Fiddler Dennis Stroughmatt will be the featured performer for the March 3rd humanities series program at Coffeyville Community College. The program will begin at 10:30 a.m. in the Spencer/Rounds Performing Arts Theatre. The performance is free and open to the public.
From the Wabash River region of southeastern Illinois, Dennis was taught to play fiddle by a mixture of tradition bearing stylists including southeast Missouri French Creole fiddlers Roy Boyer and Charlie Pashia in the tradition of their fathers and the southern Illinois Western Swing fiddle legend Wade Ray. He became an adopted son of the French Midwest Creoles who settled near St. Louis and Cahokia by playing at weekly house parties or “bouillons” and later made journeys that have included studies in Louisiana, Quebec, and Tennessee. Dennis finds himself in a unique position as one who can speak knowledgeably and play in a variety of French Creole, Cajun and old-time Western musical styles.
With a master’s degree in history from SIU-Carbondale and a Certificate of French Quebecois Studies from The University of Quebec, Dennis is not only a musician but a passionate educator who entertains and teaches his audiences at the same time. Speaking engagements, residencies and performances include The Smithsonian Folklife Festival, The Library of Congress, The Kennedy Center, The Missouri Folklore Society, and Festival Acadian in Lafayette, La.
With the program “Western Swing Meets Cajun Fiddle,” Dennis will use his fiddle to explore and perform the musical connections between southwest Louisiana and southeast Texas represented in the songs of luminaries such as Bob Wills, Ray Price, Harry Choates, Wade Ray, Hadley Castille, and Fiddlin’ French Burke. Audiences should prepare for a fun trip through the ages of some of America’s most infectious music.