August 24, 2013 8:17 pm
Updated: September 9, 2013 11:35 am

Canada’s top fiddlers battle it out in Saskatoon

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SASKATOON – Canada’s top fiddlers are competing in the Canadian Grand Masters Fiddling Competition in Saskatoon.

Braden Gates’ father handed him a fiddle when he was five and from that moment on, he couldn’t put it down.

“This is my fifth year here at the Masters. It’s been in Ottawa for the last 23 years, this is the first year it’s moved west,” said Gates.

Braden is one of 28 fiddlers battling it out for the coveted title of Canadian Grand Master.

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“There’s so much fiddling going on in Western Canada,” said Lyle Bolen with the Saskatoon Grand Masters Competition Committee.

“It sometimes goes a bit unnoticed, but there are many fiddle camps in Saskatchewan and across the west,” he explained.

Holding the competition in Saskatchewan means plenty of prairie talent getting a chance to show their skills on home territory.

“Out of the 28 competitors, half of them are from Western Canada, and there’s five right here from Saskatchewan,” said Bolen.

One of the highlights of the event was an orchestra of more than 100 Canadian fiddlers of all levels, uniting for a musical tour de force.

“We assembled them from all of Western Canada, Manitoba, Alberta, Saskatchewan, British Columbia and the Northwest Territories, and our goal was to include as many young and upcoming fiddlers as humanly possible,” said Michele Amy with the Saskatoon Grand Masters Competition Committee.

The sold-out event wraps up tonight, with 11 fiddlers competing in the national finals at 7 p.m.

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