Since 1951, the Rotary Club of Shelburne Ontario has been hosting the prestigious Canadian Open Old Time Fiddle Championships. My mom, Carolyn, accompanied her grandfather, Charlie Dyer in that competition in the early years.
In 1979, I started competing and in 1983 won in the 12 & Under Class. In 1985, ’86 and ’87 I was fortunate enough to take the Novelty Championships. (That’s how I started doing the somersaults and walking on a barrel while fiddling). In 1987, I also won the 18 & Under Class – the Canadian Open Junior Championships.
Soon after, I set my sights on the grand Championship – the Open Class! I remember writing that goal on a recipe card and carrying it in my pocket everyday until that dream became reality!
In 1993, I finally made it to the top – and again in 1996. In 2004, my last year to compete, I was delighted to win a special prize – the People’s Choice Award. It was a double thrill because the award was named in memory of my Dad, Merv Woods who had passed away in November 2003.
With such a long history, Shelburne has always been a place of both comfortable familiarity and anxiety – as I would wait to be called to compete. In 2017, I am honoured to once again host the fiddle contest as emcee. It is a lot less nerve-racking simply introducing the fiddlers than it is to stand under the microphone and compete!
The contest takes place Friday August 11th starting at 10 a.m. and Saturday August 12th starting at 6:00 p.m. For more information on the Canadian Open Old Time Fiddle Championships in Shelburne, call 519-925-8620 or 519-925-3037 or visit www.heritagemusicfestival.com