A crowd gathers Sunday afternoon at Kennedy Park in Lewiston for a free concert at the gazebo during the second Fiddlers’ Rendezvous, presented by LA Arts. Russ Dillingham/Sun Journal

LEWISTON — An eclectic group of string musicians drew spectators Sunday afternoon to sun-soaked Kennedy Park for the second Fiddlers’ Rendezvous.

Attendees positioned lawn chairs and blankets under the shade of trees as performers from Maine and elsewhere in New England played classical and contemporary compositions from a wide selection of genres. Guitarists accompanied fiddlers in the main gazebo at the center of the park

“I love that LA Arts puts on events like these,” Lewiston mayor Carl Sheline said. “I absolutely love fiddle music, and it’s a beautiful day for it,”

Performers included Melissa Bragdon Caron, Ellen Gawler, Alden Robinson, Jessie Boardman and Greg Boardman, a Lewiston resident and instructor at the Maine Fiddle Camp in West Gardiner, who helped organize the event with its sponsor, LA Arts.

“(Fiddle music) is one of my passions and is very much in the fabric of our culture. It’s such a deep part of our community,” Greg Boardman said. “I just want to give our good musicians a chance to play, and our citizens a chance to (listen) to some good music down here in the open air. The gazebo is such a lovely setting in the park.” 

The unique sound of New England fiddling, more commonly known as New England folk music, comes from the melding of European and indigenous cultures during the early 17th century.

The term “fiddling” originated from “Maritime Fiddling” or “Music of the Maritimes,” which was popular in the coastal areas of northeastern United States and Canada. Last year’s event focused primarily on Franco American music, while the set list this year included Shetland Island, southern Appalachian and bluegrass.

“People making music is this community tradition, and and they’re not necessarily thinking about pop stardom and stuff,” said Chris Robley of Lewiston. “It’s this rich, deep tradition. I’m inspired to learn this (genre) and to try and be a guitar accompanist. This is a lot of fun. These musicians are really top notch in this genre. it is so inspiring to watch them.”

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