Brought To You By NSU; Written by David West
Attendees at the Louisiana Folklife Center program “Fiddlin’ with the Finest! A Celebration of Louisiana Folk Fiddling” on June 10 at the Louisiana Sports Hall of Fame and Northwest Louisiana History Museum were treated to a performance of fiddle musical artistry. Several musicians participated, including three Louisiana State Fiddle Champions, Clancey Stewart (2018), Joe Suchanek (2017) and Ron Yule (2000 and 2019), as well as accompanists Sue Blackmon on guitar and Eddie Richard on banjo. Dr. Susan Roach, professor emerita of English at Louisiana Tech University, and Dr. Shane Rasmussen, director of the Louisiana Folklife Center and professor of English at Northwestern State University, moderated the event, which included a discussion of various aspects of the tradition and a Q&A with the audience. Live music throughout the program included regional fiddle styles accompanied by demonstrations of fiddle stick playing and twin fiddling, with the event concluding with a jam session which included audience members.
The well-attended program was a prelude to the Louisiana State Fiddle Championship which will be part of the 43rd annual Natchitoches-NSU Folk Festival to be held on the Northwestern State University campus on July 22. The Fiddle Championship will be held at 1 p.m. in the Magale Recital Hall. Fiddlers may compete in the championship or non-championship, as well as in the twin fiddle category. Registration is at noon in the first-floor foyer outside Magale Recital Hall. The Fiddle Championship winner will perform on the main stage in Prather Coliseum at 5 p.m.
“The music performed at events like this one remind us how vital and vibrant Louisiana’s folk music can be,” said Rasmussen. “The Louisiana State Fiddle Championship provides important opportunities for fiddlers young and old to have fun while at the same time meet with peers, make new friends, and showcase their talent. When folklife is alive and well people are happier, because our traditions give meaning to our lives as individuals and as a community.”
The event was sponsored by the Louisiana Sports Hall of Fame and Northwest Louisiana History Museum and the Louisiana Folklife Center. Support for the Festival is provided by grants from the Cane River National Heritage Area, Inc., the City of Natchitoches, the Louisiana Division of the Arts Decentralized Arts Fund Program, the Louisiana Endowment for the Humanities, the Louisiana Office of Tourism, the Natchitoches Historic District Development Commission, the National Endowment for the Arts, the New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Foundation, the Shreveport Regional Arts Council and the State of Louisiana. The views, findings, conclusions or recommendations expressed in the program did not necessarily represent those of the Louisiana Endowment for the Humanities.