Fid­dle friend­ships

Chance meet­ing on a bus tour leads to the for­ma­tion of a new mu­si­cal group, Touch of Coun­try, play­ing at venues across the Is­land this sum­mer

The Guardian (Charlottetown) - - ENTERTAINMENT - CEILIDH Sally Cole is an en­ter­tain­ment writer with The Guardian. She wel­comes com­ments about her col­umn as well as sug­ges­tions for fu­ture col­umns from read­ers. She may be reached at scole@the­guardian.pe.ca or by phone at 902-629-6000, ext. 6054.

For Mary Smith, the ben­e­fits of play­ing the fid­dle go far be­yond gain­ing the skills to play toe-tap­ping mu­sic on a beau­ti­ful stringed in­stru­ment.

It’s also a great way to de­velop strong so­cial con­nec­tions.

Smith is con­tin­u­ally meet­ing new peo­ple as a mem­ber of the Prince County Fid­dlers, the P.E.I. Fid­dlers and the Sus­sex Av­enue Fid­dlers, a group led by Ivan Hicks.

“I have made so many friends now through mu­sic. It’s also pro­vides op­por­tu­ni­ties to travel,” says Smith, adding that her friend­ship with Ferne and Lau­rie Bel­liveau of Monc­ton has re­sulted in the for­ma­tion of a new group, Touch of Coun­try, which is per­form­ing across P.E.I. this sum­mer.

“We sing great old coun­try songs, per­form­ing on guitar, fid­dle, man­dolin and key­boards. Touch of Coun­try is a new mu­sic group per­form­ing on P.E.I. this sum­mer. From left are Mary Smith, Theo Wiegers, Lau­rie Bel­liveau and Ferne Bel­liveau. We also have a great drum­mer, Theo Wiegers from P.E.I., who joins us.”

The inkling for this new group be­gan seven years ago. Smith was on a per­for­mance tour with the Sus­sex Av­enue Fid­dlers in the United States when she met the mu­si­cal cou­ple on the bus.

Af­ter a busy day, Smith was al­ways look­ing for peo­ple to play with in the evenings.

“Fern and Lau­rie were of­ten avail­able, so we’d jam a bit. And we hit it off,” says the North Rus­tico na­tive.

One thing led to another and another and soon Smith and the Bel­liveaus were trav­el­ing back and forth across the Northum­ber­land Strait to jam and visit.

Then, two years ago, when the cou­ple re­tired from their jobs, they de­cided to do some shows to­gether.

“We played a lot in Florida to­gether last win­ter. And now we’re go­ing to play for peo­ple on P.E.I.”

At each con­cert, the pro­gram con­sists of old coun­try songs, in­clud­ing Just One Tear Drop, Six Days on the Road, She’s Gone, Gone, Gone and oth­ers.

Smith en­joys their cre­ative col­lab­o­ra­tion.

“Mu­sic is a uni­ver­sal lan­guage. Whether you’re French, English, Dutch or what­ever, mu­sic just seems to draw peo­ple to­gether.

“It’s the en­joy­ment of play­ing ( for your­self) and the en­joy­ment of play­ing for other peo­ple.”

SUB­MIT­TED PHOTO

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