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Cariboo Chilcotin Youth Fiddle Society musicians prepare for Halifax

After Halifax musicians enjoyed an exchange to the Cariboo over Stampede, 23 will head east

Some young Cariboo-Chilcotin musicians are preparing for a trip to Canada’s East Coast in August.

Members of the Cariboo Chilcotin Youth Fiddle Society group are headed to Halifax, Nova Scotia, Aug. 17.

There will be 23 young musicians from the group and three chaperones going over for a fun-filled week of musical exchange, after 12 young visitors from Halifax and four chaperones were in the Cariboo for a week during Stampede.

Students from Halifax arrived just before Stampede, and spent their first day at the Onward Ranch doing music all day with Cariboo Chilcotin Youth Fiddle Society musicians, taking breaks to jump in the San Jose River to cool off.

Then the collective group performed live for the first time together at the opening of the Canada’s Man In Motion exhibit at the Museum of the Cariboo Chilcotin to Rick Hansen himself.

“Which was really special,” said Ingrid Johnston, who heads up the fiddle society. She said Hansen took the time to speak to each and every young musician at the event.

The group then played at the Williams Lake Farmer’s Market and 12 of them sang O Canada to open one of the Williams Lake Stampede performances. The group then played along the roadside during the Stampede Parade, and when Hansen came around the corner, they started up again with St. Elmo’s Fire, the theme song from his Man In Motion Tour, and the song they had learned together especially for him.

Johnston said Hansen’s face just lit up and he came by and touched the elbow of each fiddler.

“It was really, really special again,” she said.

The Halifax students went to watch the rodeo as well, something very different for them and not available where they lived.

Students did a field trip to Farwell Canyon and swam at Chimney Lake as well.

A trip to Barkerville included playing in the streets of the historic gold rush town in front of the bakery and enjoying a show at the Theatre Royal.

On their way back, one of the families of some Cariboo Chilcotin Youth Fiddle Society members hosted the entire group for a barbecue in Quesnel.

The group then came full circle, finishing their trip off with a community concert at the Onward Ranch on the Friday evening.

David Archie of Williams Lake First Nation also took the group on a medicine walk so they could learn some of the local Secwepemc culture.

The Halifax group headed home July 6 and now local musicians are preparing to experience what the East Coast has to offer.

The group will fly from Vancouver to Halifax on Aug. 17 and will be there until Aug. 25.

They will be playing music and participating in a musical exchange similar but different to what the Halifax group did while in B.C.

“As strange as the rodeo seemed to them I’m sure we’ll see some really cool things,” said Johnston.

She said for some of the young people it will be their first time on a plane and she’s really looking forward to being able to give such a diverse group this experience.

The Cariboo Chilcotin Youth Fiddle Society includes students from Williams Lake, Horsefly, Riske Creek, Quesnel and Lac La Hache.

READ MORE: Rick Hansen, supporters, celebrate opening of Man in Motion exhibit

READ MORE: Cariboo Chilcotin Youth Fiddle Society musicians take to the stage

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Ruth Lloyd

About the Author: Ruth Lloyd

I moved back to my hometown of Williams Lake after living away and joined the amazing team at the Williams Lake Tribune in 2021.
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