Photo courtesy of Caleigh Stanier

Caleigh Stanier

Everyone claps to the beat as the fiddles sing to the musical twang of the beat. Caleigh Stanier ‘21 may be the typical student but she fills up her day with jazz band, church choir, orchestra, architecture club, cross country and track which are just the beginning of the extracurricular activities she participates in. But on the weekends and nights throughout the school week, Stanier indulges her love and passion for fiddling as a stress reliever and a chance to capture her audience through folk music.

“Fiddling has given me lots of cool opportunities, especially being able to play in a family folk band. It’s helped me grow my musical knowledge and meet a ton of cool people like professional fiddlers and musicians,” Stanier said. “It has exposed me to different styles of music especially cause I’ve been focused on classical music for most of my life and it’s given be kind of an outside of the box musical experience.”

Different from sight-reading and playing from written music, fiddling is taught by ear.

“Every fiddle tune starts with a simple kind of tune,” Stanier said. “Then fiddlers add stuff to it and makes it sound really good and complicated and cheery!”

Stanier began her fiddling career by taking fiddling lessons starting from seventh grade, but started playing the classical violin since three years old.

“I was getting really bored and kind of dissatisfied with my violin classical lessons at the time. I was not one for practicing and I just wanted to try something new, and my family knew this teacher and I just started a lesson and I really liked it,” Stanier said. “It was just different and something new to learn. I just love playing new music and learning new things.”

With the numerous extracurricular activities Stanier participates in, she keeps her plate full with things to do every single day before and after school.

It’s so hard to balance extracurricular activities and practicing especially during sports season which any student athlete and musician will tell you,” Stanier said. “I just have to prioritize, what to do. Do I have a lesson coming up? Do I have a concert coming up? What do I need to practice? Also, I use the afternoons and weekends for heavy practicing.”

Along with taking fiddling lessons, Stanier plays in two bands; a family folk choir called Family Folk Machine and a fiddling trio called The Skipperlings. Stanier has also gotten the opportunity to meet professional fiddlers and perform with them.

“I think it’s just fun. The best way to describe it [is] it’s fun play fast and with a band. It’s a social music style and it’s not all performance based like when you’re performing a classical piece on stage,” Stanier said. “Speaking like you’re having fun, stomping your feet and playing the guitar and banjo and maybe a mandolin and bass. It’s really social.”

One of Stanier’s benefits from fiddling is the exposure to musical variety she is getting in band, jazz band, chamber orchestra, and fiddling.

“You’re hearing things, ear training, and it’s just playing music. The more you play music, the better you can play music,” Stanier said. “That’s kinda the only way I can put it. Listening is probably the biggest thing that it helps with.”

As her musical career progresses through high school, Stanier plans to keep music in her life for the rest of her life no matter what her future career will turn out to be.

“I love trying new different types of music and it would be a very good experience to have a small band or just keep playing fiddle tunes and get involved in community productions throughout the rest of my life,” Stanier said.

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