The Grand Master Champion for 2016 is Maddie Denton of Murfreesboro, Tennessee. Denton took home $1,200 in cash, a $500 gift certificate courtesy of D’Addario, a Grand Master Fiddler plaque, and will appear on the Grand Ole Opry. The two-day 45th annual Grand Master Fiddler Championship is the nation’s premier championship event held at the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum in Nashville on September 3 and 4, 2016.
“We saw the greatest attendance of fiddling enthusiasts that we have seen in years,” said Howard Harris, GMFC President. “Fiddlers came from coast to coast exhibiting such an amazing level of skills that brought cheers from the audience and impressing scores from the judges.”
Fiddlers competed for over $10,000 in prizes. Competitors showed their talents amongst some of the leading performers in acoustic music including The Riders in the Sky, Kentucky Just Us, and the Main Stage Explosion and Revolution Square Dance teams.
In honor of its founder, the organization presented the Dr. Perry F. Harris Award to Woody Paul Chrisman of The Riders in the Sky for his work in support of the traditional art of fiddling.
Actor/entertainer Randall Franks, “Officer Randy Goode” from TV’s “In the Heat of the Night,” served as celebrity host for the event and was joined by co-hosts Grammy winner Jim Lauderdale, music journalist Craig Havighurst, from America’s Morning Show – three-time CMA Award winner Kelly Ford.
“I am so pleased to see the growth in the number of fiddlers in the traditional and youth categories,” Franks said. “The amazing prowess, attention to detail, and variety of styles exhibited by these fiddlers reflects the rich history of the instrument.”
Other organizers include Grand Master Fiddler Championship Executive Vice-President Ed Carnes, directors Lisa LaFortune, Trey McClain, Crystal Plohman, Gayla Tanaka-Bollinger, Charlie Smith, and Bobby Taylor.
“We could not make this contest the success it is without the judges and all of volunteers who work each year to help us set the stage so the contest can run smoothly,” Carnes said. “We also have the tremendous support of the staff from the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum.”
Contest judges were Matt Hartz, Daniel Carwile, Aynsley Porchak, Amy Carwile, and Bobby Taylor.
Among the sponsors were Fletcher Bright Company, Metro Nashville Arts Commission, Purity Foundation, Ezell Foundation, D’Addario, Goo Goo Cluster, Tennessee Arts Commission, West Virginia Division of Culture and History, and Lockstep Technology.
The other top winners included in descending order: Trustin Baker of Birchtree, Missouri, Katrina Nicolayeff of Meridian, Idaho, Ellie Goodman of Brooklyn, New York, Mia Orosco of Lorena, Texas, Andrew Lin of Lexington, Kentucky, River Lee of The Woodlands, Texas, Harrison Schumann of San Antonio, Texas, Eli Bishop of Nashville, Tennessee, and Billy Contreras of Nashville, Tennessee
Eli Bishop of Nashville, Tennessee received the Charlie Bush Traditional Fiddler Performance Award from the GMFC presented in honor of late director Charlie Bush.
The Grand Master Traditional Champion is Brian Christianson of Nashville, Tennessee who won $300, a $500 gift certificate courtesy of D’Addario, a Grand Master Fiddler plaque, and will appear on the Grand Ole Opry. Other winners in descending order are Henry Barnes of Columbus, Ohio, Kelsey Wells of Murfreesboro, Tennessee, Henry The Fiddler of Arvada, Colorado, Hillary Klug of Shelbyville, Tennessee, Travis Inman of Belmont, Mississippi, Chris Gray of Smyrna, Tennessee, and Clelia Stefanini of Nashville, Tennessee
The Grand Master Youth Champion is Ivy Phillips of Chapmansboro, Tennessee, She won $300, a $500 gift certificate courtesy of D’Addario, a Grand Master Fiddler plaque, and will appear on the Grand Ole Opry. Other winners in descending order are Benjamin Lin of Lexington, Kentucky, Celeste Pena of Palo Cedro, California, Alex Tormala of Sequim, Washington, Mary Lynn Keller of Nampa, Idaho, Beth Davis of Carbondale, Illinois, Sophie Pena of Palo Cedro, California, David Lin of Lexington, Kentucky, Kate Ward of Kuttawa, Kentucky, and David Tormala of Sequim, Washington
Winning guitar accompanists are Anthony Mature of New Waverly, Texas, Hyatt Hopkins of Porter, Texas, Jim Reina of Conroe, Texas. Ray Brandin of Oakdale, La., Ronnie McKee of Kennedy, Alabama Mature, who took first, won $200 and a certificate.
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