August 2018 Fiddletter

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President’s Remarks

Contributed by Tom Bailey

Guitar on BeachGreetings to all you FOG members out there. Don’t know about you, but it is hard to believe that tomorrow is the last day of JULY 2018! Time is flying by but FOG is doing well – we are back up to 99 members. Guess we need to have one of those grocery store celebrations where confetti comes falling down when they reach the umpteenth customer when we reach 100. It has been a good year with the most COPs gigs in years – and several places liked us so much they are paying us to come back this fall. Another “landmark” is we will have the new CD ready for the Fiddlers’ Fair (if the creek don’t rise….). It has taken a while but we have 18 tunes ready to go and are anxiously awaiting the graphics, which Mike’s daughter is developing for us. I hope you will as happy with the CD as the Board is.

Our Mission Statement basically says FOG does not “teach” the members how to play the music. We do hold workshops for members to attend, and we are putting together a list of teachers for those folks seeking some help. Along those lines, Greg is working with Denny to put together a rhythm workshop. The hope is to have it soon – stay tuned. But I do want to pass on a document that I received from a well-known neurosurgeon in Atlanta. He has spent years in the area of behavioral and cognitive neuroscience – specifically in the science of how the brain learns.  He is fascinated with the plasticity of the brain – how the brain responds to various inputs, how it can reshape itself throughout the course of our lives. He has put together this study – “9 Ways to Practice Smarter”. His name is Dr. Josh Turknett of Emory University Hospital. As he states at the beginning of this document he states ”there is no end to the number of resources that demonstrate WHAT you should be learning….there is little or no guidance on the matter of HOW you should go about learning…yet HOW we practice is the primary determinant of our success – the reason we practice is to stimulate our brain to CHANGE”. His correlation is that we learn to play music the same way a child learns to speak. A child doesn’t start speaking sentences early on but learns letters, put hose together as words, etc. But that is not the way classical music has been taught for centuries. We should focus on basic skills, and as we learn them we put those together to form phrases, which gives us a basis many tunes. Here are his 9 Keys…

  1. Learn in the right sequencemusic-clipart-imagination-692139-3408684
  2. Test for Automaticity before moving on
  3. Identify and Focus on your weaknesses
  4. Work on the smallest learnable skill
  5. Use you zombies
  6. Mind your practice time
  7. Build “sound to motor” networks
  8. Use the force
  9. Always have material you WANT to play that is RIGHT for your level

I can’t begin to go into his study on how the brain learns, how it remembers things while you are doing something else (like sleeping), etc. But if you want a copy of this study to read for yourself, please let me know.

On behalf of the Board, we sure hope you will come out and join us at some of the upcoming gigs we have, starting on 18 August at the Fiddlers’ Fair. Help us share the old time fiddle music.


FOG Tune Lyrics: When You and I Were Young, Maggie

Contributed by Ray Ettington & Mike Deniz

music notes

When You and I Were Young, Maggie” is a famous folk song, popular song and standard. Though Springtown, Tennessee, has a small monument outside an old mill claiming the song was written by a local George Johnson, in 1864, for his Maggie, the truth is that its lyrics were written as a poem by the Canadian school teacher George Washington Johnson from Hamilton, Ontario. Margaret “Maggie” Clark was his pupil. They fell in love and during a period of illness, George walked to the edge of the Niagara escarpment, overlooking what is now downtown Hamilton, and composed the poem. The general tone is perhaps one of melancholy and consolation over lost youth rather than mere sentimentality or a fear of aging. It was published in 1864 in a collection of his poems entitled Maple Leaves. They were married in 1864 but Maggie’s health deteriorated and she died on May 12, 1865. James Austin Butterfield set the poem to music and it became popular all over the world. George Washington Johnson died in 1917. The schoolhouse where the two lovers met still stands on the escarpment above Hamilton, and a plaque bearing the name of the song has been erected in front of the old building. In 2005, the song was inducted into the Canadian Songwriters Hall of Fame.(1)

When_You_and_I_Were_Young,_Maggie_(Ditson_sheet_music_cover) (1)
Oliver Ditson & Co. version of sheet music cover

I wandered today to the hill, Maggie
To watch the scene below
The creek and the creakin’ old mill, Maggie
As we used to do long ago
The green grove is gone from the hill, Maggie
Where first the daisies sprung
The creakin’ old mill is still, Maggie
Since you and I were young
The green grove is gone from the hill, Maggie
Where first the daisies sprung
The creakin’ old mill is still, Maggie
Since you and I were young
Since you and I were young
Since you and I were young

(1) Wikipedia contributors. “When You and I Were Young, Maggie.” Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia. Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia, 22 Jul. 2018. Web. 31 Jul. 2018.


Online Magazine Recommendation: Down the Road

Contributed by Tom Bailey

Down the Road cover

Click HERE to view



As quoted directly from the North Carolina Blue Ridge Towns and Trails website:

If you love the traditional sounds of mountain music from banjos to fiddles, from ballads to shape-note singing, find your passion with our new Down the Road guide to the Blue Ridge Music Trails.  Working with the talented editors and writers of Smoky Mountain News, we have published a free 64-page magazine Down the Road. You can pick up a copy at partnering music venues, stages, and visitor centers across the region.

This free publication is available in an online format. It has some great articles, especially one about fiddler Arvil Freeman. Hope you enjoy – I did!



Wernick Method of Bluegrass Jamming

Contributed by Ron Perry

Pete Wernick (“Dr. Banjo”) is the banjo player with “Hot Rize”, the band he helped form in 1978. Hot Rize is currently celebrating decades of ground-breaking Bluegrass with a 40-year Anniversary tour.

Pete created the Wernick Method of Bluegrass Jamming for people who play but wish they knew a lot more about jamming.

wernick methodTo get them out of their (music) closets and playing with others, Pete simplified everything so people learn more effectively by playing with others. In the process, everyone learns more quickly, they learn to play familiar and unfamiliar songs, sing melody and harmony, how to create solos all while making new friends!

Nancy and Ron Perry of FOG are certified by Pete to teach the Wernick Method of Bluegrass Jamming. From June 25- 28, Nancy and Ron assisted Pete and his staff of amazing musicians at a Wernick Method Bluegrass Camp at Silver Bay YMCA on Lake George in the Adirondack mountains. Over 60 budding jammers attended, with about 15-20 who participated for the first time.

For more info, visit Ron and Nancy are happy to answer any questions about Bluegrass jamming and the Wernick Method.

(1) From

2018 Officers

BOD President: Tom Bailey
Vice-President: Kathy Schwar
Secretary: Jane Reetz
Treasurer: Greg Roat
Mike Deniz
Ray Ettington
Pat Fink
Diana GreenNewsletter Editor: Mike Deniz (temp)Webmaster: Jack Metzger


FOG Contact Info

It’s EASY to Contact & Connect with FOG

Call the Fiddle Fone! (585) 234-3582

  • Hear the latest FOG announcements.
  • Leave voice mail messages.
  • Check for last-minute changes in jam locations or gig schedules
Surf the World Wide Web!

Visit the FOG website at

  • See schedules & locations for jams & gigs.
  • Leave e-mail messages.
  • Current FOG members (password required) can download FOG music sheets, midi files and past issues of the FOG Fiddletter.
Mailing Address:

Yes! “Snail mail” still works reliably! It’s just a little slower than the internet….

Fiddlers of the Genesee
Post Office Box 631
Fairport, NY 14450-0631

Friday Night Jams (7-9 pm)

Perinton-Fairport VFW Hall – Rte 31F
(also known as the Macedon Ctr. Rd.)
  • August 3
  • August 10
  • August 31

Penfield American Legion Hall
1797 Old Penfield Road

  • August 17
  • August 24

FOG jam clipart - canstockphoto136796392018 Gig Schedule

  • August 18 & 19 – GCVM Fiddler’s Fair, 2:15pm
  • September 6 – Canandaigua VA Hospital, 5:30pm
  • September 16 – Palmyra Canaltown Days, time TBD
  • September 19 – Grand Vie, 6:30pm

Reminder: Participation at all FOG Gigs is limited to current FOG members!!

You must sign up in the “FOG Gig Book” and attend at least one jam / rehearsal to perform at a FOG gig.

fiddlelgoAbout FOG

“Fiddlers of the Genesee” (FOG) is a not-for-profit organization dedicated to bringing together people for the purpose of stimulating, preserving and promoting the tradition of “Old-Time Fiddling” in the Genesee River area of New York State and to play a variety of Fiddle Music with emphasis on the following:

      1. Musical participation
      2. Encouragement of musical development
      3. Non-competitive fellowship
      4. Acoustic instrumentation
      5. Education of members and the public about old-time fiddling

For more information call the “Fiddle Fone” (585) 234-3582; write to us at P.O. Box 631, Fairport, NY 14450-0631; or visit our website at:

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