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  • Vermilion Voice

Islay Hosts World Renowned Fiddler

Immense talent filled the Islay Hall as the Islay Community Association hosted Calvin Vollrath, internationally acclaimed fiddler, on October 10.

Approximately 160 people attended and the show also featured Jeremy Rusu from Winnepeg, and Calvin’s wife, step-dancer Rhea Labrie.

Though Jeremy was born blind, he can play any instrument he touches. Keeping 95 instruments at home and operating his own recording studio, Jeremy entertained the crowd by harmonizing perfectly with Calvin on a variety of instruments, as well as played his own written piano song, called, ‘Intention.’

The audience thought it was remarkable, and went on to enjoy a Red River Jig and a reel, performed by Rhea. Applause also filled the room for the energy and control put forth in her dance.

Calvin connected with the audience as an area resident from St. Paul who grew up on old time music and learning to play by ear as his father was a fiddle player.

“Inspired by lots of different music, I have composed approximately 700 songs and made 69 albums,” said Vollrath.

With his new album, ‘The Gift,’ The Gift Tour began in Sherbrook, Quebec on September 9, and the last night of the tour was held in Islay.

“I thought that I had played everywhere; now I can say that I have,” joked Vollrath.

“Calvin is a two-time North American Champion who has toured Europe and North America performing, as well as giving lessons and lectures,” said Bruce Gould, Islay Community Association member.

Overall, the delightful music created a joyous atmosphere. He played several originals, a Canadian Military March, Schottische, ho-down, and a waltz. He also played a few covers for a fox trot, and Don Messer classics. The sweet melodies led the audience to tap their toes along and they even shared bursts of laughter and whistles.

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