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From north of the border: April Verch

Rounder Records recording artist April Verch is a virtuoso fiddler, vocalist, and stepdancer. Though her musical roots lie deep in the fiddling of her native Ottawa Valley, her repertoire also features traditional and contemporary tunes ranging in source and inspiration from Quebecois to Appalachian, from bluegrass to Brazilian. North American, Acadian, Anglo and Celtic traditions all come together in the playing of this brilliant young singer/songwriter. Verch will be performing a special Friday show at 8 p.m. March 9 at the Westcott Community Center, 826 Euclid Avenue, Syracuse.

Experiencing an April Verch show is like a hopping a supersonic freight train from an old lumber camp in Northern Ontario, across the wide open prairie, through the Appalachians, down the Mississippi to the Louisiana Bayou, across the sea to Brazil, France, the Scottish Highlands and back, with stops at Carnegie Hall and church thrown in for good measure. An April Verch concert is invigorating, surprising, heartbreaking, heartwarming, haunting, charming, thrilling, foot- stomping, and faith-restoring -- all in all, utterly unforgettable.

Verch was born in Canada's Ottawa Valley and was performing on the radio as a fiddler and step dancer before her 10th birthday. As a youthful prodigy she won every contest a young fiddler and stepdancer could enter and was a seasoned entertainer with two self-produced CDs by the time she finished high school. Following a year of intensive study at Boston's Berklee School of Music, she launched her professional career by winning Canadian Grand Masters Fiddle Champion and Canadian Open Fiddle Champion titles (the first and only woman to win both). Since signing with Rounder in 2000, she has toured tirelessly, winning over audiences not only with her technical ability but also her charm, humor and boundless energy on stage. Her deep Ottawa Valley roots and home grown virtuosity is now matched with a far-ranging repertoire, confident singing and lyrical fiddle playing in the finest French Canadian tradition.

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