Canadian Fiddle - March 13, 2021
A Canadian and US National fiddle champion, Shane Cook captivates audiences with technically thrilling and adventurous performances. Noted by The Canadian Fiddlers’ Hall of Fame as one of the “finest fiddlers in the world today,” Shane has distinguished himself as a master of the Canadian old-time fiddle tradition. He also enjoys playing and arranging everything from traditional Irish and Scottish music to Pop and Bluegrass.
As one of Canada’s most highly awarded fiddlers,Shane is a three-time Canadian Open National Champion and a three-time Canadian Grand Masters Champion. Shane is also the only foreign fiddler to win the US Grand National Championship, a feat he accomplished at just 17 years of age!
Shane leads his own group, Shane Cook and the Woodchippers, and performs regularly with several ensembles including Grammy-nominee Claire Lynch Band, The Step Crew,Allison Lupton Band,Brian Pickell Band and the PBS hit, Bowfire, having toured extensively in Canada, the US, the UK, Ireland, Germany, China and Taiwan. Shane is a graduate of Western University and resides in London, Ontario with his wife and son.
At the age of four, Patti began to learn playing the fiddle, and has a resume that reads like that of an Olympic champion. A few to her credit includes the Canadian Junior Champion (1985), 3-time Champion at the famous Pembroke, ON competition, 6 time Manitoba Champion, 3 time Grand North American Champion, and in 1994, 1995 and again in 1996, Patti won the prestigious Canadian Grand Masters Fiddling Championship in Ottawa, ON. Patti was the first woman in the history of Canada to ever win and was the very first person from Western Canada to attain the crown.
Patti is known across the country in the fiddle music world and with her humble demeanour and personable stage presence allows the audience to soak in the music and connect with her in a special way. Patti has a razor sharp wit and when she starts playing her fiddle the musical spirits instantly come alive in whatever room she’s playing!!
After being one of the most sought after old time dance players in her home province of Manitoba, Patti has taken that amazing feel and drive, mixed it up with a little humour, and put together a fun and entertaining show that will have you laughing and stomping your feet, with maybe even a tear or two as you allow yourself to remember the good old days of having a kitchen party until the wee hours.
A strong voice in the preservation of Old Time Canadian and Down East Fiddling, Stacey Read has performed for over 30 years; her first recitals at the tender age of 4. A former student of Ivan and Vivian Hicks; she graduated with honours from the prestigious Berklee College of Music in Boston. A former president of The Maritime Fiddle Association, she is a recognized national competitor having placed in the Top 5 at The Canadian Grand Masters Fiddle Championships in past years. Nominated for 2 East Coast Music Awards with the Celtic group Banshee she has also played on over 20 studio albums; co-producing the Canadian Folk Music Nominated Album for Emerging Artists “The Lumber Jills” in 2019/2020.
A consummate educator, she teaches over 45 students from her studio on the historic Tantramar marshes in Sackville, New Brunswick overlooking Silver Lake which boasted a dance hall in the 40’s and 50’s; hosting the likes of Ivan Hicks and his father Curtis over 70 years ago.
Stacey created The New Brunswick Old Time Fiddle Co. to encourage and encompass her students and their projects; from tours to dances, workshops and recordings. She is the Artistic Director and manager of The Lumber Jills, The Junior Jills and The Lil’ Jills.
From the Indianapolis Irish Festival to opening for George Jones and even an appearance for the Canadian troops at The North Pole; Read is a captivating performer. Past events have also included The Stan Rogers Folk Festival, Rollo Bay Fiddle Festival, Festival of Small Halls, HebCelt in Scotland and The National Celtic Festival in Australia. Her passions to tour, teach and preserve a fiddling style intrinsic to her home province of New Brunswick's heritage have led her far and wide.
Calvin Vollrath’s love of music began at an early age, when he used to mimic his father, Art “Lefty” Vollrath, with two butter knives. His father was a great fiddler in his own right and passed on the family tradition. Calvin was raised on the TV folk musical variety show Don Messer’s Jubilee, and at the age of eight he received his first fiddle. At age 13, he entered his first fiddle contest, and at 17 he was winning the Championship class. He was crowned the Grand North American Old Tyme Fiddle Champion twice.
He is a musical prodigy and one of the few Canadian fiddlers playing professionally in the Metis style. To date, he has composed over 475 tunes, many of which have become standard contest and dance tunes across North America and Europe. He has cranked out 58 albums, numerous music books of original compositions, and an instructional DVD. He was commissioned to compose five fiddle tunes for the Opening Ceremonies of the 2010 Vancouver Winter Olympics to represent the various styles of fiddling our country has to offer. He also wrote the theme (“Fiddles of the World”) for the international fiddle convention held in Halifax in July 1999.
As a teacher, Calvin has been recognized by the Saskatchewan Cultural Exchange Society as one of the driving forces behind the revitalization of fiddle music. In 2007, he started his own camp in northeast Alberta, aptly naming it Camp Calvin. He also teaches at numerous workshops throughout Canada and the United States.
Awards he has received include the Lifetime Achievement Award from the Canadian Grand Masters Fiddling Championship (2005), a Lifetime Achievement Award from the Alberta Men of Country Music (2007), and the Bev Munro Award (2009), which was sponsored by the Association of Canadian Country Music Legends. In 2011, he was inducted into the North American Fiddlers Hall of Fame in New York.
Calvin represents Alberta and Canada internationally. Since his participation at the 2000 World Music Expo in Berlin, he has toured several European countries. He has recorded with the likes of Ian Tyson and Colleen Peterson and is still in demand as a studio musician for various Canadian artists and film and television productions.