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Sarah Michel is a local fiddle champion | FIDDLESTYLES

Thursday, November 4th, 2010

Sarah Michel

Sara the fiddler

A local fiddle champion

Nate Luscombe Ashley ┬áKohl CHICOPEE, Mass. Mass Appeal – For the first few years of her playing career in New England Fiddle contests, Sarah was known as the girl with the red hat. Eventually, it was her playing that was being recognized. Performing a medley of old time fiddle songs is Sarah Michel and hand drummer Keith DaSilva.She has entered and won over three hundred contests throughout New England and during her twenty year career… just wait until you hear this woman play!What is the difference between a fiddle and violin? Is there a difference?Its the same instrument. I call classical the serious music. Fiddle music is fun music.Everybody taps their feet. Like I said, its happy music. Its like caffeine. Have a little fiddle in the morning, forget the coffee.What made you pick up this instrument?My sister came home and we were talking about sisters earlier. She came home from school with one. Soon discovered it was not her favorite thing to do. I was about 3 and a half and I cried quite a bit and asked to play. Finally, my mother found a teacher for me. I started taking lessons. 30 years later, Im still playing.Theres not very many people that play the fiddle.Youd be surprised. There is quite a lot of great fiddlers here in the New England area.You see a lot of fiddlers at fairs because they have fiddle contests. I used to travel all over New England and play at fairs.Easy to learn, hard to learn?Depending on who you have for a teacher to start you off. They always say the younger the better, which is natural with anything that somebody a learning. But I have had students that were in their 80s that called me and said its my life-long dream to play and I have taught them. They have done pretty well.Do you play the classical?I sure do. I am actually classically trained with a method called the Suzuki method. I continued all through school and now I play classical mostly for weddings.Do they then get you with the wedding to play some fiddle music, too?I try to work that in because it does add a nice ending to the ceremony, so they walk out to a jig. Its always a lot of fun for them.Have you always played with a hand drummer?No. I have played with many accompaniments. We have been playing together five to six years now.How long did it take to produce these two cds?The first one called “Stories of a Fiddler”. It was done up in Barre, Vermont and took about a day to record it. Then I had somebody go in and play other instruments on it. “Wednesday Night Live” was recorded in Southampton about two years ago and that was a one-shot deal.Where do you want to go from here?I want to continue teaching in my studio in Southampton, Mass. Keith and I do a lot of performing at different nursing homes. We play for the veterans at the Holyoke Soldiers Home three times a month. We do preschools. We do anything. So I just want to keep on going the way I am and play as much as I can.I get that a lot for weddings. People have a special song. The most odd one was a KISS song. I cannot remember the name of it. It was many years ago. That was probably the oddest request for me.Actually a friend of mine got married this summer and they had a violin. At the very end, they walked out to the Final Countdown.Youre going to be playing at an event in Connecticut. Tell me about that event.That is called the Holiday ho ho ho-down. Ill have a full band with me that day, piano player and upright bass player and Keith will be there. Really having a fun time with the holidays, playing some Christmas carols and sing-alongs.Proceeds go to charity.

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