A more apt title for this post might be “What have we started???” 🙂
This past weekend, we took our little fiddlers to north Georgia, in the foothills of the Appalachian, for the 2013 Bear on the Square mountain festival in Dahlonega. It was amazing. The festival brought together traditional musicians and craftspeople for a weekend of festivities, and while the headline acts on the main stage were certainly impressive, the really exciting thing about the festival is that the entire downtown area turns int one big jam session. You couldn’t walk 10 steps without coming upon a group of folks just playing music. And, as we predicted, it took no time at all for Fletcher and Lola to want in on the act.
They picked a sunny corner and each played a few tunes. Right away people stopped to listen, and within a matter of minutes, they earned their very first (gold) dollar! We did other things – listened to some great music, ate ice cream and shopped for souvenirs, learned to felt soap and build boxes with clay. The kids even got to pan for gold and Lola found a raw ruby! But after that first taste of playing fiddle for an audience, those kids really only had one thing on their minds.
It was an amazing thing to watch! Crowds gathered whenever they started playing. People threw dollar bills into their open violin cases and told them they were investing in the future of fiddle music. I can’t even begin to imagine how many photos and videos of my children are out there right now – everyone pulled out their cameras. And the kids loved every second of it. They quickly figured out a system where they took turns playing songs – Lola even started to dance a little while Fletcher played. That girl was born to be on stage. We forced the kids to stop playing so we could sit and eat a late lunch at the Crimson Moon, but no sooner did we walk in the door than the band invited the kids to come on stage and play a tune! Guess who jumped at the chance (and dragged her brother with her!) I honestly don’t know where she gets it. The child is fearless.
All total, the kids earned just over $86 in tips for their fiddling. Not bad for a days work. But more than the money, I think it was a huge boost to their confidence – Lola in particular just blossomed. She only knows four songs, and she played them over and over (and got a lot better in the process!) but even when she was just playing scales people would clap for her. These kids have big plans for the next festival – I can only imagine that next year they will show up armed with a plan and ready to perform!