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Trout Lake joins the tradition

Roxanna Thompson
Northern News Services
Published Thursday, December 17, 2009

SAMBAA K'E/TROUT LAKE - Strains of fiddle music floated out of the Charles Tetcho School last week as students in Trout Lake got their first introduction to fiddling.

Between Dec. 5 to 8 the community received its first visit from one of the Kole Crook Association's instructors. The association already has fiddle chapters in almost every other Deh Cho community.

NNSL photo/graphic

Students at Charles Tetcho School in Trout Lake got their first taste of fiddling from Dec. 5 to 8. New fiddlers include from left, back row: Deanna Jumbo, Sheyenne Jumbo, instructor Zav RT and Katrina Deneron; front row: Angel-Rose Betthale, Atanda Kotchea, Aaron Chonkolay and Faith Deneron. - photo courtesy of Elizabeth von Rhedey

Instructor Zav RT spent three days teaching fiddling basics to 12 students at the school. The youths learned the history of fiddling in the North, how to hold their fiddles and bows, and how to play the open strings. By the time RT left, the students could all play a few songs.

"They covered an incredible amount of fiddling territory in the short amount of time I was there," said RT.

The new fiddlers' progress was impressive, she said.

"They're all really keen," said RT.

Sheyenne Jumbo, 11, was among the students who picked up a fiddle for the first time. Jumbo said she was interested in learning how to play because her grandfather David Jumbo used to play the instrument.

"It's fun and it's an easy instrument to learn," she said.

Jumbo can now play four different songs, including Boil them Cabbage Down and Little Liza Jane. She's continuing to practice so she and Aaron Chonkolay can play a new song, Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star, at the school's Christmas concert.

"We have some really talented kids here, some naturals," said Elizabeth von Rhedey, a teacher at the school.

All of the students loved learning to play the fiddle and kept asking for more lessons from RT, said von Rhedey.

"The plane was flying overhead and she was still giving lessons," von Rhedey said.

Each student got at least three group or individual lessons in the three days of instruction. The Kole Crook Fiddle Association gave six fiddles to the school for student use.

"They're just picking them up and playing them," von Rhedey said.

Many of the new fiddlers have decided to attend the Kole Crook fiddle jamboree, to be held in Fort Simpson in January.

RT's visit to Trout Lake was part of a larger tour by two fiddle instructors. RT and Trish Clair-Peck were in Wrigley from Dec. 8 to 11, playing with students at Chief Julian Yendo School.

The students reviewed their repertoire and learned some new songs. On Thursday night they performed in a jam session that was open to the community.

"The kids were really focused," said RT.

The instructors also gave lessons in Fort Simpson from Dec. 12 to 15.

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