Howard's Inc.

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Howard's Inc.

Wednesday, July 26, 2017


Youth ages 5 to 18 have until Tuesday, Aug. 1 to register for the inaugural Sue Cunningham Youth Fiddle Contest being held Sunday, Aug. 20 at Hickory Fest 2017.

Registration is limited to the first six contestants who register in the 5-9, 10-14 and 15-18 age divisions. In other words, a maximum of 18 contestants, six per division, will be accepted for the contest.

This is a free-style fiddle contest meaning youth are encouraged to play the type of music they love be it old-time, bluegrass, swing, Texas style, European, classical, etc.

Each contestant must play one fiddle tune of his or her choice for a maximum of three minutes. There are no restrictions on the style or genre of music a contestant can play.

One accompanist on any acoustic instrument except the fiddle is allowed but not required per entrant. No vocal songs, reading music or speaking into the microphone will be allowed during the contest. The preliminary round will be Sunday morning at 10 a.m. in the workshop tent. The top three finalists round will be on the main stage beginning at 12:30 p.m.

Judging will be based on the following: 25 percent style, 25 percent rhythm, 25 percent clarity/tone and 25 percent difficulty/overall technique. Three judges will score each contestant. A compilation of those scores will be used to determine the winner.

All contestants will receive a ribbon for participating. The fiddler chosen for first place will receive $200; second place, $100; and third place, $50 plus ribbons for the top three winners in each age division.

Cunningham was a world-class violinist and produced Hickory Fest from 2002 until 2013. She passed away in 2015 of cancer. Cunningham was always supportive of young musicians, teaching them to play. The contest was born in the spirit of extending Cunningham’s efforts to give young fiddlers an opportunity to play on stage in front of a live audience and, at the same time to encourage them to continue playing.

All contestants must complete and submit the official registration form (visit by Aug. 1. There is no fee to register for the contest but attendees must purchase a festival ticket except those who are 12 and under as they will be admitted free to the festival.

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