The two-day 44th annual Grand Master Fiddler Championship is the nation’s championship event held at the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum in Nashville, Tenn. on Sept. 26 and 27, 2015.
“Attendance at this year’s event surpassed last year with folks from across the U.S. and Canada sharing in the legacy of fiddling shared by our competitors,” said Howard Harris, GMFC President. “The talent exhibited by the fiddlers was amazing.”
Porchak took home $1,200 in cash, a Grand Master Fiddler plaque, and will appear on the Grand Ole Opry. Baker received $1,100 and a plaque.
The Grand Master Fiddler Championship, Inc. is a Tennessee non-profit and a U.S. IRS 501(c)(3) charitable corporation, formed to educate about and perpetuate fiddling as an art form and cultural treasure.
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, Ashanti Floyd “The Mad Violinist,” and the Dismembered Tennesseans.
In honor of its founder, the organization presented the Dr. Perry F. Harris Award to realtor, developer, Chattanooga fiddler and band leader Fletcher Bright 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,” and Marcia Campbell of WSM served as celebrity co- hosts for the event.
“The traditional and youth categories are growing by leaps and bounds,” Franks said. “The amazing prowess in a variety of styles exhibits that these fiddlers are mastering styles from around the world.”
Other organizers include Grand Master Fiddler Championship Executive Vice-President Ed Carnes, directors Lisa LaFortune, Crystal Plohman, Gayla Tanaka-Bollinger, Charlie Smith, and Bobby Taylor.
Contest judges were Justin Branum, Megan Lynch-Chowning, Katrina Nicolayeff, Junior Marriott and Bobby Taylor.
Among the sponsors were Ezell Foundation, Fletcher Bright Company, Metro Nashville Arts Commission, Purity Foundation, Tennessee Arts Commission, West Virginia Division of Culture and History, and Lockstep Technology.
The other top winners included in descending order: Trustin Baker of Birch Tree, Mo., Eli Bishop of Nashville, Tenn., Andrew Lin of Lexington, Ky., Doug Fleener of Leitchfield, Ky., Joel Whittinghill of Bowling Green, Ky., Billy Contreras of Nashville, Tenn., Karissa Nugent of Burleson, Texas, Makaela Shippy of Caldwell, Idaho, Cara DiGiovanni of Greenbrier, Tenn., Mark Ralph of Somerville, Ala., Matthew Lin of Lexington, Ky., Jacob Johnson of Lincoln , Ala., Gene Banks of Athens, Texas, Faith Nugent of Burleson, Texas, Noelle Nugent of Burleson, Texas.
Tyler Andal 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 Tyler Andal of Nashville, Tenn. who won $300. Other winners in descending order are Clelia Stefanini of Nashville, Tenn., Matt Brown of Chicago, Ill., Tiffany Boucher of Sheridan, MT, Brandon Godman of Nashville, Tenn., Henry Barnes of Columbus, Ohio, Wilhelmina Frankzerda of Blodgett, Ore., Shannon Hunt of Frisco, Texas, Rafe Stefanini of Elkins Park, Pa., Mikaela Langley of Camden, Tenn..
The Grand Master Youth Champion is River Lee of The Woodlands, Texas. He won $300 and a plaque. Other winners in descending order are Diana Dawydchak of Toronto, Ontario, Canada; Ivy Phillips of Chapmansboro, Tenn., Celeste Pena of Palo Cedro, Calif., Savannah Shannon of Fordland, Mo., Benjamin Lin of Lexington, Ky., Sophie Pena of Palo Cedro, Calif., Kate Ward of Kuttawa, Ky., Beth Davis of Carbondale, Ill., and Lanie Shippy of Caldwell, Idaho.
Winning guitar accompanists are Anthony Mature of New Waverly, Texas, Paul Kramer of Nashville, Tenn., Robert Shafer of Charleston, W.Va., Jim French of Weaverville, Calif. and Jim Reina of The Woodlands, Texas. Mature, who took first, won $200 and a certificate.
For more information, visit www.grandmasterfiddler.com.