Gabe Mann (left) and his grandfather Richie Mann have a close bond, especially through fiddling. To support the annual Kootenay fiddle camp, which brings young musicians together in a local venue, the Kootenay Fiddlers are presenting a show by renowned Canadian fiddler Calvin Vollrath on Oct. 30 at 7:30 p.m. in The Bailey Theatre. For tickets contact the Bailey box office at 250.368.9669.

Passion for the fiddle keeps Kootenay culture alive

Proceeds from the Calvin Vollrath show in Trail will help support the 2019 Kootenay fiddle camp

Handing music down in the family – like traditional fiddle tunes – keeps generations of Canadian heritage alive.

But most of all, jamming with the family is just plain fun.

As a child Gabe Mann was inspired to learn the fiddle from his grandfather Richie Mann, who incidentally, didn’t begin playing the fiddle until he was 70 years old.

When Gabe, 22, is back in town for a visit, the two often play in the living room of Richie’s retirement home in East Trail. Their bond is patently special and held even tighter by their connection through fiddling.

“I did get started because of Grandpa,” said Gabe, who now plays for a bluegrass band in Paradise Hill, Sask. “I think it really doesn’t matter what kind of music is handed down because all music is important for handing down old culture. But most of all, I keep going because fiddling is just fun.”

Besides keeping fiddling alive in the family, as a member of the Kootenay Fiddlers, Richie is very passionate about keeping traditional music alive in the community.

That’s why the musical group is bringing a world-class Canadian fiddler, Calvin Vollrath, to Trail on Oct. 30 for one night of sensational old-time entertainment.

“Kids right up to adults will enjoy this show,” Richie said. “Calvin himself was twice a grand national champion for North America and his wife Rhea (Rhea Labrie) is a heck of a step dancer. Jeremy Rusu is one heck of a back up fellow, he plays guitar, keyboard and accordion, and he’s completely blind.”

This is the first time Vollrath will visit Trail, though he performed a sold out show in Castlegar last fall.

“We were all thoroughly captivated with the concert,” said musician Kathy Markin. “Calvin is also an engaging storyteller and he extended his appreciation to Kootenay #9 Branch (Kootenay Fiddlers) for sustaining our branch and for encouraging and exposing the younger generation through our July annual fiddle, guitar and piano camp.”

Local fiddlers are encouraging the community to support Vollrath’s Oct. 30 performance in Trail because proceeds will help fund will the 2019 Kootenay Fiddlers Camp.

The annual camp draws musicians from across the country to this area each summer. The five-day event, which includes sessions for children and adults, culminates with an impressive jam session by dozens of musicians at Gyro Park in Trail.

Master fiddler Gordon Stobbe – a recipient of the Order of Canada for his work in preserving Canadian fiddle heritage – has led the Kootenay camp for many years.

And Gordon Stobbe brings the story back to where Richie, 85, got his start learning the fiddle 15 years ago.

“My dad passed away when I was 70 and there was this old violin in the basement,” Richie recalled, mentioning his father lived to 100 years. “So I went over to Nelson and bought one of Gordon Stobbe’s beginner books and started going through it.”

Later that year, he saw an ad in the Trail Times that Stobbe was heading a fiddle camp in Castlegar.

Richie went to that camp, and since then, he has never looked back.

Together, he and Gabe still attend fiddle camps from Saskatchewan to Alberta and B.C. throughout the year, including Vollrath’s camp in Alberta.

“Being self-employed most of my life, I never really had time to learn,” Richie said. “So when I inherited dad’s violin I got started, and gosh it’s been a lot of fun ever since.”

Vollrath is one of the few European-Canadian fiddle players playing professionally in the Métis style. He lives in St. Paul, Alberta.

At 13, he entered his first fiddle contest and since then, has been twice crowned Grand North American Fiddle Champion. To date, he has composed nearly 600 tunes many of which have become standard contest and dance tunes across North America and Europe. Calvin was commissioned to compose five fiddle tunes for the Vancouver Winter Olympics 2010 Opening Ceremonies to represent the various styles of fiddling the country has to offer.

For tickets to Vollrath’s Oct. 30 show, visit the Bailey box office or buy tickets online at trail-arts.com.

Just Posted

Rossland’s Seven Summits school gets grant to grow global presence

Centre for Learning hopes to triple the number of international students it has

Rural dividend grants awarded in Kootenay West

Kootenay West MLA Katrine Conroy made the grant announcements in Trail on Thursday

Rossland skiier places third at U19 Canadian Ski Cross

Rossland’s Sage Stefani finished out a successful season.

Warfield elementary school celebrating 70 years

Webster Elementary School officially opened April 23, 1949; open house and events planned next week

Trail workshop offers path forward for affordable/supportive housing

Columbia Basin Trust, BC Housing and the CMHC all spoke during the Tuesday morning session

Dashcam captures close call between minivan, taxi at busy Vancouver intersection

To make the footage more nerve-wracking, a pedestrian can be seen standing at the corner

Waste not: Kootenay brewery leftovers feed the local food chain

Spent grains from the Trail Beer Refinery are donated to local farmers and growers, none go to waste

Deck collapses in Langley during celebration, 35 people injured

Emergency responders rushed to the Langley home

B.C. mom wages battle to get back four kids taken from her in Egypt

Sara Lessing of Mission has help from Abbotsford law firm

VIDEO: Fire guts Peachland home

Crews are still on scene pumping water onto the blaze in the Okanagan neighbourhood

$6K raised in one day’s time for family of woman gunned down in Penticton

GoFundMe launched for family of Darlene Knippelberg, to pay for funeral costs and other expenses

B.C. mountain biker sent home from hospital twice, despite broken vertebrae

Released in Maple Ridge to go home with three fractured vertebrae

Seven tips to travel safely this Easter long weekend

An average of three people are killed, and hundreds more injured, each Easter long weekend in B.C.

Seattle’s 4-20 ‘protestival’ enjoys tolerance, some support – and B.C. could do the same

Seattle’s Hempfest a large-scale occasions with vendors, prominent musical acts and thousands of attendees

Most Read