MARQUETTE – Some words seem to trigger an immediate reaction. ‘Fiddling’ is one of them. If you’re fiddle-friendly, the toes start tapping, head bobbing, elbows twitching. You’re under the spell of fiddling.

            Finn Grant Fest 2005 in Marquette (Aug. 10-14) will feature numerous fiddlers at the 6:30 p.m. opening ceremony on Thursday, Aug. 10, at Lakeview Arena, including a fiddlers choir of over 100 performers from the Midwest and Finland.  The group includes veteran U.P. fiddlers like Helmer Toyras of Aura and youngsters from various U.P. violin studios.

            The recital was organized by musician Bette Premo of Amasa’s White Water Family Band. When White Water appeared at the Kaustinen Folk Music Festival in Finland last year, they were inspired by 200 fiddlers led by Mauno Jarvela and dreamed of a similar ensemble at Finn Grand Fest 2005.

            After obtaining Finnish music for large fiddle ensembles arranged by Jarvela and others, she contacted U.S. fiddlers, taught the music to small groups, sent copies to music teachers, and thus built a fiddlers choir from the ground up.

            When Mauno Jarvela and some of his children were signed for Finn Grand Fest, Bette Premo asked him to rehearse with the 2005 Finn Grand Fest Fiddlers Choir and conduct its Marquette performance. He agreed, and will include some of his fiddlers in the group.

            The public is encouraged to attend the festival’s opening ceremonies free of charge.

            Additional fiddlers wishing to join the fun should contact Bette Premo at

Prepared By
Larry Chabot