A Family of Fiddlers has Strings Attached

Baihly Warfield
Updated: August 22, 2018 10:27 PM

EFFIE, Minn. - In the summer, bluegrass and country music just feel right. And when the Dietrichs are in town, there's not shortage of that. 


With four fiddlers, they're like a walking ho-down. And when the Dietrich sisters begin to play, you can't help but tap your toes. 

"I play fiddle, banjo, guitar," Brie Dietrich said. 

Maddie Dietrich was the first to learn. She's 17, followed by 9-year-old Ranelle, 8-year-old Brie and 6-year-old Aspen. 

"I started playing fiddle when I was 9, so I've been playing about eight years," Maddie said. "So then I started teaching them, because they wanted to learn. And it's been really fun. We've just been doing it together ever since."

They also have an older sister who sings and plays guitar and upright bass. And their two youngest siblings are 2 and 3, so they are just beginning to learn the world of music. 

"You can just get better when you start when you're little," Ranelle said. 

With a built-in practice squad, the Dietrichs have gotten pretty good. 

"They're really easy to play with," Brie said. 

The sisters travel around the country, from Oklahoma to Idaho to Minnesota, competing on the fiddle. 

They call Casa Grande, Arizona home base, but their biggest fan resides in the Northland. 

Their grandma, Lois Kinn, lives in Effie. She didn't seem to mind her backyard and home being taken over by stringed instruments for a week. 

"I really love the way they do 'Amazing Grace,'" Grandma Lois said. "I just love it."

Lois knows a thing or two about amazing grace. This summer, she was diagnosed with cancer for the fourth time with the fourth different kind. This time, it was melanoma that had to be removed from her face. But she loves seeing her granddaughters in the spotlight. 

"She calls a bunch of people and has them over to listen," Ranelle said. "They always clap and stuff."

"I asked them this morning if they were getting sick of me every time somebody's walking in the door," Lois chuckled. "'Can you play for them? This is my friend. Can you play for them?'"

The Arizona Wildflowers, as they're known when they are recording, happily pick up their fiddles. 

"I like playing for Grandma," Aspen said. 

"It's been really fun, and she likes it a lot," Brie said. 

The backyard concerts are fun, but the Wildflowers bloom on stage. And Grandma had never gotten to see them compete live before. But on Aug. 4, that changed. 

All four of the fiddling Dietrichs competed at the Minnesota State Old Time Fiddle Championship. 

"Maybe they should not let me distract them because I'll be waving and winking," Lois said.

Even with all the excitement, the Dietrichs were focused. 

"It's great to see them all here as a family and playing music together, it's fun to see," Tucker Nelson, master of ceremonies, said. 

"I'm just so happy that they play, and I'm so happy that they love to play together," mom, Tiffany Dietrich, said. "I hope they always bring glory to God when they play and just enjoyment to other people."

All their practice paid off. Ranelle and Brie took home 3rd and 4th in their division, and Maddie placed 2nd overall. 

"I like having healthy competition," Maddie said. 

But if you ask Grandma Lois, there's no second fiddle in her family.

"The Lord says you're not supposed to boast," she said. "I said, tell me exactly how I can't boast. How can I not boast?"

The girls went straight from Minnesota to Texas to continue recording their Arizona Wildflowers album. 


Baihly Warfield

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