Printed on: October 03, 2012

Fiddler honored at competition

By Christina Lords
clords@postregister.com

Some of the biggest stars in music history -- Elvis, Hank and Garth -- have stood on the Grand Ole Opry stage.

After winning the title of Grand Master Fiddler Champion on Saturday in Nashville, Tenn., Rigby resident Jacie Sites is now on that list.

"The grand master is one of the biggest wins in all of fiddle playing," she said. "Some of the top fiddle players of all time have been winners. I can hardly believe I've won it."

Each year, the contest's committee invites the top fiddle players from around the world to compete in the contest. Organizers also accept at-large fiddle players of any age or nationality to travel to Nashville to play in the preliminary round.

Up to 15 fiddle players are selected from the preliminary round to go on to the finalist round. From there, about 10 players are chosen to compete in the championship round.

As the winner of the contest, Sites was awarded $2,000, a plaque and the unique opportunity to play on the main stage of the Grand Ole Opry and perform on the International Bluegrass Music Association main stage.

"Fiddlers almost never get to play as the (featured) musician for the Grand Ole Opry," she said. "They're there as backups every once and awhile in the band, so this is really special."

She said she was honored to be introduced at the Opry by Little Jimmy Dickens, a member of the Country Music Hall of Fame.

Sites has won a treasure trove of titles and honors at fiddling competitions throughout the region and across the country over the years. Her titles include Idaho and Oregon state grand champion, Northwest Regional grand champion and National Certified fanciest fiddler three times over.

Besides her solo work, Sites also performs with her band, Celtic Air, and spends time teaching music at her studio at Sites Violin Shoppe. She and her husband, Joe, have operated the studio in eastern Idaho for the past eight years.

Sites is the founder and president of Strings for Kids, a local nonprofit that has loaned instruments and provided free violin lessons to more than 850 children in eastern Idaho.

Features writer Christina Lords can be reached at 542-6762. Comment on this story on Post Talk at www.postregister.com/posttalk.