template / single events post

Fiddleheads with Sarah Blair

26 October 2019
9:30 am - 12:00 pm
Burlington Violin Shop

Sarah Blair leads Fiddleheads for a 2-part residency on 9/28/19 and 10/26/19 teaching and rehearsing tunes that Fiddleheads will play on 11/3/19 at the annual Children’s Memorial Service at UVM’s Ira Allen Chapel.

Sarah began playing Irish music in Rhode Island’s thriving traditional music community and honed her playing as a sought-after session leader in Boston and in the world of American contra dancing. She has played at festivals, concerts, and dances from Alaska to Quebec to Florida, as well as performing at the US Embassy in Dublin as a member of a mission led by Senator Patrick Leahy. Her most unusual gig was filling in for fiddler Liz Carroll on tour with The Eagles’ singer Don Henley. She has been featured in a Fiddler Magazine cover story and is included in “Handy with the Stick: Fiddler Magazine’s Best of Irish Fiddling,” a Mel Bay book profiling top Irish fiddlers. With The Sevens, Long Time Courting, and other ensembles, Sarah has played at such festivals as Falcon Ridge Folk Festival, The Dance Flurry, The Philadelphia Folk Festival, Festival Memoires et Racines, The Philadelphia Ceili Festival, Old Songs, The Champlain Valley Festival, The Anchorage Folk Festival, the Lake Eden Arts Festival, and numerous dance weekends across the country.

Sarah Blair teaching at Fiddleheads

Sarah spends much of her time teaching fiddle privately in Montpelier and Burlington, and at workshops and camps, including Northern Week at Ashokan, Groove Camp, the Floating Bridge Music Camp, and The Summit School. For over 25 years, teaching has been a tremendous privilege for her, as she strives to bring her students to an understanding not simply of the sound, style, and techniques of traditional Irish fiddle playing — although that is of course a huge undertaking — but also the context of the music: the background of players and tunes, repertoire, important recordings, dancing, and singing. She has been a recipient of a Vermont Folklife Center grant to serve as a master teacher.

More info about Sarah at her web site here: http://www.sarahblair.us.

The Children’s Memorial Service provides parents and families an opportunity to honor the memory of a child of any age who has died, in a supportive environment with other families, caregivers and community members.  This year’s event is scheduled for Sunday November 3 starting at 3pm and finishing by 5pm. It is held at Ira Allen Chapel on the campus of the University of Vermont.  Family, friends, healthcare providers and other community members are welcome to attend the service regardless of whether their child was ever a patient at the UVM Children’s Hospital.  For further info about the service contact Dr. Marlene Maron at 802-847-4880 or visit uvmhealth.org/childrensmemorialservice.  Any parent can have their child’s photo or written tribute included in the presentation – more info at the web site.

Pick the Fiddleheads group that matches you and your instrument…..

  • 9:30am to 10am for beginners: you’ve got an instrument and you’re taking lessons from someone, but you’re fairly new to playing tunes, Fiddleheads or learning in a group, you are just learning to play by ear, you are beginning to be able to hear and play a short sequence of notes you hear someone else plays slowly
  • 10:15am to 11am for advanced beginners: you’ve learned to play some simple tunes by ear either at Fiddleheads or from someone else, you can hear a short sequence of notes played slowly by someone else and reproduce them on your instrument after a few attempts, you haven’t had a lot of experience learning in a group setting
  • 11:15am to 12 noon for intermediates: you’re able to learn and remember tunes by ear, you are able to play tunes you have learned for others who are listening, you’ve had experience learning in a group setting, you can hear a bar or 2 of music played slowly and reproduce them on your instrument after one or two attempts

More info about Fiddleheads

The primary goal of Fiddleheads is the enjoyment of traditional music and playing that music with others. Regular participation is welcome but not required. Other than a $5 donation for rehearsal sessions there is no cost associated with being part of the group.

When do sessions start and end? Full sessions are about 2 1/2 hours. See above for the segments.  Players who feel confident in an early segment can stay for the next one if they feel they are learning easily and can keep up the pace.

What will you learn? One or two tunes are typically taught in each session. If the session is part of series by the same instructor, they may re-visit/re-teach tunes that have been taught previously. Sessions are also used to prepare repertoire for public appearances. The type of tunes learned depends on who the group leader is. Sometimes its music from Quebec, sometimes Ireland, sometimes Scotland….. typically from places and sources with an active fiddling tradition. Tunes are taught by ear. Sometimes sheet music is provided by the group leader, but not always. If provided, sheet music and recordings are most often sent via e-mail after the session is over.  If you’re new to the group and want those things, make sure we have your e-mail address before you leave.

All melody instruments welcome, not just fiddles. Fiddlers are in the majority at the sessions, but those who play harp, cello, banjo, mandolin, whistle, pipes and others have also been involved. Guitar, keyboard and other accompaniment-oriented players are welcome, but the teaching is mostly melody/tune-oriented.  Players of other instruments have participated and are most welcome, but they should be fairly comfortable with listening and being able to transfer notes they hear to their own instrument.  There won’t likely be anything like ‘put your 1st finger on the 2nd string’ as it applies to instruments other than the instructor’s instrument.

Where? The Burlington Violin Shop in Burlington

When? Most often there is at least one Fiddleheads session a month, mid to late morning. E-mail notices are often sent in advance of each session. Write to mark.sustic@gmail.com to be put on that mailing list.

What to bring? Bring your instrument, a tuning device (if you use one) and a recording device as needed. Video and/or audio recordings (and sheet music when available) of tunes taught at each session are e-mailed after the session to those who attend.

What playing level? See the description of each section above.

What does it cost? $5 donation is suggested. First timers are welcome to observe without contributing. Checks should be made out to Young Tradition Vermont (or ‘YTV’). If that’s a hardship or you forget to bring money, no one is refused.

You can just show up if you want to, but there’s room for only a limited number of participants. It is helpful if you can RSVP with an e-mail to mark.sustic@gmail.com. We also send messages about canceling if there’s not more than 4 or 5 confirmed for a session. Best to let us know if you’re planning on attending.

Additional information is available on the Fiddleheads Facebook page.

vermont violins