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MIDWEST FIDDLE & BANJO CHAMPIONSHIP

LINCOLN SQUARE · ON LINCOLN AVE BETWEEN MONTROSE AND WILSON


The Old Town School of Folk Music Announces the 14th Annual Midwest Fiddle & Banjo Championship, with generous support from Seman Violins and Gold Tone Music Group.

Prizes will be given to the top 3 contestants in each category: Youth Division Fiddle, Youth Division Banjo, Open Division Fiddle, and Open Division Banjo. Contestants must register by July 1, 2016.


Divisions

  • Youth Division (under 16): compete as an individual or with a band

    • 1st Round — Wednesday, July 6, 6:30 PM
      Old Town School, Szold Hall, 4545 North Lincoln Avenue
    • Finals — Thursday, July 7, 6:30 PM
      Old Town School, Maurer Hall, 4544 North Lincoln Avenue
  • Open Division

    • 1st Round — Thursday, July 7, 6:30 PM
      Old Town School, Maurer Hall, 4544 North Lincoln Avenue
    • Finals — Saturday, July 9, 1:30 PM
      Old Town School, Maurer Hall, 4544 North Lincoln Avenue

Prizes

  • Youth Division Fiddle (individual or band)

    • First Prize – Coda Bow Diamond NX ($383.50 value) donated by Seman Violins
    • Second Prize – $75
    • Third Prize – $50
  • Youth Division Banjo (individual or band)

    • First Prize – banjo care package donated by Gold Tone
    • Second Prize – $75
    • Third Prize – $50
  • Open Division Fiddle

    • First Prize – Peter Zemon violin ($2500 value) donated by Seman Violins
    • Second Prize – $100
    • Third Prize – $75
  • Open Division Banjo

    • First Prize – Banjola ($944 value) donated by Gold Tone
    • Second Prize – $100
    • Third Prize – $75

Rules

For All: There is no strict time limit, so you may play enough times through to find your groove. To be considerate of other contestants your selection(s) should last not more than 5 minutes. Have one additional tune ready for a playoff, if needed.

Open Division: In the 1st round: play one tune, in the Finals: play two tunes. Entrants may play alone or with a single accompanist.

Youth Division entrants may register as a band* (all lead players must be under 16) or as an individual. Individuals are allowed one accompanist. In the 1st round and the Finals, play one tune. Have one additional tune ready for a playoff, if needed.

*Youth Bands must be fronted by a fiddle or a banjo. The other instruments in the band may be fiddle, banjo, accordion, guitar, dulcimer, flute, fife, harmonica, trumpet, clarinet, etc. Each team may also use accompanying instruments such as guitar, `ukulele, djembe, cajón, piano, bodhrán, or hand percussion!

Judging

Judges will be asked to award prizes solely on the basis of the playing that moved them the most. They will not be asked to decide who has the best technique or who played the flashiest or the cleanest. The only criteria is musicality. What does that mean? It means play from your heart. Play it hard and play it strong so that people want to get up and dance. Play it soft and play it tender so that folks in the audience have to wipe away a tear.

This contest is to promote the many sounds of fiddle and banjo in Chicago. It is being organized in the spirit of fun and musical conviviality that accompanied two huge fiddle contests held in our fair city nearly 80 years ago. Players from all traditions are welcome: old-time, bluegrass, Irish, Cajun, Mexican, Polish, Swedish, etc. Judging will be done on the basis of musicality. All decisions are final and are not subject to second-guessing.