The 6th year of RI Fiddle Project started with great energy! Students arrived with instruments in hand, ready to play, with good form, and smiles on their faces. Old tunes were reviewed, and Amazing Grace was the new tune of the day. It's cool to see how much our students have grown up over the summer. They were quick to help each other learn, and were really focused on getting good tone. I am so glad that we are continuing this year.
I had a nice surprise last Sunday. Magnolia (my Cajun band) was playing at the Pawtucket Arts Festival at Slater Park, and suddenly I see Heiner, one of our students, with his sister and Mom. He jumped and joined the band for a tune. What a treat!
Friday, August 22, 2014
August 22, 2014
Dear RI Fiddle Project Supporters & Friends,
Rachel and I would like to update you on the next stage of Rhode
Island Fiddle Project. And yes, there is a next stage!
We've been encouraged by our supporters, friends, and the Woodlawn
Community Center (where our classes are held) to continue the project
with a fee-based structure. Students will be able to access
scholarships and reduced fees as needed.
At the end of June, many of our students applied to keep one of the
Fiddle Project violins as their own. Their written responses were so
heartfelt, that it strengthened our resolve to continue a class for
Starting in September, I will be teaching once a week in the same
unique Fiddle Project style. Rachel will join us for a monthly group
workshop, and some big-picture planning, as well. The monthly group
session will be open to fiddle players of all ages and levels from
all over the area. Other instruments may be welcome as well; check
with us if you are interested. If you or someone you know would like
to participate, please let us know, and we'll keep you in the loop.
The group class will be on the first Thursday of the month, starting
Oct 2nd at 6:30pm.
Both the weekly and monthly gatherings will continue to build on our
vision of a fiddling community from a multitude of backgrounds and
generations, brought together through the shared learning and
playing of fiddling and dancing traditions. If you are interested in
contributing to the scholarship fund for RI Fiddle Project students,
you can do so by donating through Community MusicWorks, with a memo
designating your gift for RIFP.
We are excited to see the next stage of the Fiddle Project unfold,
and hope you are too!
Tuesday, June 10, 2014
Dear RI Fiddle Project Donors, Supporters & Friends,
I’m writing to share some important news about Rhode Island Fiddle Project. After five years, we have decided that this is the final year of the program. As I become more involved in musical performance and teaching work in the Boston area, it has become too difficult to be as present to the Pawtucket community as this program deserves.
It has been an amazing five years for everyone involved, and I know that I will continue to build on the styles of teaching and organizing that I have developed here. Michelle and I also plan to create ways for the current Fiddle Project students to continue their musical learning, if they so choose.
As I’ve attempted to convey to you in each thank you letter, I’m grateful for the care and generosity that you have demonstrated for this project, and just as much, I’m grateful for the trust you’ve put in this project. Whether it was attending a Fiddling Celebration, asking one of our students to be a partner for a dance, or lending an ear when we were facing a new challenge, I am so thankful for the support.
Together, we’ve created openings for students to learn more about what they can do. In this fifth year, Michelle and I have observed some incredible leaps in our students’ leadership. One 4th year student, who has gone through many ups and downs, has now demonstrated that she has what it takes to lead an entire 45-minute group class from start to finish with maturity and grace.
Usually at this time of year, I’m on the lookout for a student to say or write something that would be a good fit for our spring fundraising appeal letter. Even though this is a different kind of letter, I want to share with you what Cindy, one of our graduating seniors, wrote recently. All of our current students have the option to write an essay in order to receive one of our violins to keep (the remainder will go to Community MusicWorks, our fiscal agent). After describing her plans for how she would use a violin in the future, Cindy wrote, “All I can say is that this program has given me a passion and something that made me feel important. It has given a chance to express myself through music and that is something that is more important to me than anything.”
Thank you for your part in this.
Please don’t hesitate to get in touch if you’d like to know more about any of this. If you’d like to hear about future open fiddling classes or performances, please let us know. Our year-end Fiddling Celebration will be held at the Jeanne Jugan Residence at 6 PM on Thursday, June 12th.
Wednesday, June 4, 2014
Tuesday, June 3, 2014
Thursday, February 13, 2014
Meveline said that the day was better than she expected. She didn't imagine that she would know the tunes that would be played, or be able to play along. When asked how she felt about the day.... she said it made her happy! She also really liked the French Roast concert, and thought that the musicians played really well.
Thank you to George Touchstone for the photos.
Friday, January 24, 2014
Many thanks to graphic designer Nicky Nicktern, for her generous and awesome in-kind
design donations (see above) to RI Fiddle Project!
We would also like to thank Joan Webb for her photography of our December Fiddling Celebration, posted here last week!