Cooking up some music in Hay River

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You could say that Linda Duford is now in her element – surrounded by musical instruments and teaching young and old how to play them.

Linda Duford's dream came true last month when she opened The Purple Pick Studio, where the well-known musician will teach young and old how to play several instruments. Paul Bickford/NNSL photo
Linda Duford’s dream came true last month when she opened The Purple Pick Studio, where the well-known musician will teach young and old how to play several instruments.
Paul Bickford/NNSL photo

Duford – best known in Hay River as a fiddler – opened The Purple Pick Studio in early November, and immediately started offering classes.

That was just days after she and her sister had completed the sale of The Back Eddy restaurant and lounge, where she had been the kitchen manager.

Duford said that owning and operating a music studio had been her dream.

“It was always in the back of my mind, but it never came to be something that I was serious about until we started seriously talking about selling The Back Eddy,” she said.

It was also her dream to get elected to Hay River town council, which happened at almost the same time.

Along with being a fiddler, Duford plays multiple other instruments – guitar, keyboard, and a little banjo and mandolin.

At The Purple Pick, she will teach people how to play fiddle and guitar, and also a little bit of keyboard theory.

“I wouldn’t call myself accomplished on keyboard, but I know notes and theory,” she said. “So it’s fun teaching that.”

The Purple Pick has opened in the Caribou Centre in rented space that has seen a number of business occupants in recent years – restaurants, a wood pellet stove store and a weekend flea market.

Duford is very happy with the location, noting for one thing it is very close to the schools and therefore convenient for her younger music students.

Plus, unlike some other available spaces, the sound of children arriving for classes and then playing their instruments will not be a disruption at the Caribou Centre.

“I think in this building they welcome the traffic and the noise, because it’s a mall kind of thing,” said Duford.

Her music studio is not soundproofed but it’s not a big issue, she noted.

“None of the places are. You can hear people talking. You can hear people in the laundromat,” she said. “So it’s part of the general din in the background.”

Duford said she is really happy with her new music studio.

“I couldn’t have asked for a better place,” she said. “It’s just really nice.”

When she co-owned The Back Eddy, she would offer music classes for children when the restaurant was closed in the afternoons, and teach adults in the evenings.

Duford noted that, even though the word ‘studio’ is in the name of her new endeavour, it is not a recording studio.

“It’s a music studio for learning,” she explained.

The name – The Purple Pick Studio – comes from Duford’s fondness for the colour purple, including for many of the guitar picks she uses.

“A lot of people know me as a fiddler but before I played the fiddle I was a guitar player and it’s always been my first instrument,” she said, noting as a fiddle instructor with the Kole Crook Fiddle Association she also started to teach guitar. “I was buying picks and picks, and my favourite colour is purple. I’m generally always wearing purple.”

One of Duford’s students at The Purple Pick is nine-year-old Laura Moshenko.

“It’s pretty great,” said the nine-year-old, who is learning to play guitar, keyboard and fiddle.

Her father, Darcy Moshenko, is also happy with the new studio.

“I think it’s fantastic,” he said. “What a great opportunity for the kids. Linda has been involved in this for quite a few years, and I’ve had my girls in it for about three years now and they love it.”

Moshenko said his two children couldn’t be in a better situation for learning music.

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