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Violinist Bethany’s musical tour from bluegrass to pop and Bach

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Violinist Bethany Bordeaux is looking forward to playing in Bermuda with local artists (Photograph by Caroline Allen)

Violinist Bethany Bordeaux has spent the last 13 years touring the Christian music scene.

Along the way she has performed with country singer Kellie Pickler and pop star Taylor Swift.

This weekend she will be here in Bermuda for An Evening of Hymns and Other Songs at The Cathedral of the Most Holy Trinity. On the programme is everything from Bach, to fiddle tunes.

“I am from the American south, so I can’t not do fiddle tunes,” the musician said. “Then we will see where it goes. It will be a sample platter, if you will.

“It will be hymns and other songs, and music that I love and think has merit. If you do not like one song, there will be another that you do like.”

She will bring Jonathan Noël, a pianist and vocalist to play alongside her.

Amoti Nyabongo, April Maule, Kevin Bean, Keeble Hart and Shelton Bean are among the “amazing musicians” that Reverend Dr Jerry Smith, the subdean at the Cathedral, has invited to play with her.

She was particularly impressed with another local musician he invited, Tiffany Fox.

“I met her online three weeks ago,” Ms Bordeaux said. “She is an amazing violinist. We will be doing a fun classical duet we both know.”

The concert came about through her association with Mr Smith, who was the rector of her church in Nashville before he moved to Bermuda last May.

“I wasn’t really playing a lot of music in the church when Father Jerry was our head rector,” Ms Bordeaux said. “After Father Jerry left our church, the church gave me an opportunity to do a solo show. It went really well and we had so much fun. Father Jerry got wind of that, and said he wanted to bring the same thing to Bermuda.”

Ms Bordeaux was two years old when she started violin lessons. By ten she was playing for hire at weddings and church events but never focused on violin as a career.

In college she bounced around – from journalism, to biology, to physical therapy to law – but nothing quite felt right.

Eventually, she joined a band and started playing at churches near her home in Mississippi.

Word quickly got out that the band was a great choice for youth events, and they started playing at churches further afield.

By then Ms Bordeaux was 23. She had a full-time job as a secretary, but used every moment of her allotted vacation to travel and perform.

One day her boss took her aside and asked if she had ever considered playing professionally.

“I am so grateful to him today,” she said. “Coinciding with that conversation, I met a guy in Nashville, who was a worship leader and travelled around and played at different churches. He asked if I would like to be part of that.”

The only problem was Nashville was seven hours away from home. She decided to quit her job and move. Her boss promised that if it didn’t work out, she could have her old job back at the end of the year.

“I never needed a job again,” Ms Bordeaux said.

In 2009 she answered an advertisement from someone looking for a fiddle player for a music video.

She always imagined that gigs with celebrities came about through a vigorous audition process, but she was selected without much fanfare.

“I did not know it was for Kellie Pickler until her producer called me,” Ms Bordeaux said. “I had heard of her, but was not really familiar with her music.”

Ms Bordeaux can be seen playing the fiddle in Pickler’s video for her hit, Best Days of Your Life. Pickler co-wrote the song with Swift, who sings background vocals.

“Taylor Swift was very young at that time and was as excited as the rest of us,” Ms Bordeaux said. “She was almost giddy, she was so thrilled that she was there. It was sweet to see both of them appreciating the opportunity like we did.”

Since then Ms Bordeaux has played at the Dove Awards, the Christian music version of the Grammy Awards, and is a regular part of Andrew Peterson’s Behold The Lamb of God concert, held annually in Ryman Auditorium, the former home of the Grand Ole Opry. The 2,362-seat auditorium has played host to everyone from Elvis Presley to Cold Play.

“Every year I walk on the stage and take a picture of my feet on the floorboards,” Ms Bordeaux said. “Playing there is an amazing experience.”

She married Keith Bordeaux in 2010; their daughter Clare was born five years ago.

Before the pandemic she was frequently away from home performing, often “doing ten trips every month”. After her daughter’s birth she started to see another way of life.

“Now I go out with this songwriter, Laura Story, once every other month, and do more local things around town,” she said.

Ms Bordeaux released her second album, Hymns from Home: An Instrumental Album, in November 2020. It follows Songs From Along the Way.

An Evening of Hymns and Other Songs starts at 7pm The Cathedral of the Most Holy Trinity on Saturday. Tickets, $25, are available at the Cathedral office or at the door.

For more information on violinist Bethany Bordeaux visit bethanybordeaux.com

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Published March 29, 2023 at 6:43 am (Updated March 30, 2023 at 7:58 am)

Violinist Bethany’s musical tour from bluegrass to pop and Bach

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