The Franklin County Fiddlers recently returned from a six-day musical tour March 28-April 2, according to a news release from Steve Muise, program founder and director, and Mt. Blue Regional School District orchestra teacher in Farmington.

The tour started March 28 at the Maine State House in Augusta, performing in the Capitol rotunda, and then opening up the House session with the “National Anthem,” which led to an impromptu invitation to perform in the Senate Chamber. They toured the Maine State Museum, and then performed for the folks in the resident wing and memory care wings at the Togus VA Medical Center in Augusta. They also played for a contradance at the University of Maine at Augusta, and then headed to Mid-Coast Maine.

Members of the 2018-19 Franklin County Fiddlers include Emma Charles, Hope Chernesky, Kahryn Cullenberg, Tomas Cundick, Mazie Gordon, Zack Gunther, Maeve Hickey, Aubrey Hoes, Gretchen Huish, Sam Judkins, Shaylynn Koban, Clay McCarthy, Alexandra McCauley, Brynne Robbins, Auley Romanyshyn, Chelsea Seabold, Makenzie Seaward, Colby Sennick and Rachel Spear.

On March 29, the fiddlers were led by alumni fiddler Silas Rogers on a tour of the “Apprenticeshop” traditional boat building school in Rockland. They performed at the Farnsworth Museum in Rockland, toured the Bixby Chocolate Factory, and then concert shared with the Belfast Bay Fiddlers in Belfast. The fiddlers also were the headline band March 30 for the Downeast Country Dance Festival in Topsham.

They then headed towards Boston with a stop on the way to split up the older and younger students for a moment. The younger students did an impromptu outdoor performance, self-led with chaperones, on the Western Prom, and the older fiddlers and Muise performed for patients and families at the Barbara Bush Children’s Hospital. Later that day, the fiddlers saw performance of “Blue Man Group” at the Charles Theater in Boston.

On April 1, the fiddlers toured Berklee College of Music with an official Berklee tour guide, and current Berklee student and FCF alum, Brendan Hickey. The students had three, one-hour clinics with Berklee faculty Joe Walsh, Bruce Molsky and Matt Glaser. The fiddlers capped off their day by performing at the Lilypad in Inman Square Cambridge, and then an impromptu visit to the Prudential Skywalk.

April 2 started with the fiddlers visiting the Constitution Museum in Charlestown, with a walk along the Freedom Trail by the North Church into the Boston’s North End and Quincy Market. The last big stop on the fiddlers trip was to perform at Somerville High School, and the East Somerville Community School. Somerville High School, in a close suburb of Boston, hosts students who speak 70 different languages at home. The fiddlers shared music and contra-dancing with the high school music students. At the elementary school, the fiddlers broke up into small groups to teach students in the El Sistema program a fiddle tune.

The trip was possible by the support of the fiddlers’ families, the chaperones, community groups and local church, through donations, volunteers, all the places they visited,  FCF alumni, regional school district administration, school board and faculty.

A spring concert is set for  May 19 at Mt. Blue High School.

Prior to the trip the fiddlers performed at numerous local events, such as a concert at the Chesterville Meeting House, the post-inauguration homecoming for Janet Mills, the gubernatorial inauguration on Jan. 2, the Jay/Livermore Falls Chamber of Commerce night, two Farmington contradances in December and February, the Rotary Club’s Festival of Trees in December, and their annual “Home for the Holidays” concert in December, where all of the proceeds went to the food bank at Mt. Blue High School. The group also shared their music and “don’t be afraid to be awesome” message with students at Academy Hill School in Wilton, and performed at a Student of the Month assembly at Mt. Blue High School. The fiddlers also held their annual St. Patrick’s Day Dinner at St. Joseph’s and their Weld Town Hall concert in March.

For more information, contact Muise at 778-3511, ext. 3246, or [email protected].

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