Jonita Aadland has spent her life playing, promoting, and teaching the fiddle. She won her first fiddle contest after playing only three months. Jonita spent her teenage years travelling around the country entering and winning fiddle contests, making new friends, and learning new tunes. She studied with greats such as Terry Morris, Jimmie Don Bates, Randy Howard from Georgia and Reg Bouvette and Graham Townsend of Canada. Jonita enjoys various styles of American fiddling, and is fascinated how the fiddle exists in so many cultures all over the world.
In 1988 Jonita was recruited by Walt Disney World to perform Norwegian fiddle at EPCOT where she played for the King of Norway on opening day of the Norway pavilion. In the 1990s she attended UCLA studying World Music and ethnomusicology. She moved to Nashville and graduated from Belmont University with a degree in Music with a Music Business minor. She performed regularly with the legendary Chet Atkins, who actually backed her on guitar for her final recital at Belmont on the gypsy tune “Czardas.” They had become friends through their mutual love of the fiddle, and they played many a square dance tune together.
During the 1990s Jonita helped create and organize the first annual Mark O’Connor fiddle camp in Nashville (1994), the Red River Fiddle Fest in Shreveport, Louisiana (1997-1999), and several other fiddle contests in Nevada and Oklahoma. She toured with her own band in Japan and Norway and continued to play at Walt Disney World as a special guest. In 2000 she moved back to Florida, formed her own production company, and fronted four bands full-time at EPCOT from 2000 to 2008 in the fiddle styles of Celtic, Scandinavian, American, and French jazz.
Jonita is a trained and registered Suzuki violin teacher and has her own violin school with nearly 80 students starting at age four. Her desire is to spread the love of fiddle music to new generations. She also continues to perform professionally with her various bands and solo. Through it all, her favorite is still Texas contest style and she is so excited to judge this year at Weiser!

Judging philosophy: I love a good groove! I’m a swing dancer as well as a musician and it is important to me that a tune reflect the dance for which it was intended. I also love some good “in tune” double stops that give me goose bumps. I appreciate tasty improvisation, but I’ll take a simple groove over fancy jazz any day. I also like when people get creative and bring new tunes into the mix. Because I love all styles of fiddle music, it’s exciting when I hear a tune that is unique. I enjoy that kind of creativity and boundary-crossing because the music brings us all together no matter where we come from.