Award-Winning Fiddler Brings High-Energy Show To Western

MONMOUTH — Who says you can’t be a fiddle player, step dancer and singer-songwriter all at the same time?

April Verch does a pretty darn good job at all three. This week, she and bandmates Cody Walters and Hayes Griffin will perform a unique blend of roots entertainment in Monmouth as part of Western Oregon University’s Smith Fine Arts Series.

Performances are scheduled Thursday and Friday at 7:30 p.m. in the intimate confines of Smith Music Hall on the WOU campus.

Verch blends the traditions of roots music and step-dancing with her own artistic voice and vision in a high-energy show that puts her award-winning fiddling and songwriting talents out front. Publicist Ryan Dawes of Rock Paper Scissors describes it this way: “Imagine Canada’s Ottawa Valley meets Old-Time Appalachia with crack fiddling, electric step dancing, sweet singing.”

The April Verch Band — rounded out by Walters on bass and clawhammer banjo and Griffin on guitar — is touring in part to support Verch’s 2013 release “Bright Like Gold.” The band is described as “an energetic, virtuosic, tradition-celebrating outfit that is long remembered once they depart the stage.” Of course, it doesn’t hurt that the thrilling grand finale each night involves Verch fiddling and step dancing — often executing two entirely different intricate rhythmic patterns — all at once.

Now in the second decade of her career, Verch has toured throughout the world, even performing during the opening ceremonies of the 2010 Winter Olympics in Vancouver, British Columbia, to represent Canada’s fiddling tradition.

“The accolades are important and noteworthy and special to me,” Verch said, “but what I think is most impressive to me is that I’ve been doing this full time since 2000. We make a living playing music that we love and it touches other people. I feel like we’re extremely lucky to do that … .”

If You Go …

Who: April Verch Band.

What: Part of the 2014-15 Western Oregon University Smith Fine Arts Series.

When: Thursday, 7:30 p.m.; Friday, 7:30 p.m.

Where: Smith Music Hall, Western Oregon University, 345 N. Monmouth Ave., Monmouth.

Admission: Adults, $25 in advance, $28 at the door; students, $11.

For more information: Call 503-838-8333; wou.edu/sfa; send an email to fineart@wou.edu.

Polk County Itemizer-Observer
Staff report