Old time fiddle music dances return for a new season this Saturday afternoon at the Aldergrove OAP Hall, featuring the Ukrainian Prairie Band.
Gladys Andreas, who has been coordinating the twice-monthly dances here since she started it in June of 2013, says, “It’s been very successful. We have 60 to 80 attend, with the oldest regular being 94 years old. Many of them would like us to play every week but it would be hard to get all the players to commit to that.”
The orchestras are all volunteers from the Central Fraser Valley Fiddlers, Ukrainian Prairie Band, Surrey Old Time Fiddlers and Hazelmere Heritage Fiddlers, who take turns at providing the music for the dances.
Gladys is a long-time member of all of these fiddle organizations and performs herself with the groups at their weekly rehearsals, as well as at their dances and shows.
“We play schottisches, waltzes, polkas, foxtrots, heel and toe, and square dances,” says Gladys.
While most are there to dance, Gladys notes there are some who come just to listen and enjoy themselves even if they are wheelchair-bound.
The cost to attend is kept low, thanks to other volunteers such as Norm and Mary Hildrum, who help by shopping for, and preparing, refreshments such as sausage and cheese plates and desserts. The $6 admission fee includes everything, from the music to the refreshments and light lunches.
And while the fiddlers, accompanied by pianists and guitarists, are all volunteers, many of them are professional performers.
A retiree herself, Gladys keeps busy as a contributing member of 11 organizations, as well as contributing to the upcoming B.C. Old Time Fiddlers Association history book.
But her first love is playing fiddle — as well as dulcimer and mandolin.
“I grew up on a farm in Alberta and that’s what we did for fun, we played music and went to dances.”
The Aldergrove Seniors’ Old Time Dances are held every second Saturday, 1-4 p.m. at Aldergrove OAP Hall, 3015 – 273 St. Cost is $6 per person, includes refreshments.
The new season begins Feb. 6 and continues every other Saturday until June 25.
There is a summer break for July and August, and dances resume in September.
The Hazelmere Heritage Fiddlers perform in Aldergrove March 5.