January 21, 2005
Fiddlers and other musicians from throughout Aroostook County and Western New Brunswick have responded to the call to join in this year's Mardi Gras Fiddler's Jamboree, and now organizers are preparing for the area's largest jam session and house party on Sunday, February 6, beginning at 1:00 p.m. at the University of Maine at Fort Kent.
The event, coordinated by the Greater Fort Kent Area Chamber of Commerce, in cooperation with the University of Maine Fort Kent, is an annual favorite held during the Mardi Gras celebration.
"The house is always packed and people can't get enough of the music," said jamboree coordinator Marc Chasse. "For many, this event brings back good memories of their younger days. For others, the jamboree is a great way to see how Valley people would come together for fun until not that long ago."
The spontaneous and informal gathering of musicians is a feature that makes this event so unique. According to organizers, changing the structure of the event to transform it into a more formal concert would be spoiling a recipe for success.
"This is reminiscent of the old-fashioned 'soirees', when family and friends would get together in a home and play whatever instruments, tell stories and jokes, and sing. It would often come after a day of work or 'frolic', when the same people would get together and help one another out with a major project on the homestead," said Chasse.
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 Chasse, who has been videotaping the event for the local cable access television station for years, is always amazed at the wide cross-section of people who attend the event.
The occasional audience member turned step dancer is not uncommon and indeed encouraged at this event.
In addition to great music and fun, people attending the Fiddler's Jamboree will also be treated to refreshments sponsored by UMFK.
A special Mardi Gras Fiddler's Jamboree Cake, designed by UMFK's own talented baker Suzanne Morneault will be served along with coffee, punch and pretzels and chips.
Although, Chasse has spoken with a number of musicians who plan on participating in the Jamboree, others interested in taking part are welcome to show up with their instruments on February 6.
Fiddlers, guitarists, other acoustic musicians, and singers with any questions are encouraged to contact Marc Chasse at (207) 834-3406, before January 23, if they are interested in participating in the event.
The Mardi Gras Fiddler's Jamboree is open to the public at no charge. It begins Sunday at 1:00 p.m. in UMFK's Bengal's Lair and continues through 3:00 p.m.