"Doc Rolland's Americana String Ensemble" returned on September 3 from a 5-week, 24-concert, 23 city tour of China. The 9 piece band and two dancers performed in China Poly Theaters nationwide in magnificent large theaters, many having the appearance of architectural wonders. The band performed culturally-based American roots music in various forms, primarily old-time fiddling, old-time string band music, bluegrass, early country, traditional jazz, cowboy music, western swing music and Cajun, with a nod to our Canadian, Mexican and Celtic musical heritage, and a bow to the Chinese with arrangements of Chinese songs. All 9 musicians sang, and the instrumentation was 3 fiddles, clawhammer and bluegrass banjos, 2 guitars, mandolin, bass, piano, clarinet and percussion. The two dancers performed the Cotton Eyed Joe, Balboa & Charleston, Tap, Swing, Country Polka, Waltz, Fox Trot, Country 2-Step, Flatfoot, and Lindy Hop and provided a marvelous visual interpretation of the band's music. Kudos to Steve Conrad and Lacey Maynard for the magnificent job they did lighting up the stage with their beautiful, well-choreographed dancing. My musical companions did a fantastic job both in their features numbers and their well-rehearsed ensemble work. The audiences ranged from 200 to 1500 in number at each of the 24 shows; they loved our music and we did encores at every show. I was truly fortunate to have such wonderful musicians to work with: Igor Glenn (bass), Ron Privett and Annie Trimble (guitars), Ken Bucy (percussion), Nancy Bucy (clarinet & piano), Bryan Seegers (mandolin & bluegrass banjo), Giselle Lee (clawhammer banjo & fiddle) and Ben Shu (fiddle). We were able to film three of the concerts and I'm currently working on editing the footage. I hope to post concert videos from the tour spring 2015.
Rolland Fiddle Camp instructors Matt and Grace Rolland have had a terrifically exciting year. Following two appearances on Garrison Keillor's "A Prairie Home Companion" national broadcasts, they finished their first and second national tours with their band Run Boy Run and have released their second album "Something To Someone". Great things are happening with this band! Keep up with them on their website www.runboyrunband.com