Fiddle instructors Trish and Geoff Horrocks are recipients of this year’s Honour in Culture Award. (Josef Jacobson/The News Bulletin)

Fiddle instructors Trish and Geoff Horrocks are recipients of this year’s Honour in Culture Award. (Josef Jacobson/The News Bulletin)

Nanaimo fiddle instructors recognized for contributing to city’s culture

Trish and Geoff Horrocks presented with Nanaimo’s 2020 Honour in Culture Award

This is the third in a four-part series on the recipients of the City of Nanaimo’s 2020 Culture and Heritage Awards. Click here to read Part 2.

Last year fiddle instructors Trish and Geoff Horrocks attended the City of Nanaimo’s Culture and Heritage Award ceremony and this year they’re winners themselves.

They were there with their Fiddelium ensemble, which performed during the event. Geoff said after the ceremony one fiddler’s parent was moved to nominate the instructors for an award as well. That campaign was successful as the Horrockses are recipients of this year’s Honour in Culture Award, which recognizes those “known for their dedication and support of the development of the cultural fabric of Nanaimo.”

Geoff said they were “shocked” when they heard the news.

“It was just so completely unexpected. We were running a Fiddelium class, it was the last class just before Christmas, and one of the little players Leo said, ‘Uh, Trish and Geoff, we have a surprise for you.’” Geoff said. “He said, ‘We’ve nominated you for this award and you won.’ It was so cute.”

For more than 10 years the duo has been writing and publishing fiddle and piano music books under the Cross Canada Fiddle banner, which soon added a teaching side and their flagship ensemble, Fiddlelium. Among their other groups is a folk band, a group that specializes in “barn dance” repertoire, a fiddle and vocal adult group and the award-winning Fiddle Frolics, a group for young children that teaches both fiddle and dance.

Trish, who grew up in Courtenay, moved to Nanaimo 16 years ago. Geoff, who hails from Ottawa, has lived in Nanaimo for the past nine years. They first met while teaching fiddle camps in remote communities in the Northwest Territories.

“We were a part of the teaching team that would go into these small communities and teach fiddle,” Trish said. “While we were there we decided we were going to start the publishing side of the business … and then the teaching side of things started when Geoff moved here.”

Trish said Nanaimo is gaining a reputation for its fiddle community. Nova Scotia fiddler Gordon Stobbe, a member of the Order of Canada, often visits to teach at Cross Canada Fiddle summer camps and while he hails from “the centre of fiddle music in Canada,” Trish said he calls Nanaimo a fiddle “hotbed.”

“A hundred students of all ages playing music together every week on fiddle, that’s a pretty unique thing,” Trish said. “And we just started it because we know, as musicians, first of all if you think you’re going to make a living as a soloist, good luck. So [it’s] really important for students to develop that skill to be able to play with other people and then it just kind of exploded on its own.”

Looking back over the past decade, Geoff said, “the whole thing has kind of taken on a life of its own,” especially when it comes to the ensembles.

“Out of the groups that we started other groups have spun off…” Geoff said. “So it’s grown. This thing has grown and it seems to be really well rooted now in the community so Nanaimo’s going to have fiddle music for ever more. It’s just going to be one of the traditions of Nanaimo I think.”

SEE RELATED: Nanaimo’s Fiddelium youth ensemble heading to the Yukon for a fiddle festival

SEE RELATED: Nanaimo fiddle ensemble to play transitional show this week



arts@nanaimobulletin.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Music

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Vancouver Island Symphony conductor Pierre Simard is releasing his new synthwave album ‘Plandemic’ on March 5. (Photo courtesy Olivia Simard)
Vancouver Island Symphony conductor releasing side-project EP of electronic music

Pierre Simard, recording as Plan Omega, presents ‘Plandemic’

Nanaimo children’s author and illustrator Lindsay Ford’s latest book is ‘Science Girl.’ (Photo courtesy Lindsay Ford)
Vancouver Island children’s writer encourages girls to pursue the sciences in new book

Lindsay Ford is holding a virtual launch for latest book, ‘Science Girl’

Nanaimo-raised singer Allison Crowe with director Zack Snyder on the set of ‘Man of Steel’ in 2011. Crowe performs a cover of Leonard Cohen’s Hallelujah in the upcoming director’s cut of ‘Justice League.’ (Photo courtesy Clay Enos)
B.C. musician records song for upcoming ‘Justice League’ film

Allison Crowe’s close connection to director led to rendition of Leonard Cohen’s Hallelujah

The Gordon Head Recreation Centre stands in as the Quimper Regional Hospital on Feb. 23 for filming Maid, a 10-part Netflix series. (Greg Sutton/District of Saanich)
Netflix transforms Saanich recreation centre into hospital for filming

Facility was closed to public Feb. 23 for filming of Maid

This image released by SYFY shows Meredith Garretson, left, and Alan Tudyk in the new series "Resident Alien." (James Dittinger/SYFY via AP)
B.C.-shot ‘Resident Alien’ invader gets lift-off with viewers

New Syfy series catching on, proving TV doesn’t have to come from premium cable

WILDLIFE TREE: Tofino Poet Laureate Christine Lowther stands next to a giant cedar tree on District Lot 114, the site of Tofino’s controversial affordable housing project. The tree was pinned with an official Ministry of Forests yellow wildlife tree sign to educate fallers that the tree needs to be left standing for food, shelter and nesting. (Nora O’Malley photo)
Tofino author Christine Lowther calling for poetry about trees

“I’m thrilled to be of service to trees through poetry.”

West Coast-themed metal art by Nanaimo artists Hayley Willoughby (pictured), her father Jack and partner Blair LeFebvre is on display in the window of Lululemon at Woodgrove Centre from now until March 13 as part of the store’s monthly local artist program. (Josef Jacobson/The News Bulletin)
Metal artists present cross-generational show at Nanaimo’s Woodgrove Centre

Work by Hayley Willoughby, her partner and father on display in Lululemon window

Vancouver Island Symphony principal violinist and concertmaster Calvin Dyck is among the musicians performing in the upcoming Salmon and Trout concert. (Photo courtesy HA Photography)
Vancouver Island Symphony will make a splash with fish-themed quintets concert

Performance was to take place in November but was rescheduled due to COVID-19

Nico Rhodes, Lucas Smart, James McRae and Kosma Busheikin (from left) recorded their set for the Nanaimo International Jazz Festival’s online video series at the Harbour City Theatre in December. (Photo courtesy François Savard)
Music starts next week at online Nanaimo International Jazz Festival

Ten free, virtual performances to occur over three weeks in March

The original artwork created by local artist Emily Thiessen, is featured as the Commercial Alley’s eighth installation. (City of Victoria)
 The original artwork created by local artist Emily Thiessen, is featured as the Commercial Alley’s eighth installation. (City of Victoria)
Victoria calls for artists to fill Commercial Alley gallery

Competition open to artists in the Capital Regional District

Cowichan Valley author Teresa Schapansky’s books for young readers have become a phenomenon on Amazon. (Submitted)
Cowichan author tops Amazon charts

Award-winning author Teresa Schapansky learned of a need for low-level readers in the classroom

Nadia Rieger restocks some of the art supplies at the Crows Nest Artist Collective. Their move to stocking more art supplies over the course of the pandemic was a response to increased demand, which she thinks shows people have been turning to creating art to cope with mental health struggles due to lockdowns and restrictions on other activities. Photo by Mike Davies/Campbell River Mirror
Vancouver Islanders using art to conquer COVID blues

It seems people have been turning to their creative sides to stay mentally and emotionally healthy

Chris Bullock, Parksville artist, stands next to his ‘Mermother’ series, on display at the McMillan Arts Centre until Feb. 29. Bullock himself will be at the MAC from 11 a.m. until 3 p.m. every Saturday until the end of the month. (Mandy Moraes photo)
Parksville artist Chris Bullock’s unique illustrations on display

‘I’m heavily influenced by old comic book styles from the 1950s’

Most Read