Acclaimed Fiddler Zach Willier Visits School

Acclaimed Fiddler Zach Willier Visits School
Posted on 03/29/2023
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Zach Willier, an artist originally from Sucker Creek First Nation on Treaty 8 territory, stopped in at Roland Michener Secondary School to share his experiences and love of music. As showcased on his second album, released earlier this month, his music is evolving to include more vocals along with fiddling. Upon completing high school, Zach plans to take Bluegrass and Country Music Studies at East Tennessee State University in Johnson City, USA.

The students appreciated hearing about how fiddling was very much a part of Zach's childhood and was shared by family and friends in the home. As a young boy, he began learning fiddle and guitar by ear. He expressed that music was passed on to him aurally and not by notation, which is primarily how students are taught in school. Zach could connect with the students on a personal level, and as a performer and recording artist, he provided insight into what it takes to produce a record.

He went on to perform well-known folk tunes on the fiddle, including the Red River Jig and also some original songs, such as Zach’s Waltz. As listeners, the students wanted to tap their toes and clap along. He took the time to teach the basic jig steps and jigged along to his playing to help himself keep time. After serenading the class on his fiddle, he later switched over to the guitar, singing and playing a variety of tunes. He explained that as a curious young boy, hungry to learn, he would often take his brother’s guitar and play that until he finally got one of his own.

Each concert band had the pleasure of performing for Zach and having him improvise alongside them as they played. Although he was not provided with any music to practice in advance, Zach was able to play along with them, and the students enjoyed hearing that extra element. 

The final highlight of the day was when the students gifted Zach with a Treaty 8 sign from the High Prairie School Division. This was a very inspirational day of sharing stories and music.

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