The Pantagraph from Bloomington, Illinois on November 24, 1984 · Page 29
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The Pantagraph from Bloomington, Illinois · Page 29

Bloomington, Illinois
Issue Date:
Saturday, November 24, 1984
Page 29
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WEEK OF NOVEMBER 24-30 SSSJSr WJIklGOiJ (gooDta S REEKS REPORT ON RADIO Alison fiddles better than anyone else By ELAINE GRAYBILL Pantograph staff ALISON KRAL'SS HAD just gotten home from school and was watching "The Brady Bunch" when I called her in Champaign Wednesday. Thirteen-year-olds get a lot of bad press, but Alison was good-natured about not being able to finish her television show, and she willingly told me almost everything I wanted to know. The words "prodigy" and "virtuoso" never came up in our conversation, but it's safe to say that's what Alison is. In September, she won a fiddle contest in Winfield, Kan., considered by many bluegrass musicians to be the national championship. Winfield wasn't a fluke. Alison also has won the Illinois and Indiana state fiddle championships this year, and a few others, too. She competes against adults In these contests. Her next big challenge is the Tennessee State championship in April. Being called a virtuoso would embarrass Alison. I apologize, Alison. Thirteen-year-old girls generally want to be as much as possible like everyone else. So when I asked Alison how much she practiced her violin when she took classical lessons starting at age 5, and how much she practices now, she wouldn't tell me. Later, I rephrased the question, and she still wouldn't tell me. She giggled sheepishly over this refusal, and made a few comments that made it clear that what she Is trying to keep quiet is how little she has had to practice through the years. ALISON DID ACKNOWLEDGE that she caught on "right away" when she started playing a child-size violin eight years ago. She began the private lessons because "it was required" by her parents, Fred and Louise. "We had to take some instrument." Her brother, Vik, 15, plays bass, and favors rock and jazz. i mnmm p mi urn mmm-amimivimimmmmmmmmm &3i8f5& 1 Alison Krauss, center, is the nationally recognized fiddle player with Silver Rail, which will appear Dec. 9 in Normal. Classical violin turned to bluegrass fiddle when Alison was 8, and entered a "little county fair contest," with her mother's encouragement. She decided bluegrass was her kind of music. By age 10, she was playing fiddle and singing with the Marvin Lee country and western dance band. Around age 11, she discontinued the violin lessons. In February she began playing with Silver Rail, a blue-grass band in her hometown. She sings, too, with a voice her mother describes as "very fine," and that another person describes as sounding like Emmy Lou Harris. But Alison claims she's "not any Ethel Merman." Even Alison, with her modesty, was Impressed by something that happened at the Winfield contest. Randy Howard Is her favorite bluegrass fiddler. "He's my idol." Listening to his album has helped her playing, she says. She chose a song he wrote, "Red Dog's Waltz," to play in the second round of the contest. Alison met her idol at Winfield. He came in second place in the contest. "That was pretty weird, because I played his stuff," she said. She had gone into the contest expecting him to win it. ALISON HAS OUTGROWN her child-size violin in many ways, one of which is quite literal. Her parents bought her a fiddle a year ago September that was handmade in Missouri. The price of that fiddle is the other thing Alison wouldn't tell. "We got it the day it was born, as my mom says." She played it in a contest while the varnish was still wet. The pattern of her shirt left an imprint on the instrument, and "my chin went green." "It smelled good for a long time." Alison's parents take an active role in her career. Mrs. Krauss is a musician, too, but showing the same modest humor as Alison, would say only she plays "poorly" when asked what instrument she specializes in. Alison says her mother is a "vegetarian," which is what Alison calls folk musicians when she's not calling them "bean sprouts" or "natural cookies" with just a little disparagement. Her parents are with her when she plays at clubs, late at night. "Love it, love it, it's just great," she says about those performances. She has no favorite songs. She likes them all. Alison will bring her enthusiasm to Normal when she performs with Silver Rail at 7:15 p.m., Dec. 9, at Radio Station WGLT's "Alive & Pickin" Christmas Concert in Kemp Hall on the Illinois State University campus. Tickets are available at Bernardi Printers, Roper Acoustics and The Garlic Press, all downtown Normal; the station's "Friends" reception (5-7:30 p.m. Dec. 3 at Ewing Manor), and at the door. TV CHANNELS (7) WBBM, Chicago (CBS) (3) WCIA, Champaign (CBS) (S) WMAQ, Chicago (NBC) (7) WLS, Chicago (ABC) (9) WGN, Chicago (Ind.) (IOC) B-N TeleCable (12) WILL, Urbana (PBS) (13) WICO, Champaign (NBC) (17) WAND, Decatur (ABC) (19) WRAU, Creve Coeur (ABC) (20) WICS, Springfield (NBC) (23) WFHL, Decatur (Ind.) (23) WEEK, East Peoria (NBC) (31) WMBD, Peoria (CBS) (32) WFLD, Chicago (Ind.) (43) WBIN, Bloomington (Ind.) (47) WTVP, Peoria (PBS) (55) WRSP, Springfield (Ind.) (CBN) Virginia Beach. Va. (ESPN) Sports network (USA) Sportt network (WTBS) Atlanta, Ga. (Ind.) rn Indicates a program carries closed caption subtitles for viewers with impaired hearing. The Violet Garden 1310 S. Eott St., Bloomington (North of Tiara Ballroom) Phone 82S-6967 Hour: TuM.-Fri. 9 to 5, Sat. 9 to 4 Choose from thousands of BIG-BEAUTIFUL-BLOOMING AFRICAN VIOLETS JUUUU IHL'JII'llilJ'l' video a ISELECTIOWJ The Video Selection "Tit Flaisl Stlictloi It Tewi" Located in Colonial Plaza 663-5712 Wide Selection Ail Ratings Mon. thru Wad. VCR and 1 FREE MOVIE $7.00 overnight Thura. thru Sun. VCR and 1 FREE MOVIE $10.00 overnight SPECIAL WITH THIS AD Rent 2 Movies Get 1 Free or $5.00 Off Our Membership Fee Seeing is Believing ... One Picture is worth a thousand words . . . These ore old old sayings, but they are still very true. We show our diamond buyers exactly what they are buying . . . THEY SHOULD KNOW! Know Your Jeweler! Shield Jewelers have been in Bfbom-.ington since 1936. ..48 years serving you Here you can be sure. UI)dtea(iteXy1 Saturday, Nov. 24, 1984 PREVIEW 7

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