Illinois State University’s Concerts on the Quad series continues with the April Verch Band on Monday, July 17.

The folk-influenced group with a twist will take the stage with fiddling, traditional vocal music, and Ottawa Valley step dancing. The April Verch Band is sure to give a performance that won’t be easily forgotten.

April Verch and her band members extend their roots from all over North America, ranging from Ontario, Canada, to Boston, to a small town in Kansas. Originally forming in 2000, the band has included various members with the current group performing together since 2016 and featuring musicians Cody Walters on upright bass and clawhammer banjo, and Alex Rubin on guitar and mandolin, in addition to fiddler, singer, and step dancer April Verch.

While Verch is perhaps best known for playing traditional fiddle styles from her native Ottawa Valley, Canada, her performances extend into old-time American and Appalachian styles and beyond, for a well-rounded tour de force of North Americana sounds. Called a “triple threat in performance,” Verch step dances while fiddling, sings while step dancing, and sometimes sings, steps and fiddles all at once.

Musicians, Alex Rubin (guitar and mandolin), April Verch (fiddler, singer, and stepdancer), and Cody Walters (upright bass and clawhammer banjo) form the trio of the April Verch Band. Photo courtesy of the artists.

Musicians, Alex Rubin (guitar and mandolin), April Verch (fiddler, singer, and step dancer), and Cody Walters (upright bass and clawhammer banjo) form the trio of the April Verch Band. Photo courtesy of the artists.

The group tours all over North America, playing a wide variety of shows—from small, 30 fan rooms, to the Vancouver Opening Ceremony of the 2010 Winter Olympics.

“I feel so fortunate to travel with the band members I have. They are two of the best musicians that I’ve worked with and we really click both on and off stage,” says Verch. When asked about her performance at Illinois State, she said, “We love to get to know people and talk about where/who we learned tunes from or what inspired us to write them.”

Raised surrounded by music, Verch learned to step dance at the age of 3 and fiddle at the age of 6. Her close and personal connection to the music network has not only been the way that she has met and began playing with her current and former bandmates, but is where she draws inspiration from as well, “I was mostly influenced by the fiddlers and performers that I met at local jams, dances, fiddle contests, etc. I was around a lot of professional musicians as well and I really looked up to them.”

Recalling her father’s influence on her Verch said, “My dad always made it a point to play for me the Canadian fiddle legends on the record player if he thought I was forgetting my roots.”

For a sneak peek at the music of the April Verch Band, visit April’s YouTube Channel.

The Concerts on the Quad series continues through the month of July with Singing Under the Stars on July 24 and an Evening of Jazz on July 31.

All Concerts begin at 7 p.m. and are free and open to the public. Concerts take place on the east side of Cook Hall and concertgoers should bring lawn chairs or blankets for seating.

The Concerts on the Quad series is presented by the Illinois State University College of Fine Arts and School of Music and in conjunction with the Illinois Shakespeare Festival and The Pantagraph, and is sponsored by the Mirza Fund of the Illinois Prairie Community Foundation, Fell Trust, and Town of Normal Harmon Arts Grant Program.