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A great day to fiddle about

Laurels to the toe-tapping music of the Union Grove Old Time Fiddlers’ Convention, which will continue today at the VanHoy Farms Family Campground north of Statesville. The convention features live performances of bluegrass and “old time” music, but fans will tell you these traditional genres harkening deep into our region’s cultural past have a timeless appeal. The convention, in its second year of revival after a long hiatus, drew several thousand attendees last year, with a larger crowd expected this year as word gets around about the music on display. Organizers Casey VanHoy and Vivian P. Hopkins should take a bow for their efforts to revitalize this great fiddling tradition.

Dart to the commercialization of Easter, which appears in danger of suffering the same kind of merchandising onslaught that has turned Christmas into an excuse for overconsumption. Easter bunnies, colored eggs and candy have long been part of this most holy of Christian observances. Now, however, we’re seeing more of a push to turn Easter into another gift-giving spree, especially targeted toward children. The National Retail Federation estimates that Americans will spend about $17 billion this year on Easter-related purchased. The Easter season is certainly about gifts, but it’s the gifts of redemption, resurrection and renewal that should be foremost in mind, not stuffing more and more goodies into Easter baskets.

Laurels to the plan for a business and marketing academy at East Rowan High. As proposed, the academy’s specialized courses and work-based programs would give students some solid credentials to help set them on a vocational path, whether it leads graduates to an immediate job or further formal training at the college level. With the recent emphasis on expanding vocational courses for high school students, the business and marketing academy is a great addition to the curriculum and a good complement to the other academies that have already been established at other Rowan-Salisbury high schools. It may also present new opportunities for local businesses to partner with the school system to help cultivate the homegrown workforce that’s essential to the recruitment and retention of more local industries.

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