Strings Alive Fiddle Contest Winners Announced!
Fiddle Contest Impresses and Amazes Audience
The Shuswap Violin Society's Fourth annual Strings Alive Fiddle Contest May 26, 2006 featured twenty-nine performances from area violinists of all ages. The SAGA Art Gallery was packed with music lovers from cities as far away as Kamloops and Kelowna.
Judging were area violinists/fiddlers Dr. Warren Bell of Salmon Arm and Anjuli Otter and Kate Parnell of Vernon. SVS President and contest coordinator Rhiannon Nachbaur (also of Fiddleheads.ca) emceed.
“This was the smoothest contest we've hosted yet,” said Rhiannon. “The players were very well prepared and the audience was astonished at the high caliber of performances. I enjoyed the 'oohs and ahhs' of appreciation and amazement.”
The evening started with players ages 3 to 7 in the “Small-Fry” class. First place winner of the Beginner Small Fry was Jamé Wonacott (7) and the Intermediate winner was Colin Robinson (8), both of Salmon Arm.
Next was the Junior classes for ages 8 to 12. Nine competitors signed up for this class and the judges broke it into three smaller classes by age. Intermediate Junior first place winners were Chloe Davidson (8) of Kelowna, Mary Ross (11) of Salmon Arm and Amy Caughlin (12) of Eagle Bay.
A “Twin Fiddles” category was a new addition to the contest. Much to the audience's delight Chloe Davidson returned to the stage with brother Kyle (6) and the pair won first place.
The Teen category only saw two entires by two fifteen-year-olds. Violist Thea Mongerson of Tappen took a well-deserved first place in the Beginner class. Intermediate teen winner was Celista's Liam Gaw, a previous winner in past SVS contests.
Rhiannon Nachbaur made a special mention of Mindy Buchanan, a Salmon Arm senior, who was the only adult “brave enough to get on stage with all those talented kids” and whom won first place in Intermediate Adult.
The final order of the evening was an open invitation to all the performers to compete for the prestigious “Grand Champion” class. Nine players competed and Chloe Davidson won her third award for the evening. Her name will be added to the Golden Fiddle perpetual trophy and is the current Grand Champion.
Chloe's mother, Celeste, says she had asked her children if they wanted to compete in the Grand Champion class as the call for volunteers went out. She was surprised when both raised their hands and went up on stage. “It was a real surprise because I don't push the competitions. We came out to the contest because I justed them to be inspired by other kids.”
The Davidson children are no strangers to the stage. With their mother accompanying they perform a diverse 45-minute show at various festivals and events in the Okanagan.
"They like to put a smile on people's faces when they play," said Celeste. Chloe said "It was a good place to have fun and try and win things!"
Fiddleheads Violin Studio Students Take Home Well-Deserved Hardware; Teacher is Very Proud
The Shuswap Violin Society's fifth annual Strings Alive Fiddle Contest on May 12, 2006 featured twenty-two performances from area violinists of all ages. The SAGA Art Gallery was packed full with participants, their parents and general music lovers from cities as far away as Chase and Kelowna.
Judging were Salmon Arm musicians Carmen Stoney ARCT, School District 83 Music Supervisor Gordon Waters and Community Orchestra First Violinist Damien Plant. As in past years SVS President and contest coordinator Rhiannon Nachbaur (also of Fiddleheads.ca) emceed and assisted the players on stage.
Sadly several Fiddleheads Violin Studio students were unable to attend the contest due to illnesses and scheduling conflicts, but eleven managed to make the event and score well. Fiddleheads students (as indicated by asterisk *) took four first place and five second place trophies as well as a Grand Champion award.
The evening started with players ages 3 to 7 in the “Small-Fry” class. First place winner of the Beginner Small Fry was Rachel Bates* (6) of Salmon Arm [see photo] who played her own delightful composition "Musical Song" with her mother, Debbie Phillips, accompanying on piano. Intermediate Small Fry winner was Kyle Davidson (7) of Kelowna.
Next was the Junior classes for ages 8 to 12. Fiddleheads student Maria Wallis* of Sorrento won first place in the beginner group after only three months of lessons. Coupled with the gift of an antique full-size violin from Fiddleheads for her tenth birthday only days before, the win made this a very special week she will remember for a long time.
Seven competitors signed up for the intermediate class and the judges broke it into two smaller classes by age. Intermediate Junior first place winners were Chloe Davidson (8) of Kelowna and Mary Ross (12) of Salmon Arm.
First place in the “Twin Fiddles” class for the second year running was the very polished brother/sister duo Chloe and Kyle Davidson with their mother Celeste on piano.
Elisha Ramstad* (18) won first place in Beginner Adult. Special mention should be made of the 2nd place winner, Michael Sears* of White Lake, who faced his fears and played violin for the very first time in public. Both players have been studying violin with Rhiannon for less than a year.
The final order of the evening was an open invitation to all the performers to compete for the prestigious “Grand Champion” class. Four players competed [see photo at left] for the honour and Mary Ross* won another award for the evening. Her name will be added to the Golden Fiddle perpetual trophy and is the current Grand Champion.
Mary has studied the past three years at Fiddleheads Violin Studio and has played in a few student violin groups in concert but still found herself very nervous on stage.
"My stomach was feeling awful but it was a good experience because I got to go up against really good violinists," she said.
"It boosted my confidence because I thought Chloe was really good and I didn't think I would win." Mary celebrated her win with a slurpie afterwards!
Second place in the Grand Champion contest went to last year's Grand Champion Chloe Davidson. The results were very close and the girls' final scores were only one point apart. Third place went to Kyle Davidson and fourth to Tamaya Turcotte (9) of Chase.
Proceeds from the event, estimated around $130, will go to the scholarships program to assist local string players. The Strings Alive Fiddle Contest and Shuswap Violin Society were created and founded by Rhiannon Nachbaur in 2003.