DeKalb County Fiddlers Convention strikes chord in Fort Payne

DeKalb County Fiddlers Convention strikes chord in Fort Payne

August 5th, 2011 by Staff Report in Chattnow Music

IF YOU GO

What: DeKalb County Fiddlers Convention.

When: Noon CDT Saturday (contest registration at 11 a.m.).

Where: Fort Payne Middle School, 4910 Martin Ave., NE, Fort Payne, Ala.

Admission: $8 spectators and contestants (includes entry into one contest category, $8 each additional, $32 band minimum); free for children under 10.

Phone: 256-845-2224.

Email: bwac@russellgulley.com.

Website: www.facebook.com/DeKalbCountyFiddlersConvention.


CONTESTS

Dobro: $100, $50, $25

Peewee Fiddler: $75, $50, $25

Mandolin: $100, $50, $25

Old-Time Banjo: $100, $50, $25

Junior Fiddler: $150, $75, $50

Guitar: $100, $50, $25

Bluegrass Banjo: $100, $50, $25

Senior Fiddler: $200, $100, $75

Bluegrass Band: $800, $400, $200

More than $3,000 in cash prizes will be awarded Saturday to the winning musicians in the 103rd anniversary edition of the DeKalb County Fiddlers Convention.

Presented by the Big Wills Arts Council, contests in nine categories will open at noon at Fort Payne Middle School. In addition to fiddling competitions in three age levels, contests are scheduled for old-time and bluegrass banjo, Dobro, mandolin and guitar, as well as bluegrass band, the final event of the evening.

The first notes of the convention were played in 1908 to, as an early advertisement read, "Let the sound of the fiddle and the bow soothe the savage beast."

In its heyday, until World War II, the convention was among the largest in the South with professionals from as far away as Nashville competing, said Russell Gulley, director of the BWAC.

Musicians from all over the Southeast recognize the convention for its historical and cultural significance. "To continue the convention is to preserve that tradition for future generations," he said in a news release.

Council president Eric McKinney said the economic downtown has made it difficult to continue presenting the convention, "but as many traditions fall by the wayside, it's even more important to hold on to our heritage."

Last year, some 100 musicians were on hand to compete from all over the tri-state area, Middle Tennessee and Mississippi.

Proceeds from the event support the council's Arts in Education programs in Fort Payne City Schools.