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Old-Time Fiddler’s Convention Returns to App State on Feb. 10

By Sherrie Norris

It’s time to rosin up the bow and get ready for some fine fiddlin’ at the upcoming 10th Annual Fiddler’s Convention at Appalachian State University.

On Saturday, Feb. 10, from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., hundreds of fans, instrumentalists and vocalists of traditional mountain music are expected to converge upon Plemmons Student Union on the college campus for a day-long event that pays homage to a special blend of music familiar to these hills ­– and one that continues to grow in popularity among all ages and lifestyles.

But, it’s not just about the fiddle, according to those working behind the scenes, but rather the event is a celebration of music, history, arts and culture of the Appalachia region, as a whole.
Sponsored by the Appalachian Heritage Council of the Appalachian Popular Programming Society, the convention is completely student organized and funded, said event spokesperson Casey Weaver.

As the council’s recently elected chairperson, Weaver said that APPS is dedicated to enriching students and expanding their knowledge through entertainment that is focused on the historical traditions of the Appalachian region.

An App State junior and arts education major, Weaver said that the upcoming event is the largest of several hosted by the organization each year, which includes contra dances, square dances, storytelling and live concerts.

On Friday, Feb. 9 from 8-11 p.m., a kickoff concert for those 18 and above (BYOB ) will be held at Legends Night Club, featuring ASU alumna and rising folk artist Kate Rhudy from Raleigh, performing with Ellis Dyson & the Shambles.

It’s been said that Rhudy’s recently released “Rock N’ Roll Ain’t For Me,” reinterprets well-worn folk with a new vibrancy, depicting a collection of letters she wrote but never sent, as well as journal entries — stories shared with honesty and authority. Rhudy grew up playing both classical violin and at fiddlers conventions; “Rock N’ Roll Ain’t For Me,” produced by Mandolin Orange’s Andrew Marlin, has now broadened her talent depth to include prolific songwriter.

Ellis Dyson & the Shambles, a six-piece, swingin’ jazz band from Chapel Hill is known for what has been described as “their whiskey-soaked, foot-stompin’ sound and wildly explosive live shows . . . taking their old-time front porch vibe traditional music to the next level with masterful musicianship and showmanship.”

The family-friendly main event at the student union is on Saturday and includes concerts and music competitions featuring fiddle, mandolin, banjo, guitar and songwriting, instructional workshops and a luthiers’ gathering.

Adult competitions will take place in the Summit Trail Solarium from 11 a.m. – 5 p.m., while youth competitions will be held in Linville Falls Room from noon – 2:30 p.m.

The Handmade Market featuring about 25 regional artisans and crafters will be available in the International Hallway from 10 a.m. – 5 p.m.

Attendees can learn about instrument making at the luthiers gathering in the Grandfather Mountain Ballroom from 10 a.m. – 5 p.m.

Closing out the weekend festivities will be a square dance Saturday from 7-10 p.m. at Legends with well-known dance caller Phil Jamison and music by Strictly Strings.

The fiddlers convention and both events at Legends are free and open to the public.

For more information, visit www.fiddle.appstate.edu.