The Garioch Fiddlers Strathspey and Reel Society was formed in 1982 in Inverurie, Aberdeenshire by the late Bruce Turnbull with around fifteen founder members. When Bruce left the group in the mid-eighties, deputy conductor Alex Garden took control for a short time. On the sudden death of Alex Garden in the spring of 1986, Dorothy Ferguson took over as conductor and musical director, and it was under her leadership and with her musical arrangements that our Society developed its own particular “sound”. Since Dorothy’s retirement in the summer of 2011, Colin Dempster took over the Conductor’s baton until this summer (2016) when Colin announced his retirement. The Conductor’s baton is now in the capable hand of Susan Simpson. Susan is supported by Assistant Conductor Neil Hehir, who is also Orchestra Leader. The society is very fortunate to have a strong Junior section which is very ably led and conducted by Alexander Davidson who has taken over from Nicola Tierney this year. This team continues to ensure a balanced programme suited to the occasion is always produced.
In December 2012 the Society celebrated its 30th Anniversary of our formation, an appropriate time to recognise what has been sustained throughout that time. Whilst predominantly fiddlers, players of complementary instruments are made most welcome and the ‘Garioch Fiddlers’ together produce a quality sound evident in our concerts, CD’s and of course, the Annual Rally in Inverurie Town Hall.
Throughout the many years of the Society’s existence we have performed, and continue to perform all over the north-east of Scotland to raise funds for church groups, charities and local organisations. We have for some years given a biennial concert in support of a local charity in towns around Scotland and North England.
We enjoy the relaxed and social aspects of our weekly practices and performances. The biennial ‘tour’ brings members and partners together socially and we enjoy the opportunity for the mixing of various age groups. The Annual Family Ceilidh is a clear example of harmony and respect spanning an age range of at least three generations. Excellent music, dancing of all kinds and different energy levels, games for all ages – all combine to provide enjoyment in a family ethos not so common in contemporary social gatherings.
The overall effect and attraction of the Garioch Fiddlers is one of welcome inclusion which continues through weekly support and encouragement, typified by Conductor Susan Simpson, Chairman Jerry Morse and members of the committee who give so much, so willingly. We are fortunate that from our number we have soloists and small groups who are happy to share their talents in our concerts. We make possible the nurturing of talent and support the life-blood of a musical culture.
Just a note about our name – Garioch is pronounced “Gearie” (rhyming with “dearie”). The Garioch is an area of the countryside in Aberdeenshire that takes in our home base of Inverurie.