Calvin Vollrath has been fiddling around since he was eight years old.
The Canadian fiddle ace brings his Gift Tour to the Salmon Arm Legion on Saturday, Sep. 28.
A third-generation fiddler, Vollrath and his brothers were introduced to the instrument and old-time music by their father.
“It was dance music – waltzes, jigs, reels, polkas, foxtrots, swing tunes,” he says. “I fiddled because my dad fiddled and all five boys learned on that fiddle.”
At 13, Vollrath entered his first fiddle contest and by the age of 17, was winning the championship class. He was twice crowned the Grand North American Old Tyme Fiddle Champion.
As well as his 69 albums, Vollrath has written numerous music books containing his original compositions and an instructional DVD.
He was commissioned to compose five fiddle tunes for the 2010 Vancouver Winter Olympics opening ceremonies to represent the various styles of fiddling Canada has to offer.
“That was a wonderful honour,” he says, noting he had played at the Junos two years previously and a teenaged drummer with the Calgary Fiddlers, who had recorded a medley of his tunes, was now the musical director at the award show. “He said he was a big fan and had a big gig coming up in a couple of years.”
The tour, like Volrath’s latest CD is called The Gift for good reason.
“This year I released my 69th CD and I have composed around 700 tunes,” he says, noting he does not read music and plays by ear. “I believe I’ve been given a gift. It took a lot of practice and hard work, but I have the passion.”
Vollrath will be joined by Winnipeg-based multi-instrumentalist Jeremy Rusu (guitar, piano and accordion) and Rhea Labrie, Vollrath’s wife and champion step dancer.
“We will play many styles of music so you might hear something by Elvis, Louis Armstrong and more,” he says. “You don’t have to be a lover of fiddle music, if you like music I guarantee you’ll like the show.”
The show takes place at 8 p.m. Tickets are $25 and are available at the Roots and Blues office or online at rootsandblues.ca. Call Roots and Blues at 250-833-4096.