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Thursday, 03 March 2011 10:13

Festival of the Arts - Big Rapids, MI

Fiddlers ReStrung Entertain Crowds at Big Rapids

Michigan’s Festival of the Arts

Big Rapids, Michigan, Feb. 5, 2011 – Maybe it could be called the dog days of February or Arts Go To the Dogs, but by whatever description applied, Fiddlers ReStrung enjoyed a busy day in bringing their music to West Michigan.  Combining a scheduled appearance at Big Rapids’ Festival of the Arts with matinee performances at the halftime of Ferris State University’s men’s and women’s basketball games, the group scored a trifecta in their three shows.

The group left Saline High School early Saturday morning to begin the 400-mile round trip excursion to their destination in Big Rapids, Michigan.  Arriving at Ferris State University’s Jim Wink Arena before noon, the group performed at halftime of the men’s afternoon basketball game between the Ferris State Bulldogs and Saginaw Valley State Cardinals.  The contest was billed as a “red out,” into which Fiddlers ReStrung’s uniforms were perfectly suited.

One of the bigger crowds of the year enjoyed both Ferris State’s 1,000th victory of its men’s basketball program and the Fiddlers ReStrung halftime show at mid-court.  The musical group only can claim partial credit for the Bulldog victory, but the arena crowd loudly cheered both performances.

The women’s game followed the men’s game, and a second halftime performance inspired the Lady Bulldogs to match their men’s team victory with a win of their own.  Once again, the Ferris State team played before one of its larger crowds of the year, attributing some of the turn-out to the performances by Fiddlers ReStrung.

After those two successful gigs, the group traveled a short 15 minutes to Big Rapids High School for their primary show of the trip.  The evening performance was part of Big Rapids’ and Ferris State’s Festival of the Arts cultural celebration during the wintry month of February.  A 45-minute show was rewarded by an enthusiastic crowd (only slightly smaller than the basketball crowds) with an appreciative standing ovation.

The fourth annual Festival of the Arts was a 30-day festival in Big Rapids put on as a collaborative effort by Ferris State University and Artworks.  Artworks is a non-profit organization in Big Rapids dedicated to initiating and supporting humanities and arts activities that enrich lives, nurture the creative effort and vitalize the community.  Events, speakers, performers, and exhibits take place every day for a month during the festival in multiple venues throughout Big Rapids and on the Ferris State campus.

A long day for the fiddlers was followed by swimming and a Toy Story II movie party at the hotel.  Fatigue from the long day of performances was still a bit evident in the long, quiet ride home on Sunday.