SpringFest yodellers, fiddlers entertain sold-out crowd

SpringFest is an annual event featuring the group of yodellers from throughout central Alberta.

The Wildrose Yodel Club performed at SpringFest in the Rimbey Community Centre on May 1.

The Wildrose Yodel Club performed at SpringFest in the Rimbey Community Centre on May 1.

By Adam Eisenbarth

The Rimbey Community Centre was the place to be for an evening of entertainment on May 1.

Guests were treated to dinner and enjoyed some first class entertainment from the Wildrose Swiss Yodel Club and the Keister Family Fiddlers.

SpringFest is an annual event featuring the group of yodellers from throughout central Alberta.

Fred Salvisberg, secretary and one of the founding members of the club, says Rimbey is always supportive of the event.

“We have had sold-out crowds now for I believe 14 years in a row. It’s always a good meal and I think the music is entertaining with variety.”

Salvisberg says the event is well received.

“What surprises me is the audience is getting younger. Year after year we see more younger people.”

The yodellers are all natives of Switzerland and the club dates back to 1997 when 10 yodellers formed the group to perform.

“We just loved to sing and yodel so we got together to see what we could do.”

Now with 15 members, the Wildrose Yodel Club performs at many events throughout Alberta. They’ve even returned to Switzerland to perform and every three years they compete in the North American Swiss Singing Association contest.

“Next year Vancouver’s in the plans for a singing festival. I don’t know, maybe someday we’ll have a tour in South America. We don’t know we’ll have to wait and see.

Salvisberg sees yodelling as not a dying art, but a challenging one.

“It’s unique. Everyone has the instrument, the vocal cords, but not everybody can do it. You have to train your muscles for that and not everyone can do that.”

The Keister Family Fiddlers joined the fun with a performance to complement the yodellers.

The fiddling foursome of sisters, including a set of twins, had the crowd on their feet by the end of their performance. With their mother playing guitar and father working the sound system, the sisters not only fiddled, but tap-danced and played the ugly stick, an instrument made from a broomstick and beer bottle caps.

Salvisberg says the night was a huge success once again.

“It was a great night. I hope the audience enjoyed it as much as we did.”