Covering the Goulburn and Murray valleys

Flaming fiddles raise the roof for Benalla CFA

The Melbourne Scottish fiddlers return to Swanpool to raise money for local CFA brigades. Group officer Jim Ranken and fiddle player Kristin Marriott

July 25, 2014 3:00am

Benalla CFA Group Officer Jim Ranken and Kristen Marriot promoting the Flaming Fiddles Raise the Roof fundraiser for the refurbishment of the old CFA shed.

For the third time, the fabulous Melbourne Scottish Fiddlers are back to delight north-east Victoria with the lively sounds of Scottish music and to raise money for local CFA brigades.

The Melbourne Scottish Fiddle Club is approaching its 20th anniversary, and is stronger than ever, bringing together players of various ages to perform an exciting and heart-warming repertoire that acknowledges and reinvents traditional roots, and draws loyal and enthusiastic crowds.

Regularly collaborating with some of the world’s best traditional musicians from the United Kingdom, United States and Canada, the club puts on a heartwarming and exhilarating show. Next year it is planning an international tour to Scotland.

For this 2014 concert, the club will be joined by the virtuosic and hugely entertaining international fiddle and harp duo Chris Stout and Catriona McKay, who were both members of the famous Shetland band, Fiddlers’ Bid.

As well as traditional tunes, they will be showcasing their latest recording project, Seavaigers, a collaborative work of classical and contemporary improvisation with composer Sally Beamish. The album celebrates the sea-faring people of the romantic yet dangerous North Sea, stretching between Chris’ native Shetland Islands and Catriona’s Dundee.

The reviews include: ‘‘this music is breathtaking’’ (Roots), ‘‘virtuosic and physically engaging’’ (The Glasgow Herald) and ‘‘a gobsmackingly wonderful duo’’ (Taplas magazine).

Gus Downing, vice-president of the Melbourne Scottish Fiddle Club, said: ‘‘It’s a rare and special experience seeing Chris and Catriona play. Their sounds are uplifting and joyful, organic yet extremely refined. Don’t miss the opportunity to see this amazing duo — because we don’t know when they’ll be back.’’

This fantastic performance will take place in Swanpool at the hall which is now attracting much interest as a hub for the arts in regional Victoria.

The proceeds of the concert, as in the past, will go to the Benalla Fire Brigade Group, which includes all 20 brigades in the Benalla shire.

Group captain Jim Ranken said the money was much needed to contribute to the major upgrade of the Benalla Fire Station to a regional command centre for the whole district.

This project is being funded chiefly by the CFA, but local money is needed to complete it.

At present the group is short of funds to extend the workshop and the shed which houses hoses and the command vehicle — which was purchased with funds from the previous concert.

There have been suggestions that money could be saved by lowering the roof of this planned shed, which local firefighters say would be unsatisfactory — so the local CFA invites everyone to help them ‘‘raise the roof”’ with the Flaming Fiddles.

The Flaming Fiddles concert will take place at 2pm at the Swanpool Hall on Sunday, August 3. Tickets are available from the Benalla Chainsaw and Mower Centre, 82 Sydney Rd, Benalla, phone (03)57626177 or online at

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