It seemed to me to be a little more relaxed this year in Saskatoon than when we were in Ottawa, or maybe we are starting to get the hang of it.
Things were a little different. Instead of the regular meet and greet concert which showcases each province’s talent, we were invited to the John Arcand fiddle-fest grounds for a dance. This year’s judges, Calvin Vollrath, Mark Sullivan, Louis Schryer and MC Gord Stobbe started the party, followed by Alfie Myhre, this year’s lifetime achievement award recipient. Several of the contest participants grouped up and played together. The dance was wonderful and of course Gord had to throw in a bit of square dancing as well. Such a fun, social evening with incredible talent!
Saturday was contest day! The events didn’t get underway until around noon and an orchestra of many of Canada’s up and coming fiddlers of all ages started the show. The stage was full of fiddlers to entertain the crowd.
Then the preliminary round began. Everyone was in fine form; it would be an impossible task to be a judge at that event. The April Verch Band gave a high energy performance, singing, step-dancing and really fast fiddle. JJ Guy from Saskatoon was awarded the people’s choice award and finalists were announced just before the supper break.
For those who didn’t make it to watch the preliminary round, they didn’t miss out, as the whole program began again before the finals, starting with the orchestra, contestants jam session, April Verch show, judges concert and junior showcase performers. The CGM first place winner this year was James Steele from Saskatoon.
As always, the after party was the best part. Time for the contestants to relax and have fun, jamming together at a little pub called The Bassment. It was nice to be reacquainted with old friends and to meet new ones. It was very exciting to be there while history was made – to be there the first time in 24 years that the Grand Masters was held outside Ottawa. Congratulations to the competitors and finalists and many thanks to our family, friends and our local Old Time Fiddlers for their support.
– submitted by