Northwestern State University of Louisiana

06/18/2024 | Press release | Distributed by Public on 06/18/2024 08:38

Event brings together many of the state’s top fiddlers

DERIDDER - Attendees at the Louisiana Folklife Center program "Fiddlin' with the Finest! A Celebration of Louisiana Folk Fiddling" on June 15 at the Beaumont Museum in DeRidder were treated to a performance of fiddle musical artistry. Several musicians participated, including four Louisiana State Fiddle Champions - Lauren Hodges (2004), Clancey Stewart (2018), Joe Suchanek (2017) and Ron Yule (2000 and 2019) - as well as numerous accompanists on guitar, fiddle, banjo and standup bass. Dr. Shane Rasmussen, director of the Louisiana Folklife Center and professor of English at Northwestern State University, moderated the event, which included a discussion of various aspects of the tradition and a Q&A with the audience. Live music throughout the program included regional fiddle styles accompanied by demonstrations of fiddle stick playing and twin fiddling, with the event, which was followed by the Museum's regularly scheduled third Saturday open jam session.

The well-attended program was a prelude to the Louisiana State Fiddle Championship which will be part of the 44th annual Natchitoches-NSU Folk Festival to be held on the Northwestern State University campus on July 20. The Fiddle Championship will be held at 1 p.m. in the Magale Recital Hall. Fiddlers may compete in the championship or non-championship, as well as in the twin fiddle category. Registration is at noon in the first-floor foyer outside Magale Recital Hall. The Fiddle Championship winner will perform on the main stage in Prather Coliseum at 5 p.m.

"The music performed at events like this one remind us how vital and vibrant Louisiana's folk music can be," said Rasmussen. "The Louisiana State Fiddle Championship provides important opportunities for fiddlers young and old to have fun while at the same time meet with peers, make new friends, and showcase their talent. When folklife is alive and well people are happier, because our traditions give meaning to our lives as individuals and as a community."

The event was sponsored by the Beaumont Museum and the Louisiana Folklife Center. Support for the Festival is provided by grants from the Cane River National Heritage Area, Inc., the City of Natchitoches, the Louisiana Division of the Arts Decentralized Arts Fund Program, the Louisiana Endowment for the Humanities, the Louisiana Office of Tourism, the Natchitoches Historic District Development Commission, the New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Foundation, the Shreveport Regional Arts Council, and the State of Louisiana. The views, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed in the program did not necessarily represent those of the Louisiana Endowment for the Humanities.

For information on pre-registering to compete in the Louisiana State Fiddle Championship, call the Louisiana Folklife Center at (318) 357-4332, email [email protected]or go to


The Louisiana Folklife Center at Northwestern State University sponsored the "Fiddlin' with the Finest! A Celebration of Louisiana Folk Fiddling" program on June 15 at the Beaumont Museum in DeRidder. Photo by Elona Weston