What? Horns are played at Maine Fiddle Camp?
Yes, indeed. For much of the past century, horns have been integral to bands that play live music for traditional New England country dances. And, happily, horns are now very much on the rebound.
At Maine Fiddle Camp, horns are not officially taught. (There are no horn instructors, nor any official horn classes.) On the other hand, if you already play a horn or other woodwind instrument (i.e., trumpet, cornet, flugelhorn, clarinet, oboe, flute, piccolo, saxophone of any size (soprano, alto, C-melody, tenor, baritone), French horn, trombone, baritone horn, tuba, Sousaphone, etc., and/or a tenor banjo or a bowed saw, both of which we consider to be honorary horns) and you can play tunes in the key of Concert C*, you’ll be sorely disappointed if you leave your horn behind (and we will be disappointed, too!).
Why will you be disappointed? Because we have a Fiddle Camp tradition that every evening right after supper, the staff-led, volunteer Great Horned Ukekestra (made up primarily of horns and ukuleles) spends half an hour rehearsing a foxtrot and a waltz. Later that same evening, at the end of the evening’s country dance in the Main Tent, the Great Horned Ukekestra plays that night’s foxtrot and waltz on stage for dancing. (Actually, there are so many musicians in the Ukekestra that all of us can’t fit on the stage. First we fill it, and then we surround it!)
Most of the melodies we play (and also sing) are in the key of Concert C. A few tunes in our repertoire are in the key of Concert G.
If needed, we happily provide members of the Ukekestra with sheet music (notations plus chords and words) for all the tunes. The repertoire of foxtrots and waltzes is also posted on the MFC web site here.
So don’t be shy. Dust off your horn and join the fun. (At one evening dance last summer, we had as many as a dozen horn players and a record-setting 38 ukulele players assembled on and around the main stage to play that evening’s foxtrot and waltz.)
There’s no need to audition to play in the Great Horned Ukekestra. And participating in this zany ensemble is a plucky HOOT!
* If your instrument is pitched in the key of C, you will be able to play our transcriptions of the tunes without having to transpose them. If you play an Eb or a Bb horn, you will need to transpose the notations in order to play them in Concert C. If need be, we can supply you with a transposed transcription for the native key of your instrument. Having a copy of the right transposition for your horn will greatly facilitate your “solving this key equation.”