Don Roy: Quintessential Downeast Fiddler
Don lives and breathes the music that shapes his life. Immersed as a young child in the music that served as background to all his family gatherings, he picked up a guitar when he was 6 years old. Uncle Lou placed a fiddle into his hands when he was 15, and Don took to it like a fish to water. Winning fiddling contests and absorbing new tunes from mentors consumed Don’s early years. Fittingly, he and his wife, Cindy, met on a blind date to play music together and recognized their kindred spirits, marrying in September 1981.
Don has been a part of many influential bands over the years. In 1988, the Maine French Fiddlers formed and were invited to play at Carnegie Hall in New York, NY in 1990. Don has been described as the dean of Franco-American fiddling, and his far-reaching tours have shared this distinct music with audiences throughout the United States and Canada. In 1994 The Don Roy Trio was formed, with Cindy Roy on piano and bassist Jay Young rounding out the high energy trio.
In 1994, 2001, and 2008 Don received Individual Artist Fellowship Awards from the Maine Arts Commission. These fellowships are awarded for excellence in traditional arts and are highly sought. They are given a maximum of 3 times to any one participant. Other awards include the Harold Carter Memorial award for country fiddling.
In 2000, Don began offering a free monthly session at the then named Center for Cultural Exchange, currently known as One Longfellow Square, in Portland, ME. By 2003 this group had grown, and Maine’s largest fiddle orchestra, Fiddle-icious, was created. Today Fiddle-icious has over 140 members, is a non-profit 501 (c) organization, boasts a large staff of instructors and administrators all donating their time to help Don continue to bring his musical heritage to audiences and musicians alike.
Don is a regular instructor at Maine Fiddle Camp, teaches privately, and in 2013 was invited to teach at The Festival of American Fiddle Tunes in Port Townsend WA.
When not recording, playing, teaching, or composing, Don can be found in his workshop, making the instruments that he loves to play with time-honored tradition and attention to detail reminiscent of the old Italian masters.