Celtic Classic Youth Fiddle Competition

Charles A. Brown Ice House on the Celtic Classic Grounds
Saturday, September 27, 2014 9:00 a.m. to approx. 12:30 p.m.

All contestants are invited and strongly encouraged to attend a FREE FIDDLE WORKSHOP being offered on Sunday, September 28th at Noon at the festival for additional feedback from the contest judges and a chance to learn some new tunes and gain insights and instruction into ornamentation, phrasing and bowing to enhance your fiddle style.
Note: This free workshop is open to any violin or fiddle student or player who attends the festival.

WHAT IS THE CELTIC CLASSIC FIDDLE COMPETITION?

The Celtic Classic Fiddle Competition takes place in the Charles A. Brown Ice House, an historic indoor venue on the grounds of the Celtic Classic. This is a unique contest focused specifically on Celtic fiddling styles, including Irish, Scottish, Cape Breton, Shetland, Orkney and Galician. For participants and audience members alike, it is an educational and entertaining event. Young fiddlers of all playing levels and from different backgrounds will perform both traditional dance tunes and slow airs from the Celtic lands. The contest is segmented into two divisions, depending on age. Three prizes are awarded in each age division.

WHAT TUNES OR STYLES WOULD BE APPROPRIATE FOR COMPETITION?

Most fiddle competitions that take place in the U.S. focus on traditional American styles such as Bluegrass, Texas Swing, Cajun, New England and Appalachian. While some of these playing styles evolved from the original Irish and Scottish, this contest celebrates a Celtic music tradition that pre-dates the American fiddle tradition. Traditional dance tunes such as jigs, reels, hornpipes, slip jigs, slides, mazurkas, polkas, strathspeys and schottishes are all appropriate, as are listening tunes such as O’Carolan compositions and slow airs. Each contestant should choose three tunes of varying form and tempo to perform. (Example: a slow aire, a slip jig and a reel, or a jig, a march, and a strathspey, etc.) The total playing time should not exceed 6 minutes. You may perform your three tunes as a “set” to make the best use of the time allotted each contestant, but it is not required. If you exceed the playing time, the judges will stop judging and deduct points from your total score. A fiddler is encouraged to use an accompanist such as piano or guitar, but it is not required, and the accompanist must not double the melody line. (Keyboard can be provided if requested ahead of time).

WHAT ARE THE JUDGES LOOKING FOR IN A PERFORMANCE?

First, the judges will be looking for basic playing technique such as quality of tone, accuracy in intonation, bowing, rhythm and tempo.  Secondly, they will be looking at the choice of tunes and the level of difficulty. Thirdly, the judges will be assessing the player’s interpretation of that fiddling style and the use of bowing and ornamentation to convey the character of the tunes.  Fourthly, they will be considering the overall performance and stage presence of the player. The judges are professional fiddlers or traditional Celtic musicians, performers and recording artists.

HOW DO I ENTER?

Print out the competition REGISTRATION FORM. Mail the completed form and a check for $10 made out to Celtic Cultural Alliance by September 6th to the address on the registration form. This year the deadline will be strictly enforced. Late registrations must be accompanied by a fee of $20 and might not be accepted depending on space availability. Check this website for directions to the festival and plan to SIGN IN no later than one half-hour before the start of your competition. There is no designated parking for contestants. If you are running late that morning, get dropped off and walk in while someone else parks the car. After the competition, plan to take advantage of the parking space you grabbed that morning and enjoy the rest of this FREE festival!

Registering after Sept. 7th: If you are late to register, please e-mail me to find out if there is still space in your division as the number of contestants will be limited due to time constraints in the Ice House. E-mail: Alison Gillespie at Tafga@rcn.com, and include your name and age. Thank you.

Registering after Sept. 1st: If you are late to register, please e-mail to find out if there is still space in your division as the number of contestants will be limited. E-mail: Tafga@rcn.com, and include your name and age. Thank you.

EXPLANATION OF DIVISIONS

  • The Novice Division is for a junior competitor age 13 or under. Starting time: 9 a.m. sharp
  • The Open Division is for competitors from age 14 to 18. Starting time: Approximately 10:30 a.m.
    • (NOTE: Age is determined as of September 1, 2014)
  • Three cash prizes and medals will be awarded at the end of the contest in each age division. Checks will be mailed to winners within 10 days of competition day.
  • To enter, print out the registration form and mail and mail with $10 check made out to the Celtic Cultural Alliance, to: Alison Gillespie, Contest coordinator, Celtic Cultural Alliance 532 Main Street, Bethlehem, PA 18018
  • For more specific questions about the contest, email Alison Gillespie at tafga@rcn.com

GOOD LUCK!

Celtic Classic Fiddle Competition Rules

  1. A completed Registration Form is required for each contestant. Please Note: Even if you have pre-registered for the contest, you will still need to sign-in at the Ice House lobby in order to receive a playing order on the day of the competition.
  2. Each fiddler will play three distinct tunes with a total performance time (excluding instrument failure or some other emergency) of no more than 6 minutes. Points will be deducted for playing over the allotted time. The tunes should be varied in tempo. The range of Celtic styles permitted includes Irish, Scottish, Shetland, Orkney, Galician, Breton, Cornish and Cape Breton. Please Note: Cajun, Appalachian, Blues, Swing and Bluegrass tunes are not appropriate.
  3. Contestants will be judged on the following: technical skill on the instrument; style and ornamentation; rhythm, timing and phrasing; and tune selection, memorization and level of difficulty.
  4. No electronic amplification of instruments will be allowed other than through the sound system provided.
  5. Each contestant is limited to one accompanist, but it is not necessary to have an accompanist. Accompanists shall not double the melody line with the fiddler. The accompanying instrument cannot be another fiddle.
  6. Broken performances may be replayed only with the permission of the judge and contest administrator.
  7. Contestants must be ready to play when called. A contestant’s failure to appear within a reasonable time of being called to the stage may, in the discretion of the judge and the contest administrator, result in disqualification.
  8. No sheet music or written scores are permitted on stage; all tunes must be performed from memory.
  9. No contestant shall be disqualified from competition for the reason that he or she earns all or a substantial part of his or her income from playing the fiddle.
  10. Contestants are not permitted to approach the judges at any time during the contest.
  11. The organizers reserve the right to adjust the competition categories based on the number of registered participants. Every contestant must enter in the correct age category. Age is determined as of September 1st of the current year. Any contestant who has placed First or Second place in the younger category in a previous year and whose current age is within one year of qualifying for the older division, is allowed to compete in the older division with the permission of the contest coordinator.
  12. Contestants are responsible for the safekeeping of their own instruments and equipment.
  13. Any matter not expressly covered in the foregoing rules shall be ruled on by the judge and contest administrator, and their decision in such regard shall be final.

The Celtic Classic Fiddle Workshop

After all the nerves and hard work preparing for your performance at the Celtic Classic Fiddle Competition, it’s our turn to treat you to a free workshop with some of our contest judges. This will be an opportunity to hear some additional feedback from the judges about the contest performances the previous day and also a chance to learn a new tune, while benefitting from a demonstration of how phrasing, bowing and ornamentation can turn an ordinary tune into something spectacular and memorable. Please plan to stay over or come back to the festival the next day to attend this workshop, gain some more insights into playing traditional fiddle,  and to enjoy some more of the festival band performances and activities.