to Ireland and the East coast of Canada.
“I’m so proud of her many accomplishments,” Johnston said of her student.
Two to three times a year, the group has workshops where fiddlers come from all over and musicians gather to play three to four hours a day for an entire week.
Now 16 years old and in Grade 11, Kate normally practices with the fiddle group once every two weeks for two hours.
But the fiddle is not her only instrument, Kate also sings, she used to play some cello, and flute and plays some ukulele.
With graduation not too far in her future, Kate is considering the option of going to study music production to continue to pursue her love of music as a possible career and she’s been looking at programs, including one at Berklee College of Music.
Outside of music, like a lot of teenagers, Kate enjoys spending time with friends, when she’s not playing or listening to music that is.