February 13, 2004
Fiddlers and other musicians from throughout Aroostook County and Western New Brunswick are preparing for the area's largest jam session and house party at the Mardi Gras Fiddlers Jamboree on Sunday, February 22, beginning at 1:00 p.m. at the University of Maine at Fort Kent.
The event, sponsored by UMFK's French Heritage Council, is an annual favorite held during the Greater Fort Kent Area Chamber of Commerce Mardi Gras celebration.
"What's unique and so much fun about this event is that you don't know what blend of musicians you will get until they show up," said jamboree regular Lisa Ornstein, director of the Acadian Archives.
The spontaneous and informal gathering of musicians is a feature that makes this event so unique. According to Ornstein, changing the structure of the event to transform it into a more formal concert would be spoiling a recipe for success.
"There are no stars in this event, which gives it the in-house feel and atmosphere that makes this event the success that it is," said Ornstein.
In addition to being an event that audience members look forward to each year, the jamboree is also a favorite of the musicians who perform.
Music comes from the roots of the musicians and Ornstein is always amazed at the wide cross-section of people who attend the event.
"UMFK is one of the cultural anchors for the community," said Ornstein.
The occasional audience member turned step dancer is not uncommon and indeed encouraged at this event.
"This event serves as a return to old ways and old cultures. The Jamboree has been a way to preserve culture and traditions through music," said Tony Gauvin, president of UMFK's French Heritage council.
The Mardi Gras Fiddler's Jamboree is open to the public at no charge during this 125th year of celebration at UMFK, it begins Sunday at 1:00 p.m. in UMFK's Bengal's Lair. Refreshments will be served.
For more information, contact Ornstein at 834-7536.