The STEP Fiddlers were founded in 1982 by Christina Smith, to give young Newfoundlanders an opportunity to learn their own traditional music. These young performers specialize in the traditional folk music of Newfoundland and Labrador, and the repertoires of renowned Newfoundland fiddlers, Rufus Guinchard and Emile Benoit.
Students who have taken fiddle classes during the fall and winter semesters can continue through to summer by joining the STEP Fiddlers. Becoming a STEP Fiddlers member is by approval of the STEP Fiddlers Director. Prepare for a summer of gigs and performances at fun Newfoundland festivals and events over the course of 9 weeks of rehearsals during the spring semester with founding director Christina Smith.
The group currently has 20 talented fiddlers, ranging in age from 7 to 15. Members of the group also sing and stepdance. Initially the group was not intended to be a performing group; time and experience, though, uncovered the fact that the foot-tapping fiddling of the STEP fiddlers inspired younger kids to want to learn the music, and older people to want to listen to it.
Approximately 200 kids have learned their own traditional music in this group during the past 25 years. STEP Fiddlers alumni are now teaching fiddle from St. John’s to Victoria. Since the early days, the group has developed into a powerhouse performing ensemble. The STEP Fiddlers’ dynamic stage show incorporates French Newfoundland foot-clogging, a dancing doll, and even some Newfoundland square dancing, while fiddling at the same time. They perform a repertoire of graceful waltzes, touching slow airs and fiery reels, with admirable maturity and finesse. Their skill in playing the Newfoundland jigs and singles is indisputable. In spite of their tender age, they are able to engage the audience with the gamut of musical emotions.The STEP Fiddlers perform at concerts, festivals, benefits and events in the St. John’s area, and have performed for a wide range of audiences – from pre-school kids to Prime Minister Chretien, from seniors at the St. Pat’s Garden Party to Prince Andrew at the Arts and Culture Centre in St. John’s. In January, 2009 the senior members of the group travelled to London, England, playing in several professional concerts – and an impromptu session at the Air Canada gate in Heathrow when the plane was delayed! In the summers of 2008 and 2009 they were featured performers at the North Atlantic Fiddle Convention, the Canada Day Celebrations, and the Newfoundland and Labrador Folk Festival; and they performed at the Canadian Folk Music Awards Gala in November 2008.
$120 for Suzuki students
$145 for non-Suzuki students
$15 uniform fee for first-time members