Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Fiddler's Jamboree

Audience members dance in front of the stage at the 2011
Fiddler's Jamboree in East Jordan.
  They may play on a violin but it was fiddlers that were taking to the stage this past Saturday at the Fiddler’s Jamboree in East Jordan. More than thirty individual fiddlers and groups entertained crowds at East Jordan’s Harvest Barn Church including performers from Grand Rapids, Traverse City, Boyne City, the Harbor Springs/Petoskey area and Ontario, Canada.

The jamboree is an annual event held by the Jordan Valley Fiddlers to help promote music programs for young people. According to their mission statement; “To promote, maintain and pass down the tradition of old time fiddle music and dancing.”

A Traverse City teen plays along with her Ukelele accompaniment
at the East Jordan Fiddler's Jamboree. 
The East Jordan jamboree “caters to the younger folks” said Dan Johnston, president of the event’s organizing committee. Funds that are raised at the event are awarded to individual students to further their musical talents. According to Mr. Johnston scholarships are primarily paid, on behalf of students, directly to area music instructors for one on one lessons.

Even though most music instructors teach more of the standard styles of violin Mr. Johnston feels that these types of lessons do help kids who want to learn how to fiddle. According to Mr. Johnston, a fifty-year fiddler himself, most accomplished fiddle players “started in a classical or semi classical form”.

Crooked Tree Arts Center music education director Robert Dudd
and Amanda Westrick of Boyne City perform at the 2011
Fiddler's Jamboree in East Jordan.
Petoskey’s Crooked Tree Arts Center music education director Robert Dudd has participated in the Jamboree since he arrived in northern Michigan eight years ago. His Youth Orchestra was one of the groups that performed during the afternoon rotation. The jamboree “is a big source of assistance to families that are paying for programs” said Mr. Dudd in a telephone interview. “It gives kids the opportunity to concentrate on fiddle work.”

The evening festivities included an old fashioned square dance where a rotation of callers directed dancers around the floor. With square dancing remaining popular in Canada many of the evenings guest callers where from the Ontario area.

The sluggish economy and bad weather in the southern part of the State may have put a damper on both attendance and donations at this years event but not on the spirits of the organizing committee. Even though this was Mr. Johnston’s last year at the helm he is confident that it’s roughly fifteen-year history will continue and he is looking forward to performing again in next years jamboree.


Sunday, March 6, 2011

LSSU Defeats Ohio State to Advance in CCHA Playoffs

Lake Superior State Lakers swarm goal tender Kevin
Kapalka after defeating OSU in round one of the CCHA
playoffs at Taffy Abel Arena.
Its playoff season in the Central Collegiate Hockey Association (CCHA) and this weekends first round match up pitted the number eight finisher, the Lake Superior State Lakers against the number nine Ohio State Buckeyes. Enjoying home ice advantage at Taffy Abel Arena the stage was set for the Lakers squad to bounce back in a big way after being swept by Miami of Ohio in their final regular season series which they did by taking the first two games in the best of three series and advancing into round two.

OSU starting goal tender Cal Heeter

The series started Friday night and even though the score might have made it sound like a one sided offensive triumph for the Lakers that was not the case. It was in fact a defensive battle in which the stars, OSU starting goalie Cal Heeter and LSSU starting goaltender, freshman Kevin Kapalka, whose .926 save percentage is second in the conference, combined for a total of 84 saves. Kalpalka’s 48 saves was a career high that earned him his first playoff victory and the shutout.

LSSU's (left to right) Chad Nehring, Kevin Kalpalka, Zach Trotman
 and Will Acton form a wall in front of the net during round one of
the CCHA playoffs.
 Other than a first period even strength score by the Lakers Dan Radke the net minders held their opponents scoreless until almost the halfway point of the third including a combined 39 second period saves. Laker freshman Kellan Lain put the second dent in the goaltender shoot out when he beat Heeter at the 9:44 mark of the third. LSSU added two more points on empty net scores by team captain Rick Schofield and sophomore Nick McParland. Schofield’s score was his 100th point as a Laker.

It was clear Saturday night that both teams had shifted into playoff mode as they came out at a fast and furious pace.

LSSU's Zach Trotman, Will Acton and Rick Schofield
celebrate Schofields second period score Saturday night.
O for 3 on Friday night the Lakers power play was the first to score Saturday when sophomore Ben Power found the back of the OSU net 11:15 into the first period. Lakers senior Will Acton tacked on number two with an even strength goal just past the six minute mark of the second period and captain Rick Schofield capitalized on the Lakers third power play opportunity giving the Lakers a 3-0 lead that they would take into the third period.

OSU wasn’t going down without a fight and they came out in the third to prove it. The Buckeyes finally managed to crowd the from of the net and scored twice in the first six minutes of third. LSSU starter Kevin Kapalka and the Lakers defense managed to hold off Ohio States offense after that to claim their berth in the next playoff round.

The Lakers round two opponent won’t be known until the completion of the remaining first round CCHA playoff series’.