Copperas Cove Library hosts fiddler in concert
By LYNETTE SOWELL
Copperas Cove Public Library director Kevin Marsh had to set out more chairs on Friday evening, as the library hosted a free concert as part of its kickoff for the summer reading program.
Cedric The Fiddler gave a family-friendly performance and took the audience of approximately 45 on a musical journey through the world of fiddling, combining history and folklore with geography and humor as he punctuated his songs with stories.
He started with giving the definition of a fiddle as any instrument with strings that is played with a bow, in a folk style. “Folk style is where you patch the music along, you change things as you like to do it,” he said. “A violin can be a fiddle, a cello can be a fiddle, an upright base can be a fiddle.”
Cedric alternated between playing his fiddle, a custom-made violina d’amore, which is an Italian violin that has a set of five steel strings with another set of sympathetic strings that add to the instrument’s tone.
“You don’t play them with the bow, you don’t pluck them; they resonate as you play,” Cedric said.
“I like to say five of these strings are sympathetic and the other five just don’t care.” At that, the audience laughed.
Cedric also played a mandola, which he called “the mandolin’s big brother.” He kicked off the evening using the mandola to perform a peppy tune originally written for the harp by the late 17th century Irish composer Turlough O’Carolan.
Six-year-old Hayley Sawyer sat on the front row of the concert and alternately laughed at Cedric’s stories and clapped after the songs.
Sawyer said she especially liked this concert because she plays the violin and loves it. She has played for over a year now.
“I liked the music,” Hayley said. “My favorite was the song with the sparrows going cheep, cheep, cheep. I liked that it was silly.”
James Hazelrig has performed as the character of Cedric the Fiddler at Renaissance fairs for more than 20 years. He said he recently finished a 14-week stint of weekend performances, but this was the first time in a long time he’d performed at a library.
“I spent many years in the SCA (Society for Creative Anachronism). It’s where I cut my teeth and honed my skills,” said Hazelrig, whose mother was a music professor. Hazelrig said he took piano and violin lessons as a child, then made the transition to fiddle during junior high and high school.
As far as his musical repertoire is concerned, he draws on a variety of sources.
“I find some from historical references, some songs my parents sang to me when I was a child, and some are just popular songs I’ve fallen in love with, and I write some songs.”
Marsh said the library always tries to have an evening concert for the community as part of the summer reading program.
“It brings people out, it’s a different experience than sometimes people get. I’ve enjoyed having concerts at the library. We’ve tried some different styles of music, and we’ll keep on doing different things to see what people like.”
During the concert, the Friends of the Library held a bake sale, along with offering tote bags for sale and presenting membership opportunities. The Friends of the Library helps fund the summer reading program annually and also donates funds to the library to purchase books via fundraising and used book sale carts at the library’s entrance.