A Great Surprise

 

To end the summer and to celebrate my going to college, this week my parents held a surprise fiddle jam for me with many friends who I played with through the years. I was very surprised to see everyone who came out to the party! A big thank you for making this jam such a fun time! 

 

My greatest thrill was having my three teachers at the jam. It was a thrill to play with them and so nice to have a chance to talk and share some laughs with them before I head out to Toronto. In this picture below, good friends Karoly Sziladi, Cindy Thompson, and Denis Lanctot. 

Memorable Summertime Gigs

This summer I have had a great time at three gigs – all very different performances.

In mid-June, Jim Hunter accompanied me at the Porchfest de Mississippi Mills in Almonte. From the porch of our home, I performed a 45 minute set of old time and traditional fiddle favourites for folks gathered on the front lawn.

 

In July, I was the guest fiddler at Ernie Fraser’s Celtic Jam show at the Kat & Kraken Pub on Elgin Street. Here I was featured for a set of traditional (and some not-so-traditional) fiddle tunes and then I joined Ernie for a jam session to end his show. Many thanks Ernie!

 

At the end of the month, I performed at the Greely Legion Country Music Festival in Ottawa. It was a great time playing country tunes under the hot sun and having the audience up an dancing to the waltzes.

Zigeunerweisen at Grade 12 Cadenza

All through my musical life, except for 6 months of Suzuki instruction, I had never taken classical violin lessons. To be honest, I just wanted to play fiddle music.

When I was accepted into the strings program at Canterbury High School in Ottawa, I had no choice but to step up my game. In grade 10, I realized I needed classical instruction and technique in order to progress my musical abilities to the next level, and so I started taking classical lessons with Karoly Sziladi.

In the first lesson I had with Karoly, he asked me what my goal was before the end of high school. Because I like a good challenge, I told him that I’d like to learn what I considered one of the hardest and coolest solo violin pieces: Zigeunerweisen (translated Gypsy Airs).  Zigeunerweisen is a musical composition for violin and orchestra written in 1878 by the Spanish composer Pablo de Sarasate, based on themes of the Roma people.

Really, I had no expectations I would reach that level in two years, at least not to a performance standard. In fact, for me, learning Zigeunerweisen was more of a life goal and not necessarily a high school goal.

That being said, Karoly kept pushing me, and I had the pleasure of performing Zigeunerweisen at my Grade 12 Cadenza at the Chateau Laurie. Because each student was allowed just 5 minutes for their performance, I had to cut out a few sections. I hope you enjoy.

My First CD

If you’ve been following my blog, you would have read about my performance with Jim Hunter at the Ottawa Fiddle Club in December. We did a 1/2 hour set together, with Jim accompanying me on piano. The live performance was recorded. Afterwards, we secretly put a CD together for my parents, my grandmother, and my Godparents for Christmas. I’m pretty happy with how the CD turned out. All the pieces are live, except for the one entitled “For the Love of Tara”. I thought it would be nice to harmonize in this beautiful piece, so we did a studio recording of me playing the different parts. You can listen to it below and, if you’re interested you can listen to more songs from my album under “Recordings”. I hope you enjoy!

For the Love of Tara