Fiddle-L Anthology 1999

A Tour 'Round The World Of Fiddling

Performer Bio


34.

Chris Ann Vance-Daring, Arvada, Colorado (cdoering@macconnect.com)

Chris was born August 6, 1958, in Hayti, Missouri. She is a musician and teacher by profession, and is the organizer and director of the Colorado Fiddle Club.

HERITAGE, HISTORY, LESSONS, FAVORITE TUNE

Chris's father was born in southeast Missouri, and her mother was born in Tennessee. Her family heritage is European -- Irish, English, Dutch, and Welsh. Her paternal great uncle Vance of Alabama played the fiddle. Chris began playing at age 7, in the public school program in the Chicago area. She received traditional classical lessons, and has also studied fiddling with Dale Morris, Terry Morris, Dick Barrett and Lisa Barrett. "As a student, I attended various festival workshops that taught me how NOT to teach a workshop. As a teacher, I have taught Texas Style Fiddle at Texarkana College, the Denver-based Swallow Hill Music Association, the Rocky Mountain Bluegrass Festival and other various venues in the west. For college credit, I taught as adjunct faculty at the University at Southern Colorado. I currently offer a Texas Fiddle class at the University of Colorado at Denver." Chris remembers that her first fiddle tune was Whiskey Before Breakfast, which she first learned from a "learn to play the fiddle" book, then after that, from other fiddlers & recordings. "There are so many great tunes, it's hard to choose a favorite - but, this week I think it might be Say Old Man." Her favorite rendition of the tune was played by the late Terry Morris, but she notes "Major Franklin played a great rendition, too!" Terry Morris is her favorite fiddler of all time, but of those still living, she most prefers the playing of Matt Hartz.

TYPES OF TUNES, INSTRUMENTS, VENUES

Chris enjoys playing many types of tunes besides the standard hoedowns, waltzes, etc., including rags, polkas, and blues. She employs cross tuning occasionally. She also plays the guitar, sings, and plays a little cello and piano. For fiddle tune backup, she prefers guitar and tenor guitar. Chris plays for dances, at shows and in jam sessions, as well as many weddings. She plays in a band and has two recordings available: Chris Doering & the Nashville Superpickers, and Chris Daring & the Whole Nine Yards.

FIDDLE CONTESTS

Chris attends and participates in fiddle contests. Her first entry was in 1986, in Boulder, Colorado. She played Whiskey Before Breakfast, Country Waltz, and Say Old Man. She had a guitar for backup. She remembers Steve Trisman was one of the winners, but notes that she did not win anything: "I stunk". However, she has come a long way since that first entry: she placed 4th in the National Young Adult Division at Weiser in 1991 and 1995, placed 1st in the National Adult Division in 1996, and took 3rd place in 1997. She has judged many times. "Pay usually includes a motel room & varies from contest to contest. I have judged throughout the western U.S. including Weiser. It's not my favorite thing (I'd rather be playing music & having fun), but I feel it is important to take my turn now & then. [A good contest judge is] someone who has a good deal of playing experience, who plays well & is honest. Someone who understands that fast & good are not synonymous. Someone who understands that the concept of rhythm is a whole lot more than starting & ending at the same tempo. Someone who has a good ear for pitch & tone, chord progressions & meter. A good & fair judge knows that a simpler style played well is far better than a more complicated style played badly. A good judge knows that it doesn't matter where each contestant placed at the last contest. Each new contest is just that -- a new contest! Above all, a good judge can stand the heat!" Chris notes that she believes a best judge would also be a fiddler; "however, there are a few great guitar accompanists [who] are more familiar with fiddling than many fiddlers!"

STYLE

Chris describes her style as Oldtime Texas Breakdown Style. Early influences in making that style include Emmet Lundy, Benny Thomasson, Major Franklin, and Orville Burns. "When you get right down to it, there are probably as many styles as there are fiddlers!" Bluegrass is the most popular style in the region of Colorado where Chris lives.

THE INSTRUMENT

Chris plays a Strad model German violin, described as being strong, full, a little dark, and very well balanced overall. She uses a Super Kun shoulder rest, and Prim strings (Swedish steel, with an aluminum wrapped E string). She uses a good German bow which is very well balanced and lightweight. Chris does not do maintenance or repairs but does some dealing in instruments.

WHY DO YOU PLAY THE FIDDLE?

"Because I love the sound of a fiddle. I enjoy the challenge of striving to improve, and playing for others."

THE TUNES

Chris recorded the tune Black and White Rag (George Botsford). She learned it a few years ago, by hearing it a lot. "All the musicians on the tape are my family. On guitar, my husband, Andy Daring & our daughter, Sarah Daring. On tenor guitar, our son Noel Daring. "Engineering" was done by our son Erick Daring, who usually plays bass or guitar with us."