Fiddlefest, November 5th-6th, 1994


Back in 1994, I attended the First Annual Mark O'Connor Fiddle Camp. I had a great time and learned a lot, of course, but on the plane home I was thinking about all the ways I would've suggested improving the experience. Suddenly, I was inspired to try producing my own fiddle workshop and I set about doing something I hadn't done much of till that point...creating something out of nothing with just a kernel of an idea.


For the next several months, I worked intensely rounding up fiddle instructors in several styles, finding a space, publicizing, organizing, and rounding up participants. The result was a weekend-long workshop at the now infamous Chicago House. I called it Fiddlefest '94.

By all accounts, it was a rousing success. Three instructors, forty participants, the iconic Chicago House AND, we wound up in the black! But most importantly for me, it marks the defining moment where I realized how it was possible to create something with just an idea and the drive to make it happen. Out of nothing. At the time, I also wasn't even considering teaching. But within a couple of years, I said yes to my first student. The possibilities were endless.

I feel immense gratitude to those three instructors willing to take a chance with me: Anne (formerly Brokaw) Alexander-Scandinavian; Isla Ross-Cajun/Celtic; Merry Henderson-Texas Contest, Chicago House, several sponsors and music friends that helped make it happen, and those forty folks who said 'yes'.

Lisa Lisa Lisa