The Pineland Fiddlers, led by Maine master fiddler Ellen Gawler, plan to travel to Scotland this July for the musical adventure. The heart of their trip will be 10 days in the Shetland Islands, famous for wool, sheep dogs and fiddling. Twelve hours by ferry north of the Scottish mainland, the Shetlands are nearly as close to the Arctic Circle as they are to Edinburgh. Which means more daylight for fiddling and an intensive, experiential immersion into Shetland musical traditions, according to a news release from Christina Kennedy.

The Pineland Fiddlers, ages 6 to 18, will attend the Shetland Folk Frenzy, a festival week of workshops, sessions, concerts and master classes. These young musicians also are booked for several concerts to share tunes from Maine and the Maritimes with traditional music fans across the ocean. After departing the islands, they will travel to Edinburgh to participate in the local music scene there.

In fact, the Pineland Fiddlers have already worked themselves into a frenzy — a frenzy of fundraising. They have shared tunes this fall and winter throughout central Maine or at dances in Bowdoinham and Hallowell. Coming up this month will be a concert at 3 p.m. Sunday, March 10, at the Winthrop United Methodist Church on Main Street in Winthrop; a St. Patrick’s Day appearance from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. March 17 at Maine Craft Distilling, 123 Washington Ave., in Portland; a dance, spaghetti supper and concert at 6 p.m. March 29 at the Vassalboro Grange, 353 Main St.; and of course they’ll perform at the Pineland Suzuki School Benefit Concert at 2 p.m. March 24 at the Messalonskee Performing Arts Center, 131 Messalonskee High Drive, in Oakland.

For more information about these events, visit pinelandsuzuki.org or follow them on Facebook.

According to the release, this trip to Shetland fulfills a dream Gawler has had since she began teaching violin and fiddle lessons more than 30 years ago. As a young adult with a passion for fiddling, Gawler spent time in the Shetland Islands, collecting tunes and learning Shetland-style fiddling from Tommy Anderson. After apprenticing with Anderson to teach fiddle in the upper islands, Gawler was inspired to return to Maine, sharing local fiddle traditions with countless young students and passing this region’s musical heritage to the next generation, just as Anderson did in Shetland. Other connections between this Pineland Fiddlers trip and Shetland’s most prominent fiddler: the Maine fiddlers will be staying in the hostel where Anderson formed the Shetland Fiddlers’ Society and young fiddlers have been learning and performing Tommy Anderson tunes, including one of his best-known, Da Slockit Light.

As part of the Pineland Suzuki School, the Pineland Fiddlers first began studying classical violin by ear, as young as 3 years old. Now, as part of the Pineland Fiddlers, they are participating in the rich tradition of Maine fiddle music.

Consider joining the adventure by attending a concert, donating to their Go Fund Me Page or following along on Facebook. All concert proceeds and donations support traditional music, music education, and these Maine children.

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