Jocelyne Bourque grew up to the music of her father’s violin. The young girl from Moncton was raised in a musical environment as she followed her parents in numerous musical competitions all over New Brunswick. At the age of twelve, she began accompanying her father by step dancing to his music. This first step into the world of traditional music will soon inspire her to become a master of the fiddle like her father.
In 1987, at the age of 15, she meets in Dartmouth Nova Scotia Tracy Marianchie from Westfield Massachusetts who is at the time competing in several violin competitions. Jocelyne is very much impressed with the young girl of 17 who in turn encourages her to take up the instrument and insist that it would be nice to hear her play the following year. Jocelyne rapidly gets to work and, one year later, is crowned women’s champion of the New Brunswick Open Old Time Fiddling Competition. The first piece she learns to master on the violin is St-Anne’s Reel, a number she has been dancing to for many years.
This first victory will mark the beginning of a long and prestigious career. Since she began playing the fiddle, Jocelyne Bourque has taken part in numerous competitions in the Maritimes in which she often claimed the honors including the New Brunswick Open Championship Fiddling Contest and the Maritimes Open Fiddling Championships (1993). She also judged the Maritimes fiddling contest in 2000. She has been invited to compete several times in the Canadian Grand Masters Fiddling Championship in Ontario (which she has been selected in the eleven finalists), a prestigious contest by invitation only. She also has been invited to judge this contest in 2001, 2003 and 2005.
Jocelyne has performed in a number of concerts in Canada and in the United States and has taught her musical skills in a variety of musical camps (Emma Lake, Saskatchewan (Canada), Ottawa, Ontario (Canada) and Montana (USA)). She has three recordings to her credits: Bowing wild(1992), Reflexions(1993) and Looking back(1997). She has been recognized in 2002 with the Tara Lynne Touesnard award, given at the Maritimes Fiddling Championship. This award is given to a person who best exemplifies Tara Lynne’s dedication to the preservation and enhancement of old tyme fiddling and devotion to community service.
The renowned fiddler and step dancer as also opened for many groups, among them Grand Dérangement in 2002 and Lahey in 2003. Jocelyne, with her entertaining and melodious fiddle, has made crowds dance during important cultural events including the 1994 World Acadian Congres in the South East of New Brunswick, the 1998 East Coast Music Awards, the 1999 Sommet de la Francophonie in Moncton, and the Queen’s visit in Moncton in the summer of 2002.
Immersed in a musical environment since childhood, Jocelyne rapidly develops a passion for teaching. She starts giving step dancing lessons in 1987 in Memramcook and soon teaches all over the province. She adds fiddle to her teaching curriculum in 1989. In 1998, she decides to teach full time in Moncton and acquires in 2001 a building on Mountain road that soon becomes l’École de violon et de danse à claquettes Jocelyne Bourque. The music school offers the opportunity to learn step dancing, fiddle, piano, and a variety of musical instruments. In 2003, Jocelyne and her husband Éric opened the music store Guivio which is located inside the school.
With the students from her school, Jocelyne Bourque organizes a multitude of musical events including an annual Christmas concert and a year-end show. He pupils regularly take part in various competitions in which they are often victorious. Jocelyne hires her first employee in 1996. Ten years later, in 2006, she has four people working for her at l’École de violon et de danse à claquettes Jocelyne Bourque in Moncton.
Master of the fiddle, Jocelyne Bourque has long been composing her own music. Some of her original compositions are inspired from her loved-ones like the waltz in honour of her parent’s 35th wedding anniversary written in 1996 and featured on her third album. Jocelyne also founded in 1997 the very first provincial fiddle and step dancing competition in Richibucto, New Brunswick.
In 2006, Jocelyne gave her students the opportunity to travel to Quebec and Ottawa to participate in three 45 minutes concerts for the Canada Day festivities which gave them a chance to entertain more then 1500 peoples. This trip gave the students a chance to associate with other students as well as share the love of music cultures with others.
With her music, her teaching, and her albums, Jocelyne continues the family tradition of keeping Acadian culture and music alive. The music played by her students will long reflect and echo her quest to transmit her love of Acadian heritage to those who are willing to embrace it.