Special Concert Opens Fiddle Festival

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The 2010 version of the Payson Fiddle Contest and Arizona State Fiddle Championship has a new element — a special concert to open the festivities.

A weekend of fiddle music at the Payson Event Center Saturday, Sept. 25 and Sunday, Sept. 26 will be preceded by a bluegrass and western music concert at 7 p.m., Friday, Sept. 24 at the Payson High School Auditorium.

The concert will feature the band Providence with Michael Rolland, Thomas Porter, John Burton and Billy Parker.

Michael Rolland – Fiddle and Vocals

A winner of multiple fiddle championships, Rolland has played with bluegrass, country, cowboy and jazz bands for eight years. Now, having assembled the dream band of Providence, Rolland gets to showcase his songwriting with the best players in Arizona.

Thomas Porter – Guitar and Lead Vocals

Porter has played in several bluegrass groups, most recently as the lead singer of the Copper River Band. His new self titled CD release features many of today’s hottest bluegrass pickers including Ron Block, Sierra Hull and Cody Kilby, and has received airplay by numerous bluegrass radio stations. Along with his hot guitar playing and beautiful songwriting, his powerful voice will remind you why you love bluegrass music.

John Burton – Banjo and Vocal

Burton is widely known for his stellar guitar work with Fire Ridge, but his banjo playing with Providence makes you think that he was born with a 5-string in his hand.

Billy Parker – Mandolin and Vocals

Parker is one of the most sought after bluegrass musicians for recordings, concert and festival work in Arizona. If you’ve ever seen a bluegrass concert then chances are you’ve seen Parker.

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While the performances in the competition are great, the best music is usually found at the jam sessions on the tailgates of the trucks and in a shady spot in the parking lot. This year a jam concert is planned at 6 p.m., Saturday at the Event Center.

Admission to this special Old Time Opry concert is $5.

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