LITTLE CURRENT—Many Canadian music fans make a pilgrimage to Branson, Missouri to take in amazing musical extravaganzas—but come Sunday, November 25 little travel will be necessary for Island residents to take in an uplifting two-hour celebration of the Christmas season, as Canadian fiddle champion Scott Woods and his merry band of entertainers will whisk you back to the days of Don Messer evoking memories of the Islanders when folks like Charlie Chamberlain and Marg Osbourne came into nearly every living room.
“We are always looking for ways to reach out into the community,” said show organizer Gail Gjos of the Little Current United Church Outreach Committee. “I had heard about Scott Woods having performed on the Island before and everyone I talked to said how great it was and how they would love to see him again.”
Ms. Gjos looked into the performer and saw that he was performing in Sault Ste. Marie and Sudbury. “I got in touch with his sister and asked if they could fit us in,” she said. “They said ‘of course’ and then the (Northeast) town agreed to donate the hall, so that helped out a lot as well.”
The Outreach committee will be donating funds from the show to the Manor’s Another Step Forward flooring replacement campaign. “They are always looking for different ways to raise funds,” said Ms. Gjos. “I figure since the likely clientele for the show will be somewhat older, and we all will probably end up in the Manor someday, it would be a perfect match.”
The Scott Woods Old Time Christmas Show will bring the “sweet harmonies of twin fiddles, smooth vocals and lots of traditional Christmas music, played in a traditional country, western swing and old time fiddle style.”
Mr. Woods is recently returned from a tour of Germany, where he and his troupe were well received. “They are familiar with a lot of music from North America, but they are not so familiar with Canadian fiddle music,” notes Mr. Woods of the German audiences they met on tour. “We have a very unique Don Messer approach.”
With step dancing a-plenty, and Mr. Woods’ famed acrobatic antics with the fiddle (including somersaults and walking on a barrel while not skipping a note), the high energy show provides wholesome family humour and entertainment for all.
“There are six of us on the road,” said Mr. Woods. He is joined onstage by his sister, Kendra (Woods) Norris, a multi-instrumentalist and no stranger to old time fiddling herself, having won the Canadian Duet Fiddle Championship title three times running with Scott and several solo wins in various classes (including the 2016 Canadian Open 19-55 division). Ms. Woods has recently retired from her day job as a teacher and can now dedicate herself full-time to the touring group.
Ms. Woods has a unique role in the troupe along with her musical stylings, her expressive face lets the audience know when Mr. Woods is pulling their legs or up to some other antic onstage. “Her face is very expressive,” he said. “I might be going thermonuclear on the stage and there she is in the background hamming it up.”
Also performing with Mr. Woods and his sister are Canadian Country Music Association Award winner and Guitar Player of the Year, Steve Piticco; bass player Peter Sisk and step dancer 14-year-old Leo Stock. Keeping the tempo lively will be drummer/vocalist Bill Carruthers.
Mr. Woods is a two-time winner of the Canadian Open Fiddle Contest, a two-time winner of the Canadian Grand Masters Fiddle Championship and Fiddle Entertainer of the Year. In August of 2018, he was presented with the Lifetime Achievement Award from the Canadian Grand Masters Fiddling Association. Mr. Woods, known affectionately as ‘The Flippin’ Fiddler,’ tours extensively across Canada and the US every year raising funds for churches, charities and community service organizations.
But it is the love of the performance and the impact their music has on the people in the audience, not accolades pouring in, that keeps the band on its grueling tour schedule, notes Mr. Woods.
“We often see a couple in their 50 and 60s, even older, in the audience that look at each other and smile,” he said. “You can tell they are being transported back in time by one of their favourite tunes.”
Tickets are $25 for adults, $10 for children (age six to 12) and children five and under get in free. Advance tickets can be purchased at 1-855-726-8896, at The Expositor office in Little Current or by contacting Gail Gjos at 705-368-2589.