Children and adults of all ages filled the dance floor Saturday at Sacred Heart Hall when the Cariboo Chilcotin Youth Fiddlers and their director Ingrid Johnston hosted a Pink Lemonade Mother’s Day Barn Dance.
After a short concert kicked off the evening that featured not only fiddling, but singing, dancing, and the accompanying instruments such as guitar and keyboards, visiting fiddling instructor Gordon Stobbe invited everyone to get up and dance.
“Some of these young performers are playing at a dance for the very first time,” he said.
Within minutes, children with their grandparents or parents, siblings, friends and dancing couples began enjoying themselves.
The dancers were familiar with the tunes, and even if they weren’t that didn’t stop them.
Parents had baked cakes for cake walks, which inserted into the evening.
There was also a silent auction, a bake and snack table, a lemonade stand, door prizes and a major raffle.
While the young musicians enjoyed the opportunity to perform, the barn dance came on the heels of a week of workshops with Stobbe.
Each year he comes to Williams Lake from Nova Scotia a few times to introduce the music they will be working on for a future show and work with them on learning it.
Last year’s show, The Life of a Fiddle, was a huge success and it was two years in the making.
In that story, a fiddle that is created, bought, traded and stolen eventually ends up in the Chilcotin.
Next year’s show, scheduled for May 2019, will focus on Celtic music.
“As a group we are learning about the Celtic people, history and of course, music,” Johnston explained. “We are learning how that music spread all over the world like a dandelion blown into the wind, the seeds landing far and wide. These seeds and gems of Celtic music and culture then meshed and mixed with local music of many different peoples and nations.”
Through the development of the show, the fiddlers are learning about places such as Spain, France, Australia, Africa, New Orleans, the Appalachian Mountains, South America, and Canada where settlements of Irish, Scottish and even Celtic French people have carved a new home and way of life over the centuries, bringing their music and instruments with them and a blending of tunes occurred.
“We are lucky to continue to have Gord come and enrich our community,” Johnston said.
“This year he received an Order of Canada award for his contribution to fiddle, youth and communities across Canada.”
This year the older youth in the group will be taking part in an exchange through Heritage Canada with a group of young fiddlers from Halifax, Johnston said.
“We are hosting their group during the second week of July and then in the first week of October we are being hosted by those same families in their homes,” she said.
When the Halifax visitors are in the Cariboo it is hoped they will have the opportunity to see Barkerville, some local landscapes such as the Fraser River and Farwell Canyon, go fishing, kayaking and mountain biking.
Johnston said they also want to show the Halifax fiddlers life in the Cariboo — the cattle, horses and wide open spaces, First Nations culture, the Museum of the Cariboo Chilcotin and the Station House Gallery.
The exchange on the Williams Lake end will finish off with a barn dance on July 14 at the Onward Ranch where there will be tickets available, she said.
“If you’d like to hear these talented young Halifax fiddlers play — this would be a great chance!”
The crux of both exchanges will be the interchange of music, Johnston added.
“We will trade a group of tunes back and forth.”