Date: Friday, Aug 21st, 2015

Time: 7:00 pm


Location: Stuart’s Opera House

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Of the instruments that have long called Appalachia their home, the fiddle has to be the most venerated. The violin figured into the history of practically every culture that settled this area, whether to homestead or to work in the mines, and ethnic music from many lands melted together here to become what’s now called “roots music.”

So it’s especially appropriate that the Parade of the Hills is home to the Ohio State Fiddling Contest, where some of the region’s finest musicians compete to be named the king or queen of the state’s fiddle players. And that’s exactly what happened Friday night, when dozens of fiddlers ages 4 to, well, a lot older than 4, competed before a packed Stuart’s Opera House audience.

Besides being a great deal of fun (even though “Orange Blossom Special” is banned from fiddle competitions in the U.S. and “Ashokan Farewell” probably soon will be), the competition is very serious. A panel of judges chose the top three fiddlers in each of four categories – but the fiddlers were identified only by number, and the judges, at a table in the balcony, sat with their backs to the stage. They knew neither the names nor the appearance of the contestants.

Alas, though you get to see how the fiddlers look and learn some of their names, unlike the judges you do not get to hear their playing, which it was universally agreed was superb.


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