Collin Kane invited me to accompany him when he competed at the Long Leaf Fiddle and Stringband Contest at Morningside Nature Park on November 29th. Collin is a Suzuki student in Gainesville. His mother, Diane Shaw is fine clogger who dances with my bands “Fear No Weevil” and “Physical Medicine”. She always livens up our performances. Andy Kane, Collin’s father, is a square and contra dance caller, who communicates a deep appreciation and understanding of old-time music when he calls.
Collin and I had practiced together twice on his two reels and his waltz. Collin seemed to grow in confidence, and I started to settle in on his tunes Redwing, Devil’s Dream, and the waltz (whose name I can’t remember). The day of the contest was finger-numbing cold. There were 8 contestants We sat together, waiting for our turn. I was nervous, but Collin seemed calm. As each contestant finished, I waited for our names to be called, mentally rehearsing our pieces, lightly running my hands across the banjo neck. Wee were last to go.
We sat, tuned, and then Collin launched in, with me trying to keep time, support his playing, generally keep up.
When we were done, the contestants were gathered together as the prizes were announced. The 3rd and 2nd places went to two older boys who had played more sophisticated pieces well. The first prize went to Collin, but his name was mispronounced. As it dawned on him that he had actually won, joy and excitement spread across his face.
I stuck around for a while, playing music with the band “Screech and Holler at Daisy”, and then left for home.
I am told that Collin was excited and when the afternoon stringband contest was held, he organized two other contestants to join him, and they took second place (well there was only one other band, but still).
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