An appreciative audience was treated to suberb entertainment at the Holland Old Time Fiddling Contest on June 13, 14, & 15. Holland and Area Lions sponsors of the annual event, thank all who supported this successful weekend with donations and time. Congratulations to all contestants who made the weekend a success.
The 39th Annual International Old-Time Fiddle Contest was held June 7, 2014 at the International Peace Garden. Fiddlers participated from North Dakota, Manitoba, and Minnesota. Please see the attached file for results.
Bob Kuzak was inducted into the International Music Camp Fiddlers Hall of Fame on June 6, 2014. When Bob was 8-9 years old he took group violin lessons with the Canadian Institute of Music and later, some private lessons, with the Bornoff School of Music. Near the end of the war years in 1944-1945, he played Soldiers Joy and Devils Dream for the soldiers who came to visit at his house. He cut a finger of his left hand and that was the end of his fiddle playing. For the next 50 years, he rarely picked up his fiddle except to play for his mother. She always encouraged him to play along with her singing.
In 1990, when he retired from the Manitoba Telephone System, he started to play again, mostly Ukrainian tunes that he heard his mother sing. As well, he tried to learn tunes from the radio program Polka Party. When Cecil Isleifson repaired his fiddle, he invited him to come to a practice at the Southglen Trailer Park. He joined the Southglen Fiddlers in 1994 and was impressed that all of these seniors could read music and that they knew about key signatures etc. To learn to read music, he went to the public library and picked up some fiddle books. After about a year, he could look at music and play it slowly. In the summer of 1995, he went to the Emma Lake Fiddle Camp. Patti Kusturok was his Emma Lake teacher. The fiddle camp method is to teach you to play, by ear, a waltz, a jig and a reel. This would allow you to enter a fiddle contest. In February of 1999, Bob entered his first fiddle contest, at the Festival du Voyageur, and came third in the seniors category. In 2002, he managed a first.
The first time that Bob notated music was for Cecil Isleifson, who asked him to write out “Rooster on the Fence”. To the best of his ability, he wrote it out, and that was the start of his notating music. Bob has since, been notating the music of Manitoba fiddlers such as Andy Dejarlis, Reg Bouvette, Eugene Laderoute. These notations are being sent to some 110 fiddlers across Canada and the USA as well as to a fiddler in New Zealand and another in Holland. His hobby has put him into contact with many fiddlers across Canada and the USA. In the coming years, he hopes to write out the many tunes that he still has pending in his files, and as well, those tunes that come to the fore.
Bob believes that fiddle playing is an important part of our culture and that the music of our local fiddlers should be preserved.