CASA GRANDE — To 8-year-old Brie Dietrich, playing the fiddle is about good music, good friends and good times. She’s been playing the instrument since she was a toddler and last week, she played her fiddle to a first-place finish in the Small Fry fiddle competition at the National Oldtime Fiddlers contest in Weiser, Idaho.
“It felt amazing to win first place,” said Brie, who placed sixth in the competition last year while her sister Ranell placed third. “I like fiddle contests because I get to see my friends and play music with other people.”
Brie played several songs for the competition including her favorite, “Red Apple Rag.”
In the competition, she faced about 30 young fiddlers from across the country.
“When you practice hard, it feels good to win,” she said.
Brie is part of a fiddling family. Each of her sisters plays the fiddle or another instrument and the siblings have their own band, the Arizona Wildflowers.
Arizona Wildflowers competed in the Topanga Folk Festival near Las Angeles last May and placed third.
“They were the only band with musicians under the age of 18,” said their mom, Tiffany Dietrich. “It’s one of the larger festivals in the western United States.”
The National Oldtime Fiddlers’ Contest and Festival is one of the largest competitive fiddling events in the country, attracting musicians and spectators from across the country. The goal of the organization is to promote and preserve old-time fiddling and related traditional arts.
The Small Fry competition consists of three rounds of songs. As the first place winner, Brie won a cash prize and a trophy.
But she wasn’t the only Dietrich family member to leave the championship with a trophy.
Six-year-old Aspen placed fourth in the Small Fry competition. Ranelle, 9, won the award for 2018 Best Female Entertainer. Maddie, 17, earned a third-place finish in the twin fiddle division along with her fiddle partner Will MacDonald of Tucson.
“We have had quite a wonderful week,” Tiffany said.
Being named 2018 Best Female Entertainer was a big moment for Ranelle.
“It was so exciting,” she said. “I’ve been playing music my whole life.”
Aspen was also happy to be among the top five contestants in her category.
“And I’m excited that next year my big sisters won’t be in my division anymore,” she said.
There are seven children in the Dietrich family. All play multiple instruments including fiddle, piano, banjo and mandolin.
Oldest sister Maddie serves as the music teacher for the younger Dietrich children.
Brie and Maddie hold titles as this year’s Oklahoma State Fiddle Champions from a competition earlier this year. Brie holds the Oklahoma Small Fry champion title while Maddie is the Junior Division champion.
“God has been very good to us and blessed us with a wonderful community of musicians for the kids to grow up with,” Tiffany said. “And like the saying goes, ‘put some fiddle in the middle and it’ll make it better.’”
The Arizona Wildflowers often play in and around Pinal County as well as at festivals and competitions nationwide and throughout Arizona. They often play for residents of area longterm care facilities and are set to perform at the Pickin’ In The Pines festival in Flagstaff in September.
Video of the group is online at topangabanjofiddle.org.