Youth ages five to 18 have until Wednesday, Aug. 1 to register for the Second Annual Sue Cunningham Youth Fiddle Contest being held Sunday, Aug. 19 at Hickory Fest 2018 at the 90-acre Stony Fork Creek Campground, nine miles south of Wellsboro.
Registration is limited to the first six contestants who register in the five to nine, 10-14 and 15-18 age divisions. In other words, a maximum of 18 contestants, six per division, will be accepted for the contest.
This is a free-style fiddle contest meaning youth are encouraged to play the type of music they love be it old-time, bluegrass, swing, Texas style, European, classical, etc.
Each contestant must play one fiddle tune of his or her choice for a maximum of three minutes. There are no restrictions on the style or genre of music a contestant can play.
One accompanist on any acoustic instrument except the fiddle is allowed but not required per entrant. No vocal songs, reading music or speaking into the microphone will be allowed during the contest. The preliminary round will be Sunday morning at 9 a.m. in the workshop tent on festival grounds. The top three finalists round will be on the main stage beginning at 12:30 p.m.
Judging will be based on the following: 25 percent style, 25 percent rhythm, 25 percent clarity/tone and 25 percent difficulty/overall technique. Three judges will score each contestant. A compilation of those scores will be used to determine the winner.
The fiddler chosen for first place will receive $150 plus a $200 gift certificate from contest sponsor, J. R. Judd Violins in Williamsport; second place, $100; and third place, $50 plus ribbons for the top three winners in each age division. All contestants will receive a participation ribbon.
Cunningham, a world-class violinist who produced Hickory Fest from 2002 through 2014, was always supportive of young musicians. In 2015 after a long fight, she passed away of cancer. The contest was born in the spirit of extending Cunningham’s efforts to give young fiddlers an opportunity to play on stage in front of a live audience and to encourage them to continue to play the music they love.
By Aug. 1, all contestants must complete and submit the official application that can be found on the Hickory Fest website, www.hickoryfest.com. For the application, open “Activities and then click on “2nd Annual Sue Cunningham Youth Fiddle Contest” and scroll down to “Open Application,” fill it out and send it in.
There is no fee to register but contestants must purchase a festival ticket, except those who are 12 and under who will be admitted free.