Nanaimo’s Fiddle Frolics have won the fifth annual CBC Canadian Music Class Challenge.
It was announced this morning that the local fiddle ensemble is getting $3,000 in instruments after snagging first place in the Primary Instrumental (Kindergarten to Grade 3) category for their rendition of the East Coast folk song, I’s the B’y. The young musicians beat out six other groups from Victoria, Vancouver, Toronto, Montreal and Winnipeg for the honour.
“I was pretty surprised, actually, because there were a lot of really strong entries,” said Fiddle Frolics teacher Trish Horrocks.
The Fiddle Frolics also finished in the Top 10 in the Community Music Class category, where they were up against Grade 12 students.
The Fiddle Frolics is a new class that just started in September. Horrocks said the goal was to teach young musicians how to move while playing their instrument, and that fancy footwork is on full display in their entry video. Horrocks said winning the national competition was a valuable confidence boost.
“It’s hard to explain how difficult it is to play the fiddle and dance at the same time, so it was really hard for them,” she said. “So I think it’s really important that they won because now they are seeing, like, ‘Wow, this hard work paid off.’”
Horrocks said her young pupils are planning to donate the instruments they receive to families that wouldn’t be able to afford them.
“These kids, they’re pretty generous spirited kids and I think it’s really important that they understand that music is a gift,” she said. “And it’s a way that we can not just give back with entertaining people but also in a case like this, if there’s a prize, none of us need that prize but there are lots of families who could use that prize.”
The Canadian Music Class Challenge is presented in association with the Canadian music education charity, MusiCounts. This year more than 50,000 students from around 1,200 classes representing every province and territory took part in the competition.