Fiddlers from Scottish, Irish, and New England contradance traditions will join forces in Concord for the fifth Fall Fiddle Festival, a day packed with workshops and group playing for fiddlers (and violinists who are interested in learning to fiddle!). The Festival is open to teens and adults, and will include workshops on a variety of topics at the novice, intermediate, and advanced levels. In the evening, all five fiddle faculty members, along with their musical collaborators, will present a toe-tapping evening concert of fiddle music open to the public. The Festival will feature guest faculty members Liz Knowles and Maura Shawn Scanlin, alongside three of New Hampshire’s own fiddling favorites, Audrey Budington, Jordan Tirrell-Wysocki, and Liz Faiella.
Irish fiddler Liz Knowles has credits that range from Riverdance to Broadway, and from Cherish the Ladies to the Martin Hayes Quartet. Scottish fiddling champion Maura Shawn Scanlin is making waves in the Celtic and acoustic music scenes, bringing together influences from Ireland, Scotland, and the American South, where she grew up.
From the Music School’s faculty, Audrey Budington is fluent in various fiddling styles and has performed with Rosanne Cash, Darol Anger, and Bruce Molsky among others; Jordan Tirrell-Wysocki is an award-winning Celtic fiddler and Emmy-nominated composer; and Liz Faiella, chair of the Folk, Jazz, and Popular Music Department at the Music School, brings flair and sensitivity to the traditional Celtic and New England folk music she loves.
If you don’t know the tune, but you’d like to play along, what do you do? In this class, we’ll learn the basics of playing backup for fiddle tunes, and give you the tools you need to support the melody when playing with others.
Intermediate | Irish Fiddling Workshop
In this class, we will learn a tune and use it to illuminate your way around style, bowings, rhythm, and ornamentation, diving into these concepts in detail. This class assumes that you know several dozen Irish tunes and can learn by ear.
Advanced | Variations in Dance Tunes
Maura Shawn Scanlin
Melodic variation is one of the trademarks of many masters of Irish and Scottish fiddle playing. In this class, we will take a deep dive into how to go about creating variations/deviating from the melody, on a tune we learn together!
11:30-12:45 WORKSHOP SESSION 2
Novice | Guide to Left-Hand Ornaments, and Controlling the Bow!
Maura Shawn Scanlin
We’ll learn a simple tune by ear in the class, and discuss a couple staple left-hand ornaments to have in your vocabulary. We’ll also look closely at controlling the bow, and making sure we have the tools in place to get the tone we want, the speed we want, and the accuracy!
Intermediate | Chopping
Move over percussionists! Fiddlers can play rhythm, too! Learn the basics of chopping and how to use it as accompaniment with a variety of tune types.
Advanced | Irish Fiddling Workshop
The expectation for this class is that you have a good sense of Irish music, play a lot of tunes already, can learn by ear, and have good facility on the instrument. This class will be one half a tune-learning class and one half a masterclass so bring your questions and a tune that best demonstrates your experience and interest in Irish music (or one that is problematic!).
12:45-1:45pm LUNCH BREAK
Coffee, tea, and cookies will be provided! Lunch is not included in the cost of registration, but you are welcome to bring your own lunch, head to downtown Concord, or order lunch (for an additional fee) from a list of options provided by the Music School in advance, to be offered on-site at lunchtime on Festival day.
2:00-2:30pm GROUP TUNES
Join members of the Fiddle Fest faculty and fellow fiddlers to play some tunes together as a group!
2:45-4:00pm WORKSHOP SESSION 3
Novice | Irish Fiddling Workshop
In this class, you will learn a simple tune and along the way, we will discover ornaments, rhythm and bowing in Irish music – and maybe more! This class is great for beginners on the violin but also violinists who are very new to Irish music. No experience with learning by ear is necessary for this class, though we will be doing that! Have no fear, you can learn by ear!
Intermediate | Bowing Patterns in Dance Tunes
Maura Shawn Scanlin
Once you’ve got some tunes under your belt, the next challenge is to make them swing and groove! Our bow is our groove control, so in this class, we’ll look at a few bowing patterns common in jigs and reels that will help achieve maximum grooviness, even at quicker tempos.
Advanced | The Sublime and Controversial Art of Medley-Making
What happens when you combine several fiddle tunes into one piece of music? Why does it sometimes sound weird? Why does it sometimes sound amazing? We’ll look at some tips and tricks for choosing your tune pairings and smoothing your transitions, and we’ll have some fun exploring why medleys can be greater than the sum of their parts.
4:00-5:00pm SESSION Join Liz Faiella for a low-key, all-levels tune session before we all head off to dinner!
5:00-7:30pm DINNER BREAK
Dinner is not included in the cost of registration, but you are welcome to head to downtown Concord and enjoy food from the local restaurants!
7:30pm EVENING CONCERT
Featuring Fiddle Festival faculty with guest artists Kieran O’Hare, uilleann pipes, and Conor Hearn and Dan Faiella, guitar.