By Gayel Pitchford
contributing writer 

46th Annual Fiddlin' Down the Tracks, Sept. 23

 

September 2, 2023

Provided.

2022 Second Place Band performing on stage in the Junior Band Scramble.

The 46th annual "Fiddlin' Down the Tracks" Old Time Fiddle Contest, put on by District 3 of the California State Old Time Fiddlers Association, will take place in Tehachapi on Saturday, Sept. 23, at Country Oaks Baptist Church, 20915 Schout Road. (The hall has great acoustics, comfy seating and air conditioning!)

This year's contest is being held in honor of Fiddler Carl Parnell, who is a well-known San Joaquin Valley fiddler. Tehachapi locals may know him, as he has competed here in the District 3 contest.

On Sept. 22, the Eve of the Fiddle Contest, there will be a "Jammin' with the Judges" jam session at Tehachapi's Four Seasons Café, 160 W. Tehachapi Blvd. Come enjoy a good dinner, accompanied by the sweet sounds of fiddle music played by this year's fiddle judges: Kathy Kampschmidt, Katie Glassman and Heather Bennett. If you play fiddle music, bring your instrument(s) and play along with us. The music starts at 6:30 p.m.

On Saturday morning, Contest Registration opens (for contestants only) starting at 8 a.m. Opening ceremonies (open to all at no charge) begin at 8:40 a.m., and fiddle playing starts with the Junior Division (ages 13 – 17) at 9 a.m. For the rest of the day, there will be non-stop music, as all of the fiddle age divisions, picking divisions, band scramble, twin fiddles and other fun things take place. Contest fiddlers range in age from 3 to 80+; some have been national champions, but there are also lots of players who are fairly new to the fiddle. Come and cheer them all on.

This year the first-place winner from each fiddle division will be certified to Wieser, where the National Fiddle Contest takes place. If you are a musician, this is the place to be. Grab your instrument, get a few tunes together and come try your luck (and skill). The first five places in each division receive medallions and cash prizes, so there are plenty of ways to win. And lots of good music to hear.

District 3 of the Old Time Fiddlers will also award the 16th annual Howdy Forrester Scholarship to a college-bound fiddler who best exemplifies the spirit of Big Howdy Forrester. Forrester was Roy Acuff's fiddler in the Smoky Mountain Boys band for 36 years on the Grand Ole Opry. Forrester also wrote and arranged many great fiddle tunes, which are played by the best fiddlers of today. The scholarship winner gets a check for $1,000, a plaque and his/her name on the big perpetual plaque. As always, there is no charge to come and watch the fiddle contest, although donations are always appreciated.

This is Americana at its best, and attendees are always amazed at how many fiddlers there are and how well they play. So pack up the family and come join us for a weekend of great music. If you play old time music, bring your instrument and join us in the music-making! Old-time attire, cowboy hats and boots are optional. The hall will be decorated with beautiful quilts, provided courtesy of the Tehachapi Mountain Quilters Guild. For more info, please call Contest Chair Lisa Rosa at (559) 903-4642, District 3 President Gayel Pitchford at (661) 823-8249, or check our website at http://www.centralcalfiddlers.com.

 
 

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