Old time fiddle music has become a major attraction at the Aldergrove OAP Hall, with fans coming from as far as Vancouver and Hope to dance Saturday afternoons away.
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.”
The orchestras are all volunteers from the Central Fraser Valley Fiddlers, 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 who help by shopping for, and preparing, the refreshments, 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. Gladys has performed in Las Vegas, and Surrey Fiddlers president Evan Sanyshyn and his son Michael are top notch players.
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. She is the founder and former president of the B.C. Ukrainian Cultural Festival Society.
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 upcoming calendar includes: Jan. 12 Mike Sanyshyn Band; Jan. 19 Ukrainian Prairie Band; Jan. 26 Hazelmere Heritage Fiddlers; Feb. 2 CANCELLED for Gem Show; Feb. 9 CANCELLED for Charity event; Feb. 16 Central Fraser Valley Fiddlers; Feb. 23 Hazelmere Heritage Fiddlers; Mar. 2 Mike Sanyshyn Band; Mar. 9 Ukrainian Prairie Band.