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Santa Clara Valley Fiddlers Association
Drawing by Hilary Cole (c)2006

The last SCVFA Youth Fiddle Contest was held in 2014 (our 13th). It was ended partly for lack of a new volunteer to organize it, and partly because of increasing difficulty signing up contestants. The 2014 rules are presented below, in case they might be of interest to other contest organizers.

Printable Version or a PDF of this 2014 rules page.

Rules for the SCVFA Youth Fiddle Contest Nov 2, 2014

Calling all young fiddlers! Enter the Santa Clara Valley Fiddlers Association's 13th Youth Fiddle Contest, to be held at the November 2, 2014 SCVFA Jam. Or if you're not a young fiddler, come and cheer on the contestants. It's great fun!

The SCVFA has held a contest every year since 2002, to encourage enjoyment of traditional music by young people.

Official Contest Rules and Details

Divisions, Prizes & Eligibility There will be three Divisions by age, each with cash prizes for first through fifth places:
  • Division 1:    8 and under     $40 / $25 / $20 / $15 / $10
  • Division 2:  11 and under     $50 / $35 / $25 / $20 / $15
  • Division 3:  17 and under     $60 / $45 / $35 / $25 / $20

Note that these are slightly different from the age divisions often used in old-time fiddle contests.

Eligibility for age divisions is based on the contestant's age on the day of the contest. Previous contestants who have placed first in any division(s) in all of the three most recent SCVFA contests are not eligible this year, but may enter again next year. There is no lower age-limit in any division; for example a 10-year-old could enter division 3.

Tunes Contestants are to play two tunes, on a fiddle (violin, viola, etc.): first, one fiddle tune (a tune in any traditional fiddle style, such as a hoedown, reel, waltz, jig, schottische, hornpipe, etc.), and second, one tune of player's choice (usually but not necessarily another fiddle tune, in the same or a different style). Total time for each contestant is limited to four minutes for the two tunes. Each contestant may have up to two non-fiddle accompanists, who may only play “backup” rhythm (i.e., not a melodic part), so the judges can hear the fiddler's performance clearly.
Scoring Scoring will be based equally on four qualities: rhythm, intonation & tone quality, style, and difficulty (25% each). We recommend playing less-difficult tunes well (or perhaps playing more slowly) rather than attempting difficult or fast tunes that are not fully mastered. (Only 25% of the score is for difficulty while 75% is for how well the tune is played.)
Due to time constraints only one round is scheduled. At the sole discretion of the Contest Chairman, ties based on total points may be resolved by analyzing the judges’ detailed scoring, a playoff may be used (the tied contestants may, but need not, play the same tunes as in the regular round), or duplicate prizes may be awarded.

To register, print and fill out the Registration Form and send it with your entry fee (see below) to:

SCVFA Youth Fiddle Contest, PO Box 2666, Cupertino, CA 95015-2666


The early registration fee is $6.00 for registrations with payment received by Wednesday, October 29. After that date the registration fee is $12.00. Each registration includes one free Adult Admission Pass. Additional adult admissions are $6 for SCVFA members and $8 for non-members, payable at the door. Children 17 and under are admitted free, as at most SCVFA events.

After the early-registration deadline you can bring the entry form and the late-registration fee to the contest and complete your registration on site (if space is still available).

Limits and Wait-List

Due to time constraints there is a limit of 25 contestants, with 5 spots reserved for each division until the early-registration deadline. Additional registration requests will be placed on a wait-list. Wait-listed entrants will be processed in order as openings become available, or at the discretion of the Contest Chairman. Entry fees paid by wait-listed entrants who cannot be accommodated will be refunded if the Adult Pass has not been used.

Contest and Check-In Schedule

Check-in for all contestants is from 1:00 to 1:30pm. We will also accept on-site registrations at the same time, on a space-available basis (the late-registration fee of $12 applies). If you need to make special arrangements for registration or check-in, call Pete Showman (see below).

Performances are scheduled to begin with Division 1 as soon as possible after 1:45pm. Starting times for Divisions 2 and 3 will depend on the number of players entered in previous divisions.

The order of play within each division will be determined by a random drawing of the contestants who have submitted registration forms by the early-registration deadline. Late registrants will be added to the end of the play list.

Awards for all divisions will be presented about 20-30 minutes after Division 3 finishes. Presentations are expected to be finished by 5:00pm.

More Info For more information or for a formatted version of this page, see the 3-page PDF information packet, or the separate PDFs of the flyer, rules (this page) and the registration form.

We hope you'll join us for a fun day of fiddling! If you have any questions about the Youth Fiddle Contest email us, or call Pete Showman at (408) 255-0297.

Updated 9/11/2014 15:30 PDT (r1)

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