Prince George

alt     4th ANNUAL JAMBOREE – APRIL, 2018

Exact date yet to be confirmed – will be on this webpage as soon as we have it! (still verifying availability of venues and instructors). As in the past three years, it will include instruction from qualified teachers in different levels of fiddling and other instruments, along with a dance and concert. It always proves to be a good time. We will also have a reason to party – it will be theFIFTY YEAR CELEBRATION SINCE THE START OF THE CLUB!

Branch #1 Prince George


Informal fiddling jam sessions in the 1960s in Prince George led to the formation of the BC Old Time Fiddlers’ Association in 1968 that would bring all fiddlers and backup musicians together to further promote and encourage the art of old-time fiddling.  The founding members became the first board, but other enthusiasts quickly joined in. The board formed their own constitution and held their first contest in 1970.  For the early years the contest was held in conjunction with the Fall Fair and was extremely popular.  Guest fiddlers in the early years (who were also judges) included Al Cherney, Graham Townsend, Calvin Vollrath and Reg Bouvette.  Fiddlers came from all over the province as well as Alberta and the US to enter the contests, which eventually led to the formation of other branches throughout the province. In 1978 a group was formed to head up a provincial association and Prince George became Branch #1 of the British Columbia Old Time Fiddlers’ Association. The Prince George club became very active in the 1970s and 80s, and in 1977 had two 16 foot giant fiddles built to scale that decorated parade floats and contest halls for many years. The Championship Contest continued to be held in Prince George for 1978 and 79, and after that it began to rotate throughout the branches. Prince George hosted the Provincial Championships in 1989 and 2014 to mark the club’s 20th and 45th Anniversaries.


The first branch has evolved since its formation 50 years ago, and we currently have a good mix of  all ages participating in jams, lessons, dances, jamborees, play-outs, performances and volunteering. The branch has evolved and changed, and become a more vibrant part of the community.  Like many other branches, the Prince George branch became concerned with decreasing numbers of contestants and in 2015 replaced the contest with a Jamboree, a fun weekend filled with workshops for various levels of fiddling and backup, as well as a concert, dinner and dance. Our first three Jamborees have been great successes and plans are underway for the 4th Jambouree in April  2018.

Thursday Jam nights bring 50 to 100 people out weekly at 7 pm. On jam nights we offer group lessons in adjoining rooms, both beginner and advanced, for the first 45 min while the accompanists have their opportunity to provide songs and music for the dancers in the main hall. A weekly group fiddle lesson was a dream of two of our members who have since passed away, Charlotte Lapp and Ardea Wylie. After their lesson this mixed group of children, teens and adults of all levels of ability then go on stage together to play some of the new tunes they have been learning, as well as other fiddle tunes, until 9:30 pm.  As always, the fiddlers are joined by an array of backup musicians on stage and a room full of dancers on the floor, which gives them an opportunity to learn dance tempos and practise playing with other musicians.  This group often opens for celebrity fiddlers that we host for concerts and workshops. They also play for community events as a large group, while smaller groups play regularly each month at 8 seniors’ residences.  Besides our weekly jams we have monthly dances from September to March, with rotating groups of fiddlers and backup providing the dance music and volunteers providing a lunch and bar.

The club is able to continue only as long as we have helpful and willing volunteers, which can be challenging in this busy day and age. We now have a Facebook page, a valuable way to share upcoming events and new fiddle tunes. With our membership at 120 and new fiddlers coming all the time, we believe the club is an inspiration to the community to develop an appreciation for old time fiddle music, as well as being a source of learning and enjoyment for all member musicians and supporters. 

LAST LOCAL NEWSLETTER – JAN 2018 – Editor Beth Bressette


 FIRST DANCE of the NEW YEAR – January 20, 2018

Come out to Pineview Rec Centre and dance the night away (or at least the part of the night from 8 pm to midnight). Tickets remain just $10 – includes a light meal and prizes!

AGM – Sunday, January 28, 2018

Potluck at 5 pm, meeting at 6 pm followed by an informal jam/dancing about 7 pm. It’s a good time of socializing, eating great food and playing/listening to music – and you might win a prize! Everyone is welcome but you need to be a member in good standing to vote. New ideas for the Club are always welcome, and the current long-time board members would LOVE to have their positions challenged by newcomers!  It’s really not very hard being on the Board – one meeting per month – a good time of planning the events and the direction of the Club. If you would like to find out more, please call Doug at (250) 962-6825.

4th ANNUAL JAMBOREE – Spring 2018

Plans are underway for our Jamboree – very likely in April but will send an e-mail once the date is fully confirmed (still verifying availability of venues and instructors). As in the past three years, it will be a local event that will include instruction from qualified teachers in different levels of fiddling and other instruments, along with a dance and concert open to everyone. It always proves to be a good time. If you’d like to be part of the committee organizing the Jamboree, please contact Barry at (250) 612-8951.


MIKE SANYSHYN WORKSHOP – on September 16, 2017 Mike Sanyshyn, four-time provincial champion from Cloverdale presented a fiddle workshop for members. By using savings we were able to present this workshop at no cost. Attendees learned a couple of new tunes and techniques, after which Mike joined us at our September Dance to play some lively fiddle tunes and back fiddlers.

FAMILY ICE CREAM/DANCE SOCIAL – On Friday, October 13 many people enjoyed the second (of what may become an annual or bi-annual) Ice Cream Social, officially called “Sweet Steps, Serenades and Sundaes: An Evening of Old Time Fun”. It was a joint effort between the Fiddle Club and the Hart Community Association, and people of all ages thoroughly enjoyed themselves as they created their ice cream sundaes and learned some new dance steps with Laurel McKirdy and Club fiddlers and other musicians.

QUESNEL FIDDLE CONTEST – On October 7 the Quesnel branch hosted the Provincial Fiddle Contest, at which Barry and Beth brought home 3rd in Open, 2nd in Senior and 2nd in Twin. We would encourage more fiddlers to take part in the few remaining contests in the province, as contests won’t be around forever (as well, they offer pretty good prize money!). It’s a personally enriching experience to work up some favourite tunes and present them. Contests in 2018: Kelowna June 2 (Provincial contest), Kamloops Sept 8, Quesnel Oct 6. Also remember the camp that Quesnel Branch hosts every year at Gavin Lake, The BC Fiddle Treat. This year camp is Monday, July 16 – Sunday July 22, and you must register early to get in.


Branch #1 hosted the afternoon workshop for 2017 Cold Snap performers, Alastair Fraser (fiddle) and Natalie Haas (cello). Cold Snap 2018 is almost upon us – if you enjoy celtic fiddle watch for the East Coast Kitchen Party on Friday, January 26 at the Ramada Hotel Ballroom, featuring the Derina Harvey Band, Rum Ragged, and Prince George’s Out of Alba. There are also free workshops with the Bands.


The Spot Dance was won by Wendy and Larry Noulette, Kaydence Shelke took home the Door Prize, Gord McKenna won the Members’ Draw, Jim Dow won the Musicians’ Draw, while Lucky Larry Noulette won again and took home $100 for the 50/50 (should buy a Lottery ticket, Larry). Music was provided by Mike Sanyshyn, Kaydence Shelke, Ken Blair, Beth Bressette, Doug Borden, Shawnee and Faith Newton, Alex Arnott, Barry Nakahara, Michelle Sims and Greg Gervais on fiddles. They were backed by Jim Dow, Cy Fortin, Edna and Roland Rouleau, John Broderick, Ken Mierke, Judy Feyer and Al Cardinal. Thanks to the workers: Pat McKenna and Peter Thwaites on Door, Ken Blair in the Bar, Janet Thwaites and Laurel McKirdy organizing our Snack, John Broderick on Sound, and others who help prepare food, setting up equipment and many other tasks.

After the October dance was cancelled due to a severe lack of musicians, the November Dance attendance count suffered a little – only 43 attended the dance on November 18, and half of those were musicians or workers. However, a good time was had by those who came, and Janet and Peter Thwaites won the Spot Dance, Patty Olson won the Door Prize, Pat McKenna won the Members’ Draw, Louise Phillips won the Musician’s Draw, and Flossie Smith took home $71 from the 50/50. Thank you to all of the dedicated workers and musicians. Fiddlers who provided the lively music included Janet Thwaites, Barry Nakahara, Jim Mackenzie, Michelle Sims, Beth Bressette, Doug Borden, and Alex Arnott. They were backed by the solid accompaniment of Roland and Edna Rouleau, Marguerite Mackenzie, Judy Feyer, Cy Fortin, Terry Receveur, Louise Phillips, Gord McKenna, Al Cardinal, Ron Kushniruk, Beth and Doug. It was nice to have Jim and Marguerite out again.

CHRISTMAS PARTY –  Our last jam of the season, Dec 14, was a well-attended event at which dancers twirled to Jingle Bells, the children led a sing-song, and the back table was filled with all kinds of delightful goodies provided by members. We even got to see Armand and Doreen Denicola at the party!


BIRTHDAY CELEBRATIONS AT THE DANCEKaydence Shelke celebrated her 10th Birthday on Sept 18th and her mother brought a beautiful Fiddle Cake to the dance, which Kaydence graciously shared with Alex Arnott, whose birthday was the day of the dance. Everyone sang Happy Birthday to them. (For the November dance Kaydence decided she would rather spend the evening in Emergency after stubbing her toe and ripping off her toenail – ouch!).

FEATURED IN PROVINCIAL NEWSLETTER The Provincial Newsletter, which publishes three times per year, features on its front page a write-up on a member or couple. Branch #1 was asked to submit a story, and the Board agreed we’d like to feature long-time members Jim and Marguerite Mackenzie. Although it took a little convincing to get them to agree, the story will appear shortly in the Provincial – watch for it!

That’s all until the Spring Newsletter. Stay warm and keep on fiddling and dancing!

Beth Bressette, Editor

Branch Mailing Address
Box 416,
Prince George,
BC V2L 4S2
Facebook Address

President: Doug Borden (250) 962-6825                                      Secretary: Beth Bressette (250) 563-1025


120 Active Members, including 19 children/youth and 14 ‘Life Members’ (a special designation with benefits awarded to those members who have provided exceptional volunteer support for the club). Annual memberships, due in April, are $16 for adults and $8 for children and teens.

Special Events                                                                            

JAMBOREE: Dates this year not quite firmed up, but will be in April, 2018.

Regular Events

Regular Playouts – groups of fiddlers and backup musicians volunteer their time on a rotating basis to entertain at one of the seniors’ residences or the cancer lodge monthly from September to May.

Weekly Jam sessions – every Thursday evening 7 – 9:30 pm (September to June) at the Elder Citizens Recreation Association Hall,  1692 10th Avenue, Prince George. Everyone is welcome to come out to play fiddle, attend a group lesson, back up the fiddlers with other instruments, dance, or just listen while visiting with friends over coffee. Cost is $3 (member musicians free), Lesson is $2 for members.

Intermediate Group Fiddle Lesson on jam night in adjoining room, 7:15 – 8:00 pm. Everyone welcome. Cost $2.  Beginner Lessons 7:15 – 8:00 pm in room off stage.

Monthly dances – Dances are held monthly 8 pm to midnight at Pineview Rec Centre, 6470 Bendixon Road, Prince George, on the third Saturday of  the month from September – March (except December). Cost: $10.00/ticket includes a light lunch.  Bar and coffee available. Everyone is welcome. For more information call Beth (250) 563-1025.

Executive for 2017, elected at AGM January 29, 2017:         

  • President: Doug Borden
  • Vice President: Barry Nakahara
  • Treasurer: Terry Receveur
  • Secretary: Beth Bressette


  • Michelle Sims
  • Ron Kushniruk
  • Ken Blair
  • Kareen Graham
 Annual General Meeting
  • Last Sunday of January each year – January 28, 2018
  • Location: Elders Citizen’s Rec Center, 1692 – 10th Avenue.
  • Time: Pot Luck Dinner at 5:00 PM with meeting and jamming to follow.  New Executive to be voted in at that time.