Old Time Fiddlin'

Published 12:13 pm Wednesday, July 20, 2005

By By Adam Prestridge
For the second consecutive year and the third time in four years, Adam Purvis of Panama City is the top fiddler.
Purvis, along with several other talented musicians, entertained the crowd on hand during the Atmore Rotary Club's 26th annual Fiddler's Convention Saturday at Atmore City Hall helping make it an overall success despite Hurricane Dennis, which forced a change of venue.
"I think it went great considering we moved it at the last second and we had a hurricane," Fiddler's Convention organizer and Atmore Rotarian Keith Castleberry said following the event. "I think our attendance was down, but that's understandable, in fact, I don't think we could have handled anymore considering where we were. I don't like to say this, but I'm kind of glad attendance was down because we couldn't of handled any more, there wasn't an empty seat in the house."
The talented musicians the convention draws each year is the main reason why the Rotary was still able to pack the house.
"We had some great entertainment, the house band was really good this year," "They had a different system and was able adapt to the new facility."
Purvis, 29, beat out five other fiddlers to claim this year's title. He said even though the number of contestants was smaller this year, it was
"It feels good, it's a great accomplishment," he said. "The performers all did so good. I was really surprised to place. I hope the Rotary keeps up the tradition of acoustic music."
Purvis, who works as an electrician, has been playing the fiddle for 20 years. He said hours of practice each week, which consists of at least an hour of practice each night, said he heard about the convention through a friend several years back and decided to take a shot at the title.
Purvis won $300 and was awarded a plague for winning first place. Danny Lindsey of Silas finished second and won $200 and Matthew Carnley of Milton, Fla. took home $100 for finishing third.
"He's obviously the best," Castleberry said. "We've had different judges every time and that tells the story. We had people come as far away as Tampa."
Atmore Rotary members met last Wednesday, two days following Hurricane Dennis's destruction, and decided to go on with the show and to change sites from Escambia County High School's auditorium, which received roof damage during the storm to city hall. Castleberry said it couldn't have worked out any better considering the circumstances.
"You couldn't have asked for a better host than Mayor Howard Shell and the rest of the city employees," he said. "Howard was there even before I was and provided us with everything we needed. He even allowed Fiddler's to set up in the council chambers.
Castleberry also commended Rotary Club members and several others who volunteered their time even though not being a member of the club.
"We had a lot of volunteers that were non Rotarians," he said. "Rob Ellis stayed out the all day and the Butt Burners barbecue team stayed with all day as well. John Swift saved us again with barbecue. He donated all of his profits for the cause. Webb Nall, who is also a city councilman, stayed with us all day at the Pepsi booth and also hung signs up for us all over the city."
But without the community's support, Castleberry said this years Fiddler's Convention might not have come together as well as it did.
"I would say this year, it was not only a Rotary Club project, but the whole community came together to make sure this would happen," he said.

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