AUBURN-LEWISTON – The Pineland Fiddlers youth folk orchestra will visit the Twin Cities Saturday, Feb. 28, to perform at two free concerts. Their first appearance will be at 10:30 a.m. at Schooner Estates Retirement Community in Auburn, where they will perform a lively mix of French-Canadian and Celtic dance tunes, with young local folk dancers as special guests. The 45-minute program is open to the public.

After lunch, the young fiddlers will cross the river to the Lewiston Public Library, where they will provide the music for a family barn dance in Callahan Hall, on the third floor. This event, from 2 to 4 p.m., will include instruction by caller Kathryn Larson. She will lead an assortment of easy circle dances, contras and novelty numbers. “We encourage anyone old enough to know their right foot from their left to get in on the dancing, but those who would prefer to just sit out and listen to the music are welcome as well. They’ll have fun either way,” Larson said.

The Pineland Fiddlers is a touring ensemble of about a dozen string musicians from central Maine who range in age from 8 to 14. They are all students at the Pineland Suzuki School, where they are coached by one of Maine’s top folk fiddlers, Ellen Gawler. Their repertoire includes old-time New England fiddle tunes as well the jigs and reels of Canada, Ireland and Scotland.

The group has performed throughout the state at venues including the Chocolate Church in Bath, the Common Ground Fair, the L.L. Bean concert series, Johnson Hall in Gardiner and Lewiston’s Franco-American Heritage Center. The fiddlers were invited to represent the United States at a music festival in Turkmenistan last summer, and have twice visited Quebec City to study and perform with some of French Canada’s top folk musicians.

This summer, the Pineland Fiddlers will travel to Ireland to study with Irish master fiddlers as they explore the roots of New England’s traditional music, collect new tunes and share their Maine- and Quebec-based repertoire at music festivals and other venues in Ireland. Their upcoming appearances in Lewiston-Auburn will help raise money to support that trip. Although admission is free to both events, attendees may purchase souvenir copies of the Pineland Fiddlers’ two CDs.

Schooner Estates, which has made a donation to the group’s travel fund, is at 200 Stetson Road, off from Route 4 just north of the Auburn Mall. For more information, call 784-2900. The Lewiston Public Library is at 200 Lisbon St. For more information on the barn dance, call 513-3050.


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