Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Scottish Fiddle Contest

The second weekend in October is always overbooked with the Seaside Highland Games, the Goleta Old-Time Fiddlers Convention, and AYSO. Something has to go and we made one good and one bad decision this year. The good one was that right after Anya's soccer game on Saturday, the whole family hopped into the car to drive to Ventura. Was getting a bit stressful with traffic, but we made it just in time for the 1-2 pm round of the Scottish Fiddle Contest.

There are not very many Scottish Fiddle Contest around, in fact, this may be the only one in California. It is organized by Shauna Pickett-Gordon, who with her husband founded the Scottish Fiddlers of Los Angeles and now runs the Peninsula Scottish Fiddlers group. Colyn Fischer, a national champion himself, is the judge. The winner of the contest also qualifies for national championship. It is a very peculiar format and demanding as it requires playing an air and then a set of consisting of a march, a strathspey, and a reel. This is a large entry barrier as few people even know what that is, let alone are able to play it. Consequently, it is a fairly small contest, very different from the Topanga Banjo Fiddle Contest where almost everything goes and which has 200 contestants. 

It is a small and friendly group at the contest and contestants know each other well, in fact, even more often play music together. Obin competed in the open division and Anya in the junior division. Obin was his usual self and didn't really prepare anything, he was just winging it (even picked up Anya's violin just for the contest). But he knows the genre well enough to take 3rd place overall. This was his air:

Anya,  in contrast, worked hard on her set and won the junior division.



As soon as we were finished, we headed over to the stage in one of the exhibit halls and played a set with the Scottish Fiddlers of Los Angeles. Kids played fiddle, Kathy guitar, and I played bass. Worked pretty well, even though Celtic Spring is a tough act to follow....

The not so good decision was on Sunday. We skipped Goleta this year because it is a long drive, Kathy wanted to go running, Anya play soccer. But it turned out that Anya didn't have much fun at the 5X5 tournament and I managed to break my collar bone rather badly. Totally dumb fall, slipped off the pedals, almost like slipping in your bathtub.  Biked home and made Anya some lunch, then off to the emergency room. Had surgery later that week and takes me out for the rest of the year....


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