Randy and Gabriela Hamp and their two daughters – Julia and Nicole – have been a part of a Smithers-based group called the Valley Youth Fiddlers since the fall of 2016.
The Valley Youth Fiddlers features dozens of young fiddlers accompanied by family and community members playing backup on instruments from accordion to drums. Their performances feature highly polished arrangements and a professional stage presence.
“I never thought I would be doing anything like that, so I’m just blown away,” said Randy.
The Hamp family joined the Valley Youth Fiddlers on a tour last spring, performing in communities across B.C. including Smithers, Prince George, Sechelt, Qualicum Beach, Victoria and Vancouver.
“This experience is incredible for the girls,” said Randy. “The concerts have been so much fun.”
“They [Julia and Nicole] will probably not have this experience again in their lives,” he continued. “Even if they end up joining an orchestra, this is still a different experience because it involves all kinds of music.”
The group plays tunes from many traditions including French, Canadian, Scandinavian, Metis and African, as well as contemporary tunes by prominent Canadian fiddlers.
“I’ve heard that there’s nothing in Canada that’s doing what we’re doing,” said Randy. “There are old-time fiddlers, all these great groups, classical groups, but we’re blending it all together.”
Although the Hamp family are currently the only Burns Lakers in the group, Randy says more locals will soon join them.
Group members are required to pay a fee and attend the weekly rehearsals, which take place every Monday from 6-9 p.m. in Smithers. Members enjoy the mentorship of professional musicians who come from all over Canada.
The Hamp family is now preparing to join the Valley Youth Fiddlers on their northern B.C. tour of Alaria’s Fiddle, a full-length musical theatre performance.
Alaria’s Fiddle is a fictional tale about a young girl who lives with her mother on an isolated lighthouse. She makes a plea to the world for music to play by sending a thousand messages in bottles that she casts into the ocean. As if by magic, her plea is answered. In time, she receives gifts of music from all parts of the globe.
The tour will be making a stop in Burns Lake on Oct. 15, 2017. The performance will take place at Lakes District Secondary School at 3 p.m. Tickets are $15 for adults, $10 for children and students, and they can be purchased at Green Zone Grocer.
Randy added that people shouldn’t wait too long to purchase their tickets as performances are usually sold out.