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Music

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OCT 5-11, 2011 | WWW.CONNECTSAVANNAH.COM

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The band’s all here: Cody Walters, left, April Verch and Clay Ross.

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April in Savannah Canada’s top fiddler headlines the 2011 folk festival by Bill DeYoung | bill@connectsavannah.com

The Savannah Folk Music Society is bring a world–class performer to Forsyth Park for this weekend’s Savannah Folk Festival, a player who wouldn’t be out of place at the prestigious springtime Savannah Music Festival. She’s 33–year–old April Verch, a past winner of the two highest Canadian honors for fiddling, the Grand Masters and the Canadian Open. Verch is an acknowledged master of the Ottawa Valley school of fiddle– playing – it’s a fusion of Scottish, Irish, French and Appalachian music, performed full–tilt and high–energy – and a champion stepdancer. “That’s part of who I am,” she says of her dancing prowess. “The traditions go hand in hand for me.” The April Verch Band includes Clay Ross on guitar and Cody Walters on

Verch has been stepdancing since age 6; she began studying violin at 6.

upright bass and banjo. They all sing, and Verch is an accomplished songwriter with eight albums to her credit. Verch is one of Canada’s best– known and most–loved folk musicians – she made her first TV appearance at the age of 10 – but celebrity, she says, holds little interest for her. It’s always been about the music. “Musicians are known for getting in the way of themselves sometimes,” she laughs. “I mean, we’re all like that because we all have something we feel is important and we want to share it.

And sometimes you want to do it so badly that you get in the way of just stepping back and letting the music do the work.” Verch was 3 years old when she began stepdancing; she took up the violin three years later. Mom and Dad, she explains, supported her goals from the start. “My parents were also realistic,” she adds, “and they wanted to make sure I had an understanding that it wasn’t the easiest way to make a living. They

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often said ‘Listen, you love to play, but you could do something else and still play on the weekends. Do you realize what you’re getting into?’ “They weren’t like that to an extent where it discouraged me from doing it, but it really made me seek out a lot of the answers I would need to make it work early on.” The Ottawa Valley style is unique because it has deep, deep roots that connect the Old Country to both Canada and the United States.

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Oct. 05, 2011 Connect Savannah Issue  

Featuring the true-history scares of Davenport House's Yellow Fever show and the Owens Thomas House pre-Halloween Victorian mourning exhibit...

Oct. 05, 2011 Connect Savannah Issue  

Featuring the true-history scares of Davenport House's Yellow Fever show and the Owens Thomas House pre-Halloween Victorian mourning exhibit...

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