Renowned Canadian Fiddle Champion Scott Woods and his band present Old Time Christmas! Dec. 9 at 7 p.m. at St. Paul’s Congregational Church on Park Avenue West in Chatham.
This uplifting two-hour Branson-style live show celebrates the Christmas season, with the sweet harmonies of twin fiddles, and lots of traditional Christmas music, country, Western swing, country gospel and Old Time fiddle tunes. The audience will experience step dancing, wholesome family humour and Wood’s famous trick fiddling – somersaults and walking on a barrel – all while playing his fiddle.
Woods is a two-time winner of the Canadian Open Fiddle Contest, two-time winner of the Canadian Grand Masters Fiddle Championship as well as Fiddle Entertainer of the Year. He is known affectionately as ‘The Flippin’ Fiddler’ and tours extensively across Canada and the USA every year raising funds for churches, charities and community service organizations.
He comes by his talent honestly. Woods said fiddle and performing talent goes back five or six generations on his mom’s side and one or so on his dad’s side.
“I started with classical violin lessons from my father,” Woods said from Humboldt, Sask. where he was playing on his tour. “It was all technique when I first started out, which wasn’t that fun. He would say, ‘Play 10 scales and when you do that, then I’ll teach you a reel,’ and that made it fun.”
As the youngest of four siblings, Woods said he had to wait to start performing with his family, and despite the odd time where he felt he would give it up, most of the time, they all wanted to play and his mom wouldn’t let them quit.
“We all still play,” Woods noted.
Getting used to performing at a young age, Woods said he used to go to fiddle contests with his dad and said he made many friendships on that circuit.
“Your friends are there doing the same thing,” Woods stated. “We were fierce competitors on stage, but buddies all summer long.”
Joining Woods onstage in Old Time Christmas is his sister, Kendra (Woods) Norris – a multi-instrumentalist and no stranger to old time fiddling, having won the Canadian Duet Fiddle Championship title three times with Scott as well as several solo wins in various classes including the 2016 Canadian Open (19-55 division). Also onstage are Canadian Country Music award winner and Guitar Player of the Year, Steve Piticco; bass player Peter Sisk; step dancer 12-year-old Leo Stock; and keeping the band in time is drummer/vocalist Bill Carruthers.
“It’s a Christmas show start to finish. We incorporate fiddle and country in the show, but it is still Christmas focused,” the fiddler noted. “We have a step dancer come out and we and we incorporate or modify tunes to put our own unique stamp on it.”
Although they have a demanding tour of 34 shows in 34 days in five provinces, Woods said it is challenging and tiring but worth it.
Playing for a month in Germany, the fiddle champion said it was interesting to see the audience reaction.
“They didn’t know what fiddle music was, or hear the fiddle for anything other than Bach or classical music. It was a unique concept for them to understand,” Woods noted. “I did a history of step dancing as well and the response was really, really good. Fiddle music is catchy; it makes you want to dance and it was interesting to see reaction was slow at the beginning but then you saw them tapping their toes.”
Woods is excited for everyone to see the 12-year-old step dancer Stock, who is touring with the band.
“He loves to get in front of an audience and the crowd just loves him. He tends to steal the show, but we don’t mind,” Woods joked.
A crowd pleaser in his own right, Woods will be showing the audience why he is known as the “Flippin’ Fiddler,” with tricks of his own on a barrel and while doing a tumble across the stage. He said once you get the hang of it, it is not as hard as it looks.
“It’s a fun, family-friendly show; not like a church service, but we do keep Christ in Christmas and still have lots of secular music.”
Tickets are $25 for adults, $10 for children (age six-12) and children five and under get in free. Advance tickets can be purchased by calling 1-855-726-8896 or at Gospel Text Book Store, Sprucedale United Church, St. Paul’s Congregational Church or at Barnes Farm Equipment.