Chestermere's brightest light

By Rick MacDonnell, SnowSeekers Inc.

On a day when the Olympic Torch came through the town, Chestermere, Alberta's brightest light was the Keister Family Fiddlers.

"Words cannot describe how excited and proud we are to be involved with the Olympic Torch Relay here in our home of Chestermere!" said Sherry Keister, guitarist and mother of the Keister Family Fiddlers.

The Keisters got Chestermere's Torch celebration started with a bang today, as they took to the stage and electrified the home crowd. Consisting of mother Sherry, and daughters Quinn, 14, Claire, 13, and twins Faith and Paige, 10, the Keister Family Fiddlers have been wowing audiences all over Alberta for the last four years.

"We all started playing the fiddle when we each turned six, but we started playing together as a group four years ago," Quinn said. In addition to their fiddling, the girls also step dance and sing – all at the same time.

While today's Olympic rally was undoubtedly one of the group's career highlights, these young girls are no strangers to the spotlight. Just last year they managed to perform a whopping 150 times.

"The girls have already gone through a lot," Sherry said. "They've played in minus 30 weather at the the Airdrie Festival of Lights, and performed to almost 25,000 at the BMO Kids Day Breakfast at last year's Calgary Stampede."

While Chestermere's crowd wasn't quite 25,000, the ovation they received would have fooled anyone. The town is clearly proud of their hometown girls. "Playing at home, at the Torch rally, it makes things more exciting, but it also makes you more nervous," Quinn said. "I had an idea what it would be like, from seeing it on television, but it completely exceeded my expectations."

"It was a lot of fun," said the twins, Faith and Paige.

Because of the group's busy schedule, the girls have actually been going to school online this year. This "virtual schooling" seems to be working out quite well for them all. "We love it," Claire said. "It makes things a lot easier. And because of the CD, we don't really have a lot of time."

The CD in question is a planned Keister disc that should be hitting shelves this spring. The girls have been working diligently on it for months, and based on today's performance, it can't come too soon.

Make sure to catch the Travel Alberta Olympic Torch Relay videos on YouTube at www.youtube.com/user/TravelAlbertaCanada

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