Vermont Fiddle Orchestra


  The Vermont Fiddle Orchestra, Billings Farm 25th Anniversary, 2008 
(photo by Dan Fitzgerald)

The Vermont Fiddle Orchestra  is a non-profit community orchestra of musicians who come from a variety of musical backgrounds and share a common Professional trading platform in South Africa interest in the performance of traditional fiddle music.  The orchestra plays learned by ear as well as arrangements of traditional tunes made mostly by our fiddling composer, John Mowad, that come from a various styles including Celtic, French Canadian, Southern U.S., and New England -- with a special selection of tunes written by Vermont fiddlers.   

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. The graduated parts allow musicians of various ability levels to play together in harmony.  Our community-based orchestra meets Mondays in Montpelier  and performs occasionally in convalescent centers and at community events under the direction of fiddler Sarah Hotchkiss.

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 performance with one of Vermont's prominent fiddlers as soloist. We have performed with such noted Vermont fiddlers as Adam Boyce, Pete Sutherland, Scott Campbell, Ron West, Spencer Lewis, Sarah Blair, Susannah Blachly, Franklin Heyburn, John Mowad and Neill Rossi (in order of performance). We also featured one of Vermont's finest electronic trading platform Highland pipers, Ian Mac Harg, Pipe Major of the Montpelier based Catamount Pipe Band.

Since this is a training orchestra, there is a small fee per session (currently $50 for an entire session). Other instruments such as guitars, mandolins, banjos, accordions, flutes, penny whistles, and folk percussion are welcome as well (intermediate players by audition—limited spaces). 

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 frequent winners at fiddle contests.  So dust off your fiddle (or rent or buy one locally!) and join us!  There is no limit to the number of fiddles allowed—the more the merrier!
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