Nation’s best fiddlers tuning up to take a bow
Canadian Grand Masters Fiddling Championship slated for Aug. 26, 27
BY SIMON FULLER
A prestigious fiddling event will be coming to town this summer.
The 2022 Canadian Grand Masters Fiddling Championship will be held in Winnipeg on Fri., Aug. 26 and Sat., Aug. 27. It will be the first time the event, which will showcase some of the nation’s top fiddling talent, will be held in Manitoba.
The committee chair of this year’s event is Patti Kusturok, who knows a thing or two about the championship. The Island Lakes resident won the event three times in a row from 1994 to 1996, making her the first woman and first person from Western Canada to earn the title.
Kusturok said the nation’s top fiddlers are scouted and invited to the event, which is shaping up to have a record number of registered entrants this year. As well as the competition itself, there will also be an old time dance component, a junior showcase performance by some of Canada’s most promising young fiddlers, and a concert featuring Manitoba fiddle legends.
The dance will be held on Aug. 26 from 7 to 11 p.m. in the ballroom at the Norwood Hotel (112 Marion St.). The preliminaries will be held on Aug. 27 from noon to 5 p.m. on the John Hirsch Mainstage at the Royal Manitoba Theatre Centre (174 Market Ave.). There will be a break for dinner, and then the finals, showcase and concert will follow, starting at 7 p.m.
“Being an invitational event gives it that bit of extra push in terms of prestigiousness,” Kusturok said. “It gives you something to work towards.”
The North American Fiddlers’ Hall of Famer said Winnipeg had been the original host city of the 2020 championship, before the event was cancelled due to the outbreak of the pandemic, which she said was “really disappointing for everyone involved, and we held on to hope until the last second.”
Last year, organizers managed to hold the competition online, and because of the exceptional circumstances it was made open to anyone who wished to compete rather being in the usual invitational format. The inaugural championship was held in Ottawa in 1990, and a year earlier the Canadian Grand Masters Fiddling Association was formed with the mandate to promote and preserve Canadian traditional fiddling and give national recognition to the country’s best fiddlers.
And now, with the championship headed to Winnipeg, Kusturok — who is also a music educator and instructor — said she’s excited to be hosting some of the nation’s top talent, not least because Manitoba is the home of Métis fiddling history and heritage.
“To be hosting the event in Winnipeg is really great, and we’ll get to show Winnipeggers and Manitobans what fiddling talent we have in this country against the backdrop of such a rich fiddle heritage we have in Manitoba,” she said.
Go online at www.cgmmanitoba2022.com for more information and to buy tickets.
Simon Fuller is a reporter/photographer for the Free Press Community Review. Email him at email@example.com or call him at 204-697-7111.