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Little fiddler with a big talent

Little fiddler with a big talent
Macrae Meek

One wouldn’t think an 8-year-old could have such a strong vision and determination, but Macrae Meek does.

This La Vernia Intermediate School student has been playing the fiddle since he was 5 years old. He started learning the fiddle with the Suzuki method (see box) in Franklin, Texas.

This little fiddler has played for audiences of 300 or more, including performances on New Year’s Eve with Rocky King at the Floresville Event Center, as well as dates at the Little Red Barn restaurant in San Antonio. He’s also traveled to Navasota and La Grange, and to Turkey, Texas, the home of Texas swing great Bob Wills Macrae’s strongest influence for a show during the town’s annual Bob Wills Day celebrations.

Macrae also has taken the stage with the likes of Billy Mata, Jake Hooker, and Jody Nix whose father played with Bob Wills. Jody actually played with Bob Wills on his last album. This talented third-grader also has played in the Martinez Social Club and the American Legion Hall in St. Hedwig, as well as the Quihi Gun Club and Leon Springs Dance Hall.

He loves when people dance to his music.

“Because people enjoy it,” he said. “I hope everybody’s having a good time.”

In addition to his fiddle, the little musician has a set of drums, but he prefers stringed instruments. Macrae will take up the guitar, too, after receiving one from the gentleman in New Braunfels who repairs his fiddle.

“He’s a natural string man,” said his mother, Sunny Meek, who named him Macrae after the character Augustus McCrae, from the 1989 television miniseries, “Lonesome Dove.”

Macrae, the son of Tommy and Sunny Meek, lives in St. Hedwig; he has a 5-year-old sister, Slayton.

The Meek family has deep roots in country music. Macrae’s grandfather, Ronald Meek, was a drummer with the band, “The Branded Men.” Sunny said she was raised on old-time country music, and Macrae likes it, too.

He doesn’t want to play the slow stuff, though; he loves polkas and fast songs. “Cindy” by Bob Wills is one of his favorites. Sunny is his biggest fan and supports his love of music and performing. She takes him to all his gigs.

Until recently, the cover photo for the Facebook page for “The Best Little Cowboy Gathering in Texas” featured Macrae, intently concentrating on the musicians playing.

His determination and dedication to his music recently earned him a $3,200 Bill Fenn Memorial Scholarship. This will help pay for his private fiddle lessons; he has studied for a year with Nina Mavrinac in Converse. Mavrinac is the principal second violin with the Mid-Texas Symphony.

“He is very dedicated to his skill,” his teacher said. “ He works very hard for me. He will go forward.”

In addition to playing the fiddle, Macrae loves to dance. He also plays baseball and basketball.

What does he enjoy most about playing the fiddle or making music?

“It’s fun!” he exclaimed.

And what would he like to be when he grows up?

“I just want to be famous,” he said. “I want to have my own band, playing old Bob Wills music.”

You read it here, folks. Remember to watch for “Macrae Meek and the South Texas Boys” or “The Macrae Meek Band” playing at a venue near you, somewhere down the line.

Stay tuned. This adorable little rising star will pluck your heartstrings!

Suzuki Method

The Suzuki method focuses on playing by ear, on becoming comfortable with the instrument, learning to play at a very early age, and then learning to read music later.

It’s named for Japanese violinist Shinichi Suzuki, who realized that children learn to speak their native language easily and applied the basic principles of language acquisition to the learning of music.

Suzuki teachers believe that musical ability can be developed in all children. Students begin at young ages, and parents play an active role in the learning process.

Children become comfortable with their instruments before learning to read music.

Technique is taught in the context of pieces, rather than through dry technical exercises.

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