The Vermont Fiddle Orchestra is a community orchestra of musicians who come from a variety of musical backgrounds from around the state to share a common interest in the performance of traditional fiddle music. The orchestra plays by ear as well as written arrangements of traditional tunes from various styles including Celtic, French Canadian, Swedish, Southern U.S. and New England – with a special selections of tunes written by Vermont Fiddlers. The graduated parts and chord charts allow musicians of various ability levels to play together in harmony.
The purpose of the orchestra is to provide a place for musicians to learn all the basics of performing and musicianship both in the traditional manner (learning by ear) and using sheet music. This Community Orchestra meets weekly in Montpelier and performs for contra dances, convalescent centers, community events and fundraising events throughout the state. There are three sessions yearly: fall, spring and summer – so participants can pick and choose any or all of the sessions. Each session culminates with a final performance. Many of these performances include prominent Vermont fiddlers or folk artists and are performed in fine concert halls. These special events help give members a well-rounded performance background.
Other intermediate players such as guitarists, mandolin players, banjo players, accordionists, flute and penny whistle players (silver or wooden) and folk percussionists are welcome by informal audition or teacher referral, as spaces are limited.
The Vermont Fiddle Orchestra is truly the “People’s Orchestra” in that no audition is required for fiddles, violas, cellos, or basses and players of all levels are welcome. Some of our members begin after less than a year of training, and some of our players are regular trophy winners in fiddle contests. So dust off your fiddle (or rent or buy one locally) and join us! There is no limit to the number of fiddlers. The more the better!!