Fiddlers Reference

Welcome and welcome back…

… to members new and returning, for another year of fine music-making in the Newfoundland tradition!

This year’s classes are taught by Dominic Greene, Carole Bestvater, and Christina Smith; the performing ensemble is led by Christina Smith; and all the day-to-day details are taken care of by Heather Patey, STEP Fiddle manager.

All the fiddle sheet music and audio has moved to the new website, and can be found at the Fiddle Music Recordings page. This page is password-protected, using the same password as the old one: if you’re in need of the password, you can email Heather.

This year, the STEP Fiddlers performing group will be rehearsing regularly: every other Thursday, approximately, from 6-7:15pm, in the MMaP Gallery, Arts and Culture Centre 2nd floor. All members expected at all rehearsals: junior members from 6-6:45 and senior players from 6:30-715.

  • Thu 13 Oct 2016
  • Thu 27 Oct 2016
  • Thu 10 Nov 2016
  • Thu 1 Dec 2016
  • Thu 15 Dec 2016
  • Thu 26 Jan 2017
  • Thu 9 Feb 2017
  • Thu 2 Mar 2017
  • Thu 16 Mar 2017
  • Thu 6 Apr 2017
  • Thu 27 Apr 2017
  • Thu 18 May 2017
  • Thu 1 Jun 2017

Rehearsals are for working on playing together as a group, polishing repertoire, and preparing for performances – you learn tunes in class and at home. Please do your best to attend these rehearsals, and let us know if you’re unable to come.


The performance repertoire from last year is as follows:

  • Mussels in the Corner / Paddy’s Jig
  • Auntie Mary / Brother’s Jig*
  • Polkas: John Ryan’s / Kerry / Bill Sullivan’s
  • She Said She Couldn’t Dance / Come Upstairs
  • Mrs. Belle’s Cotillion
  • Mildred Murphy’s / The Girl I Left Behind Me
  • Old Country Waltz
  • Steve Neary’s Waiting For This
  • Duffenais Reel
  • Hound’s Tune / Devil’s Dream
  • Reel de la Pistroli / Gerald Thomas’ Burnt Potato
  • Angeline the Baker
  • Verkhovina

These tunes aren’t prerequisites for membership, but rather a guide through the huge long list of tunes that you could be learning. The more players that know these, then the easier it will be to put off a performance with the maximum number of fiddlers playing. If you know them already, give them review time to keep them polished, and consider adding drones, harmony or ornaments to make them sound really professional and interesting!

Rufus Guinchard Film

Rufus Guinchard Film at Newfoundland Heritage website

How much do you know about Rufus Guinchard? Do you know the reason for his strange fiddle position, and why he stopped playing in public? There was a film made about him about twenty years ago, with Rufus telling his own stories and jokes, and teaching the folk-festival crowd of that time (and their little children!) the dances and tunes that he knew, as well as scenes of where he lived. It’s about twenty-five minutes long, and well worth watching. Keep your ears open for tunes you recognise!

Tribute to Émile Benoit

Émile Benoit

Émile Benoit was a famous fiddler from Black Duck Brook on the west coast of Newfoundland, who gave us hundreds of wonderful tunes that are still played today. He died on September 2, 1992.

On CBC Radio in 2012, on the 20th anniversary of his death, host Chris O’Neill-Yates broadcast interviews with his fellow musicians and many people who remember him fondly. Listen to the interviews (including one with Christina Smith and Matilda Goldie, one of our STEP Fiddlers) and a documentary on Émile, at the CBC’s website: Vive Émile.

One of “The Most Interesting People In Newfoundland”

Christina Smith

Speaking of famous fiddlers, Christina was interviewed on video by the newspaper The Independent in the spring of 2011. We all know she’s interesting, but now everyone does! Next time someone asks, “Who teaches you fiddle?” you can point them to this link.