Harold Anderson received his first fiddle on his eighth birthday.
Living on a farm near Foam Lake, Anderson attended a two-room school along with his four brothers and five sisters. One of the teachers, Metro Syrnyk, was a violinist.
"He offered to give free lessons to anyone who could acquire an instrument," said Anderson, which is why his father bought him the five-dollar fiddle.
Now, nearly 80 years later, Anderson is still playing the fiddle, although the instrument has been slightly upgraded.
"The fiddle I play now is worth over $5,000," he said of his Hawkes & Son violin, made in 1906.
Anderson is a fine fiddler, but it would be an insult to sum him up as merely a great musician.
Anderson had at least three passions in life, as is evidenced by the nickname given to him by friends: The Flyin' Fiddlin' Pharmacist.
Anderson earned his wings in the Second World War, when he joined the Royal Canadian Air Force in 1942. Anderson trained as a pilot and flew missions in Europe. Although dangerous, Anderson said it was an exciting time for a young man and he was honoured to fight for his country.
"It's three and a half years of my life that I wouldn't have passed up for anything,' said Anderson.
After the war, Anderson attended the University of Saskatchewan, earning his Bachelor of Science degree in Pharmacy.
He bought a pharmacy in Maidstone, which he operated for 15 years before moving to Battleford in 1970, where he also owned and operated two pharmacies and received the pharmacist of the year award from the Saskatchewan Association of Pharmacists.
Anderson accredits this award to a six-year period he spent up north in Ile-la-Crosse, where he provided educative and consultative services to remote nursing stations throughout northern Saskatchewan.
But although Anderson enjoyed a fulfilling career, he didn't give up flying or fiddling. He continued to fly until 1994, flying commercially and teaching.
"I've had kind of an exciting life," he said modestly.
As for fiddling, Anderson's retirement in 1994 allowed him to spend more time playing his favourite instrument.
For seven years he attended the Emma Lake Fiddle Camp, which was the biggest fiddle camp in Canada but, sadly, no longer exists.
"I took on teaching and played in several bands," said Anderson, who still plays in two bands; the Valley View Fiddlers and the Fiddlers Three.
Anderson also served on the executive board of the Saskatchewan Fiddle Association and took part in concerts and events throughout Saskatchewan, whether as a judge or a player.
Anderson said teaching can be "a wonderful satisfaction," especially when his students go on to win competitions.
He also teamed up with Barbara Munch, giving free fiddle lessons to students at Lawrence School, a reflection of Anderson's own beginnings with the instrument.
"In a sense it's being able to pay back what I had given to me," he said.
This August, Anderson was presented with the Lifetime Achievement Award at the John Arcand Fiddle Fest for his contributions to fiddle music.
"He's a genuine person and we respect and honour the work he has done with youth," said Vicki Arcand, festival administrator.
Arcand cited Anderson's work at Lawrence School, as well as a number of jamborees he organized at the Alex Dillabough Centre as just some of the reasons Anderson was chosen for the award.
"Obviously, we felt that his contribution was extremely important," said Arcand.
At 86 years old, Anderson decided to step down from teaching this May.
"I was doing it mainly because there wasn't anybody to take my place," explained Anderson.
But with three new fiddle teachers in the Battlefords, Anderson feels the art of fiddling won't be lost.
"I feel I can hand over the reigns," he said.
Although Anderson has retired from teaching, he has no plans of hanging up the bow anytime soon. When asked how long he would keep fiddling, he replied with a smile, "Oh, another 20 years. So long as my fingers and arms stay flexible."