Thanks to April Verch, Bowdoin had its fill of bluegrass, Celtic, French-Canadian, and jazzy fiddle tunes last Friday.

Not only did she play the fiddle tremendously, but she also performed the "Ottawa Valley Step Dance" during her songs, adding to the incredible amount of talent that her instrument already displayed.

Verch called her style a "melting pot" because she grew up in Canada's Ottawa Valley where people of many different nationalities worked in lumber camps. Her husband, Marc Bru, accompanied Verch on the drums as did Hans Holsen on the guitar and Kyle Kagris on the bass. Verch employed Ottawa Valley step dancing, an art that evolved because loggers could only carry small instruments, like fiddles, to the camps, and they kept the rhythm with their feet. Verch performed this dance-an elaborate cross between tap and Michael Flatley's "Lord of the Dance"-incredibly well considering she also played her fiddle throughout the steps.

The concert began with a five-tune medley from the Ottawa Valley, a collection of bluegrass style music that sounded like notes floating over a back porch in Virginia. Verch then played "Light in the Window," a song from her latest album, From Where I Stand. The album is her first to contain vocals, and Verch's voice matched her instrumentation well, taking on the style of Allison Krauss. After five albums, the first recorded when she was 13, it is interesting that this album is her first with vocals.

Verch's fiddle, however, did not stop with the Ottawa Valley rhythms. She moved on to Celtic music and Irish reels, saying that she "learned a couple shows ago to keep things even among the Scots and the Irish." She captured the mournful tone of the Celtic music with "Bonny Lass of the Morning," which she first heard a cappella, and made a smooth transition to the upbeat jigs of the Irish with "Howlin' at the Moon."

Patty Griffin, whom Verch called a new favorite of hers, also made an appearance in the concert through Verch's cover of Griffin's song "Long Ride Home." Verch then moved into more traditional French-Canadian tunes, which were smoother and had a slower pace than her previous songs.

Toward the end of the concert, Verch broke out the sentimental favorites: a song from her wedding and a song she often performed with her father, a guitarist, and her sister, who plays the piano and also sings and dances. The wedding song, which two friends played at Verch and Bru's ceremony, was titled "August 19" so, as Verch said, "Marc won't forget our anniversary."

The song that Verch had performed with her father and sister was an Appalachian tune called "Mossboy." She stated her family was very musically talented, except for her mother, who "couldn't carry a tune in a bucket." Verch sold copies of her father's album, featuring old country songs, during the show at the merchandise desk. She and her sister released the CD because her father refused to go through with the album issue.

After dedicating her last song to a fiddlemaker in the audience that she knew, Verch finished with a farewell song to the Kresge audience, thanking them for coming to her show. Witnessing her talent and hearing her many ranges of songs made the audience wonder why she was thanking them: they were the ones privileged to be there.