Crooked Stovepipe Folk Orchestra to perform locally


By Donna McMillan

EVERY other Wednesday night in autumn and spring, a number of area musicians follow the Cockshutt Road for 20 minutes out of town to play with the Crooked Stovepipe Folk Orchestra in the hamlet of Villa Nova.
In the former General Store, they join fellow musicians from Port Ryerse, Waterford, Brantford, Bloomsburg, Normandale, Fisher’s Glen, Otterville and more.
The band member numbers vary from practice to practice, generally around 25, with members playing fiddles (up to seven or eight), guitars (a few),ukuleles (lots of various sizes), mandolins, piano accordions, button accordions, flute, bass clarinet, tin whistle, string bass, various percussions and pretty much anything else one chooses to play.
Some members perform with several instruments. The group is called together by musician partners Judy Moore and Ian Bell.
“It was really Judy’s idea,” Ian told the Maple Leaf recently. She talked about the need for an orchestra where every instrument a musician wanted to play could be played.
Together, “they founded this just-for-fun group of mixed instruments, playing collectively-created arrangements of old-time fiddle tunes, folk songs and vintage jazz/pop tunes from the 20s and 30s,” Ian shared.
Depending on the instruments they have, some western and swing tunes have been added in as well, Ian said. “Missouri”, “Stay All Night”, “Pig Ankle” and “Irene” were just some of tunes being practiced on a recent Wednesday night. “Our music is taught both through written music and by ear,” Ian said.
The group meets in a room with a crooked stovepipe every other Wednesday from September to December and again from March to June. “Sheet music videos and sound files are made available online in advance of rehearsals,” Ian said. Auditions are not expected.
Ian and Judy purchased the historic landmark in Villa Nova in 2013 and started the Crooked Stovepipe Orchestra in 2014.
They have a number of upcoming performances: Waterford Old Town Hall at 7 p.m. on July 11; and Port Dover Harbour Museum at 7 p.m. on July 24.
Anyone interested in the orchestra are invited to visit their website


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