Shrine to Music will host fiddle jamboree

Shrine to Music will host fiddle jamboree America's Shrine to Music Museum will host the 2000 South Dakota Old-Time Fiddle Contest and Jamboree, Sept. 22-24, in Slagle Auditorium on the campus of The University of South Dakota. Collaborating partners include First Dakota National Bank of Vermillion/Yankton, The University of South Dakota, and the Vermillion Area Chamber of Commerce.

For the 28th year, old-time fiddlers, accordion, and harmonica players will come together from a dozen states or more. They will bring their back-up guitarists and pianists for a weekend of competition and jamming. Waltzes and other traditional dance tunes will entertain the estimated 1,000 fans expected to attend.

The weekend begins with a Friday night jamboree with a lineup of veteran performers. Fiddle, accordion, and harmonica contests are all day Saturday and Sunday afternoon. A highlight is the National Invitational, when a dozen top fiddle players from around the United States are invited to compete. A gospel sing on Sunday morning has been a long-standing tradition.

Howard Marshall of Columbia, MO, who has been both a judge and a national invitational contestant in the past, will kick off the activities with a brown bag lunch program, "The Old-Time Fiddle Contest: A Changing American Tradition," Friday at 12:05 p.m. in the Museum's Arne B. Larson Concert Hall.

New this year is a South Dakota Championship, a Saturday night dance with old-time music provided by some of the contestants, an AutumnFest Sunday dinner, a food booth on the Old Main Quadrangle, elevator access to Slagle Auditorium, and Saturday workshops at the Shrine to Music Museum.

The free workshops will be given by Kay Werre, national invitational contestant from North Dakota, who will teach "Fiddle 101" to total beginners or to violinists who might want to try fiddling; Mel Bedard, national invitational contestant from Selkirk, Manitoba, who will share Canadian jigs and other tunes in a play-along workshop; and, Wilbur Foss, long-time promoter of traditional music, who will tell stories about fiddlers he has known.

A Saturday evening barbeque, room in Old Main for visiting and music-making until the wee hours of the morning, and RV parking on the grass behind Old Main � all new last year � will continue.

Wilbur Foss, who founded the contest with his wife, Elizabeth, in 1973, will again be Master of Ceremonies, assisted by many other volunteers.

Judges will be Charlie Butler, Elizabethtown, KY, Amos Chase, Grantville, KS, and John Lardinois, Bismarck, ND.

Barbara Holmes, assistant to the director of the museum, is coordinator of the contest.

Weekend tickets are $12 in advance and $15 at the gate. Student tickets are $8. Family passes for two adults and their children under 18 are $40 in advance. For more information, call 605-677-5306 or visit

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