The Gavin Lake Fiddle Retreat exists solely for and because of our students - musicians of all ages and skill levels, from beginner to advanced. If we don't create an environment where you can both learn and have fun doing so, we can't call ourselves a success.
To hear from a few of those past students who do feel we've fulfilled our purpose - those who did learn and had fun doing so - read on!
[Also, read what BC Old Time Fiddlers Association President, John Tribe,
says about his experiences at the Fiddle 'Treat! click here]
"We obviously enjoy ourselves! Why? I guess it's the enjoyment of gathering together with a whole bunch of other fiddlers, sharing tunes, learning the new tunes that the instructors present.
"We schedule our trip, each year, to coincide with the Fiddle 'Treat. I think it's great that there are all ages present - young and old. We all seem to benefit from it." The workshop is structured, of course, but "things are informal enough that you can just relax and have fun learning!"
- M.L., Bracebridge, ON
"Great time, good music, lots of learning & new friends, well-organised!"
- L.K., Bow Island, AB
"I enjoyed the friendly atmosphere! Everyone was so helpful and supportive. My first time at the Fiddle 'Treat was really inspiring, 'cause I was just starting to play ... in fact, that's where I learned, was at fiddle camp!
"Why did I go back? Well ... it was so much fun and I enjoyed the people so much ... I mean, why not go back?!"
- E.F., Smithers, BC
"The people are wonderful and the information will easily last the year until the next 'Treat."
- M.E., Kamloops, BC
"My instructor was excellent; lots of fun, lots of patience and knows how to teach old brains."
- S.K. Prince George
"Good music, good people, good learning, good food."
- R.C., Williams Lake, BC
"It is such a friendly atmosphere - a great place to learn!"
- K.B., Prince George, BC
"A great family event - I love the inter-generational mix! This is so rare in Society, now, and so healthy."
- L.M., Kelowna, BC
"It's a lot of FUN!"
- C.W., Telkwa, BC
"Great knowledge, in a beautiful setting!"
- D.R. & A.R., Langley, BC
"It's a wonderfully unique atmosphere and a great way to learn. Such a warm & sharing place. Good for fiddling, too!"
- B.V., Quesnel, BC
"A freindly, uncompetetive atmosphere, with great fiddlers and [other] musicians."
- M.B., Roberts Creek, BC
"I've never had so much fun!"
- C.M., Sardis, BC
"This camp KICKS!!!"
- T.R., Quesnel, BC
So ... did you notice how often
the words "fun" and "learning" came up?
Now, what could that mean?! (*grin*)
"An Unsolicited Testimonial" from BCOTFA President, John Tribe
[taken from BC Fiddle News, Issue 4, 2001]
My wife Lynn and I took the opportunity to attend the BC Fiddle "Treat at the end of July last summer. I mention Lynn because although she does play a little, fiddle music is not her first passion. Never the less we both enrolled and attended as participants at BC Fiddle 'Treat 2001. For both the more casual and the fanatical fiddle music supporter, BC Fiddle 'Treat is an unforgettable all-consuming experience. Here are some of the reasons:
1. It is a retreat. There is no traffic noise, the telephone is for emergencies only. There is no TV, heck even my radio wouldn't pick up anything. There is no mall, stores or road rage.
2. It is a chance to spent time with some of the very best fiddlers in Canada. This last summer, the Sabir sisters were actively involved in the teaching of various classes. Daniel Lapp worked with the advanced fiddlers both in classes and workshops. Hall of Fame artist Frankie Rodgers taught both traditional and trick fiddling. Charlotte Lapp and Alice Wilson worked with the keyboarders so that they could accompany the classes. Stan Rodgers taught a guitar group in honing their skill. Keith Wilson lent his talent to the Old Time styling, Ivonne Hernandez - our 2001 Fiddle Champion - was teaching, as were Amy Robertson and Andy Goulet. The list goes on and on and I'm not trying to give full credit to everyone only a flavour of the 'Treat.
3. You can and do spend time with really good fiddle talents. The nature of this camp means that you have breakfast, lunch and supper with these talented people and you can spent time talking and learning about them both as fiddlers, as performers and as people. These people become much more than acquaintances, they are folks that you have shared an experience with.
4. There is opportunity and encouragement to perform in public. For some it is a chance to get some hints and tips from active professional performers while for others it is a "safe" venue to make their debut performance.
5. There are all sorts of workshops. Each day of the camp there are at least 3 opportunities to either learn something brand new like playing the tin whistle or to hone skills on how to express your waltzes so dancers find it impossible to sit against the wall.
6. I got to exchange views and ideas about other Branches. To learn how a Smithers group has developed a youth group that comprises some 60 young fiddlers. For me this discussion alone was worth the price of admission.
7. Watching the youngsters running across the field with their fiddle and bow in hand much the same as one would see the same children running with their skateboards in tow. Meeting and chatting with new friends and exchanging a tune or a lick was the usual scene at Gavin Lake.
8. Simply seeing young folks, either in age or at heart, actively pursuing fiddling and playing the music is both heart-warming and inspiring.
9. Finally, if you hate fiddling you could easily spend all your time on the lake or trails. The lake is ideal for canoeing and there are lots of hiking trails. You could bring your camera or paint box and still have a completely unforgettable week.
What else can I say other than I can wholeheartedly recommend this event to any fiddler, young or old, new or veteran fiddler.
Yours, John Tribe, BCOTFA President
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