The Youth and Community Fiddle Orchestra
History and Mission
By Leslie Vogel, Music Director
Last March I conceived the idea of starting a fiddle orchestra as a community outreach project for teens and adults. This grew out of my experience of directing and writing music for the Hilltop Circus Orchestra, which provides accompaniment for the Hilltop Circus held at the Pine Hill Waldorf School every February.
Since last spring, with gradually increasing membership, we have had enjoyable rehearsals at my house in Greenfield (NH), and we have had some interesting performing experiences. We currently have 18 members; 4 cellos, 2 violas, 2 flutes, and 10 violins. Membership is open to all reasonably competent players from ages twelve to one hundred and twenty. The group is run as an orchestra, as opposed to a session; I write out the melodies and harmonies to fiddle tunes from many different genres, and we perform primary as a entire group, with occasional solos. We attend workshops to learn more about particular fiddle styles. Each member pays $50 per semester.
In setting the group up to perform once a month, the emphasis is less on displaying our talents, and more on bringing our live music to the greater community. In a time where iPods, Video games, and even old fashioned TV are so entrenched in our lives, we seek to emphasize and share the importance of real people with real instruments playing for our neighbors.
In the past year our public performances have included playing for the High Mowing Morris Dancers, open rehearsals at the Union Mill in West Peterborough, a stage performance at the Blueberry Jamboree in Greenfield, and monthly appearances at the Peterborough Farmer’s Market during the summer.