McClurg Jam

McClurg Jam

Sunday, August 22, 2010

30th Annual Kansas State Fiddling and Picking Championships


Today's contests at the annual Fiddling and Picking Championships were great. I attended the Banjo, Guitar flatpicking, Mandolin (part of), Fiddle and missed the fingerstyle.

The weather was not that hot and sitting in the shade with the breeze lightly blowing was not all that bad. While there was a snow cone vendor, there was no ice cream vendor which was a shame. The food was pretty good from the vendors and there was a decent selection. I had the Reuben sandwich and it was pretty good.

I will take a small cooler next time with cold drinks. I will also take my big golf umbrella for shade when the shade moves away from me.

Let me make the following comments about the contests as far as general impressions.
1. Banjo: Pretty good players of differing styles. A real good mix and I enjoyed them all. My favorite player was Noah Musser who plays with The Prairie Acre. A particularly fine performance of clawhammer style playing. Just wonderful.
As with all the contests, you never hear the contestants names (which stinks) so I can not report many names here now.
I also don't know the winners names yet but will post later when I find out. There was a contestant that played with killer timing and execution and was a fantastic bluegrasser style player with the three finger roll style. I have to think he won.

2. Flatpicking Guitar: While all five were fine players only one was of Winfield level and this was the banjo player I mentioned earlier. He was unusually good. However, he exemplified the style now current in the flatpicking world as seen at Winfield that is really pretty sophisticated and well beyond anything like Doc Watson played in the sixties and early seventies, which happens to be what I personally like the most. This is not to knock these especially talented musicians who can take the instrument to the next level. The trouble is, when they do they leave some of us behind. There is no answer to this really.
At any rate, this contest had the "weakest" (poor choice but I can't think of better right now) field and it brings me to say what I had to be a growing impression that Flatpicking guitar playing is in decline in our area and the other traditional instruments are more popular than in the past. I could be wrong and as I said, this is only an impression based on inadequate data.

3. Mandolin: The playing was pretty good overall. I only caught the first half because the Fiddle contests were beginning and I left to see that.

4. Youth Fiddle: Some really fine young players. Mostly good young girls/teens. A couple of young boys played well enough to make their parents proud and a very young and tiny little girl who stole our hearts with her basic learners playing with that big smile and sweet little spirit. I loved it all.

5. Open Fiddle: Here is where the depth of talent really shined. Lots of really good fiddling by several really excellent players. One guy played Missouri Valley style really well and I like that a lot. Again, I wish I could tell you their names but they did not tell you who they were. This has to change!
My favorite performance was the fiddler and guitar player for The Prairie Acre band, Tricia Spencer and Greg Yother who really were excellent. Greg does an excellent job of playing backup. I really like how he does it!. Tricia was spot on the mark and I understand she only made third place but she could easily have won it. The bar was really high here by the quality of the playing.
This is a really fine fiddling contest. Don't miss it next year!

6. Fingerstyle Guitar: I actually missed most of this but caught snatches of it and from what I heard there were some really talented players there. next year I will try to catch more of that. If your a fingerstylist, this is a good contest to see.

I was overall very favorably impressed with the quality of this event. It clearly is the premier OT event in our area and the fruit of the deep field of talent in Lawrence Kansas and surrounding area. This is a labor of love now lasting for thirty years and the organizers are to be commended for keeping faith with this huge effort. Good job!

If you have never gone you must find time to do so next year. This is a very well done event. We are so lucky to have this so close.


2010 Kansas State Fiddling and Picking Winners

Banjo: First Place, Matthew Oliphant; Second Place, Jai Stecker

Miscellaneous Acoustic Instruments: First Place, Larry Carter; Second Place, Don Spain; Third Place, Dave Hooge

Open Fiddle: First Place, Jake Duncan; Second Place, Cara Oliphant; Third Place, Tricia Spencer

Mandolin: First Place, Bruce Graybill; Second Place, David Barnhill

Ensemble Folksinging: First Place, The Nightengals and Guy; Second Place, Park Sisters

FlatPicking Guitar: First Place, Ken Plummer; Second Place, Steve Luper

Finger Style Guitar: First Place, Steve Gouge; Second Place, Jeff Jackson

Youth Fiddle: First Place, Paige Park; Second Place, Cecelia Cook; Third Place, Lidia Strecker

Overall Youth: Matthew Oliphant

1 comment:

  1. bummed to have missed the kstate championships this year!

    you comin to branson this weekend? big contest for sure!


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