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Winter Fiddler Fest: Good old time had by all

 

A capacity crowd filled the Harbor Grange Hall Saturday to get their fill of old time music performed by members of the Oregon Old Time Fiddlers’ Association.

More than 100 people from ages 3 to 93 clapped, stomped their feet and sang along with their favorite traditional, country and bluegrass music during the event, billed as the inaugural “Winter Festival.”

“It was amazing. It was standing room only,” said coordinator and musician Rudy Spence. “People had a really good time.”

From noon to 2 p.m., members of the association, who traveled from as far away as Coos Bay and Medford, took the stage to perform a number of old time and Americana-style songs. The musicians often took turns performing solos on instruments that included fiddle, banjo, mandolin, standup bass, guitar, harmonica and jaw harp.

Musicians from the audience were invited to join in from 2 p.m. to 4 p.m., when the music moved from the stage to the center of the grange hall, where a jam circle was formed. At one point, a couple stood up and danced to the music while others clapped along. 

Earlier in the day, the association musicians were joined on stage by two local children, Silas Pieper, 9, and Everett VanMaren, 12. Pieper played guitar and the jaw harp on several songs, while VanMaren played the fiddle.

VanMaren’s performance was poignant because he was a student of Carl Rovainen, a Brookings musician and association member, who died last year. Everett, who played a fiddle that was bequeathed to him by Rovainen, stopped at one point to read a short message to the crowd about how much his teacher meant to him.

The event itself was dedicated to Rovainen, Spence said.

Next year, Spence hopes to expand the Winter Festival to include two days of musical performances, workshops and related activities.

For more information about the festival or the Oregon Old Time Fiddlers’ Association, call Spence at 541-661-1995. 

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