TOTFA Stories

Quebe Sisters

What a pleasure and a privilege it is to present the Quebe sisters as the main feature for this edition of the newsletter. They are: Hulda, age 9, Sophia, 12, and Grace, who is 13 and are the daughters of Mr. and Mrs. Clement Quebe of Krum. These young ladies are each, very talented and skilled both in traditional old time fiddling as well as in classical violin. My initial encounter with this trio was at the contest in Denton, and again at Glen Rose, where I was allowed to accompany them. It was at one place or the other that, Grace, played a tune that was, in the purview of some, completely beyond the pale of Texas fiddling. She played a tune entitled, Swedish Rhapsody, which is just a tad different from something akin to Cotton Patch Rag. This reminded me of the early 50's Columbia recording by Percy Faith and the Orchestra of this very tune which was on the flip side of the Song From Moulin Rouge, one of the hit tunes of 1952 that some of the Seniors may remember. This was indeed, a most refreshing and delightful departure from the frequency of "Sally" tunes.

The girl's parents are native Texans from the Houston area but the two oldest girls are from Tennessee and Hulda was born in Georgia, making them all Southern Belles. The family moved to Texas in 1995 after some nine years in residence throughout the South. It was in this environment that the girls were inducted into violin and fiddling, beginning with Grace, who began her studies in Classical violin using the Suzuki method at Kingsport, Tennessee. It was through this method and through home schooling that enabled the other two to follow in a similar fashion. Early on, the girls were listening and learning from the Traditional Music radio programs from Middle Tennessee State University as well as from music festivals and other activities throughout Appalachia and the South.

After relocating in Texas in early 1995, the young ladies continued training in classical violin, but according to their father, the girls caught the fiddling bug at a rodeo and fiddler's contest in late summer 1998 and there is no known antidote or cure in sight! This was the first time the threesome heard this exciting new music. There was something magnetic about Texas Fiddling that turned their ears. Maybe it was Sally Goodin, or Black and White Rag that caught the girls fancy, but "the rest is history". Fired with a sense of adventure, the Sisters have plunged into Texas Fiddling style without reservation. They still enjoy playing classical music but are yet to recover catching the "fiddlin' bug" on that hot summer day back in '98. All are currently under the competent, motivating, and vigorous tutelage of the McKenzies where their skills are being refined and polished. So look out E. J., Smokey, Bartow, and Gene. Here comes trouble in triplicate!

For the last year or so, the girls have performed often and in a variety of settings including weddings, contests, church services, family reunions, and an occasional "tater diggin". They have also performed on television, at jam sessions, as well as for a variety of community and social service functions. Some of their performance highlights include the following: The 1999 Grove, Oklahoma, Grand Lake National Fiddling Fest where all three were winners. Then in Burleson, at the convention contest in June of 1999, Grace placed third in her age group, Sophia was first in the junior division and Hulda placed fourth in her group. TV appearances have included a live broadcast, WFAA, Dallas, from the Mesquite Rodeo on the Good Morning Texas, TV program. Hulda, in the company and assistance of Joey and Sherry McKenzie, was featured in a children's program on The Maury Povich Show, an ABC syndicated television program in New York City.

Aside from their education by home schooling and music training, the girls share all manner of chores and as well as individual interests. Grace is into genetics, poultry management, and veterinary pursuits. Sophia makes extra money by exercising the lawn mower and wants to be as good as Terry Morris on the fiddle. Hulda takes to the family pet, Dawg, relishes a good jam session, and is developing the long bow method of fiddling in the style of Terry Morris and other disciples of Benny Thomasson. I want all the readers to be aware of the chore, the tribulation, the pain and agony on me, to have to write about such a trio as the Quebe Sisters (tongue in cheek). What a pleasure it has been!

For the benefit of those who have yet to see or hear the Quebe girls, you may want to check out the Texas Western Swing Showcase, Saturday., March 25, at the Bell Center Expo, in Belton where they will be performing. Other notables in this event include Randy Elmore, Mark Abott, Ricky Turpin, Bill Gilbert, Joey and Sherry McKenzie, and the diminutive West Texas Fiddlin' hailstorm, Damion Green.

Charles Gardner