The Vally Youth Fiddlers began performing as a group in 1997, and were incorporated in 2000. Members range in age from 6 to 60, span the range of musical ability, and join together to make music and foster community.
The Valley Youth Fiddlers is an extraordinary group of musicians from northern British Columbia featuring young fiddlers accompanied by family and community members young and old playing backup on instruments from accordion to drums. The group plays tunes from many traditions including French, Canadian, Scandinavian, Metis and African as well as contemporary tunes by prominent Canadian fiddlers. Their performances feature highly polished arrangements and a professional stage presence.
Highlights have included
- Shows written specifically for VYF including “The Fiddle History of Canada”, a show that has been performed by youth fiddling groups across BC, and even in the Yukon Territory.
- BC-wide tours (Alaria’s Fiddle: Fiddling Around the World and The Fiddle History of Canada).
- FiddleFests and Fiddle Camps attended by hundreds of northern British Columbians bringing together young musicians and mentors including VYF ‘graduates’ and exceptional instructors from across Canada.
- Extensive work at practices, retreats, fests and camps with master fiddlers Oliver Schroer, Gordon Stobbe and…
- Truffles program teaching kids to write and arrange music
- VYF Musical Mentorship Program fostering steps toward a lifetime of music not only for the many alumni who have gone on to professional musical careers but also for those for whom music has become part of the foundations of maturity and confidence
- Five CDs including original tunes by young members
- Appearances on CBC Radio programs.
- Community mutual benefit from Family fiddler dance nights and other benefits both for VYF and drawing on the talent and volunteer pool nurtured by VYF
- Performances that bring great fiddle music to a wide diversity of BC audiences in venues from festivals such as the Vancouver Folk Festival, historic Barkerville to schools and community events.
- Performances that reach out to the local community such as Santa’s Breakfast or at the Bulkley Lodge Senior’s Home
What’s most impressive about this group perhaps, is that it is based in a predominately rural region of the Bulkley Valley in northern BC, home to a total of 25,000 people. For any community, this group is an impressive achievement. For a small, remote community, the 16-year history of the Valley Youth Fiddlers is a testament to the dedication of those involved and the winning “formula” that appeals to young people, their families and the broader community.
“This is traditional music as it should be ... in the community, in the family, among friends.”
-- The late Oliver Schroer, Master Fiddler
“This is the real deal. Folk music created and sustained in a way that we tend to think of as happening only in other parts of the world, in other times. The Valley Youth Fiddlers are a celebration of the music and the spirit that comes with it. For anyone who has any doubts about the living tradition or the power of music, prepare to have the Valley Youth Fiddlers change your mind and move your heart.”
-- Dugg Simpson, Musical Director, Vancouver Folk Festival
The purpose of the Valley Youth Fiddler (VYF) Society is:
- To promote a greater appreciation of fiddle music and related arts among youth [and residents] of the Bulkley Valley and northwestern region of British Columbia.
- To provide opportunities for [local and] young fiddlers and accompanists to perform.
- To provide opportunities for residents of the Bulkley Valley to hear fiddlers from other areas, and to share music played by our young musicians across the region.
- To promote the development of fiddling in the Bulkley Valley [especially] among youth and their families.
- To provide musical training opportunities to all youth in the community, irrespective of income level.
- To provide financial assistance to members to further their musical training.
Valley Youth Fiddlers Mission Statement:
The Valley Youth Fiddlers are a celebration of traditional folk music and the spirit that comes with it. The organization is guided by six principles, which include: community, creativity, family focus, learning, performing and self-respect. Players as young as five years of age are given musical direction, support and structure in a safe environment. The by-product of membership in the Valley Youth Fiddlers is that members contribute repeatedly to their community in a tangible way, which translates into pride and a feeling of belonging.