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Gale Reddick spends hours each day perfecting his fiddling technique at his studio on Hale Street and in clubs around the hill country. Photo by Phil Houseal


Details:
Gale Reddick can be heard seeking his voice on weekends at the Choo Choo Patio Shoppe at 614 West Main in Fredericksburg. He performs solo and with Elaine Bigelow as “Champagne & Moonshine.” Reddick can be reached at Gale’s Music Studio, 997-9641.

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Gale Reddick: Seeking His Voice

by Phil Houseal
Nov 2, 2005

“I am about fiddling.”

If Gale Reddick were a company, that would be his mission statement.

Reddick, who performs at least 30 hours a week and practices many hours more, has overcome some homegrown odds to reach his goals.

Born in Fredericksburg and raised around Harper, Reddick remembers wanting a fiddle at the age of six. But in small town Texas in the 1950s, scraping out music was not a viable career choice.

“Musicians were seen as derelicts,” Reddick recalled. “It was not what you would consider a desirable lifestyle at that time.”

Reddick also ran up against a perception that musical talent was something “you were born with.”

“The attitude was that if you are gifted, you can play music,” he said. “If you don’t have the gift, you can’t. I’m still struggling with this. There are people who have the gift. I know I never will have it.”

Reddick made up for it, ironically using skills he learned in his early life.

“What I lacked in raw talent, I made up with practice, stamina, work, determination, and... and...”

He searched for the right word.

“... and just plain stubbornness,” he finally said. “That’s all I’ve really got and I’m running with it.”

The bug never left him, but Reddick had to wait until he was 30 before he got his fingers on his first serious fiddle. He accepted an offer of a free lesson from a member of the San Antonio symphony. That was all it took.

“I went and started taking lessons everywhere I could,” he said. “It was so good to finally play.”

“To me, the only definition of talent is desire,” Reddick said. “How bad do you really want to do this and keep going with all the odds against you?”

After 30 years of fiddling, Reddick continues his quest to learn everything about the instrument, while trying to discover that thing “that connects us to the universe.”

“My mission is to find my voice,” he said. “I want to find a delivery that’s mine,  that is distinctive and unique, and not in a vain way. I really want people to say ‘I’ve got my own voice, too.’”

Reddick’s musical voice revolves around a unique style of playing that he dubs “triple stops.” In violin lexicon, double stops are the technique of bowing two adjacent strings simultaneously. This usually creates two-part harmony or sometimes doubling of the same note. Reddick had the idea of adding his voice to create a third part. His original songs are made of a melody he sings while simultaneously playing two harmony parts on the violin. It creates a full sound, and is very challenging to perform. He has worked for years to perfect the technique, and is now putting the finishing touches on 45 original songs which he will include in a book.

“I call them ‘uplifting meditations,’” he said. Each piece includes lyrics, and the tunes are designed to encourage the violinist to incorporate his singing voice while playing the instrument.

The boy who was told he would never play an instrument now performs five days a week and teaches guitar and violin whenever he’s not on stage.

How will he know his mission is accomplished?

“If I ever get it right, I want to be like Elijah and get carried away in a chariot to the next realm,” he said. “But that’s if I ever get it right. I’ll probably die trying.”

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