January 2020 Fiddletter

New Year Chickens


President’s Remarks

Contributed by Tom Bailey

Happy New Year FOG members! Time sure flies this time of year, we are all so busy with activities of the Season. It is so important to spend time with loved ones and friends, lest we not forget those who are not feeling joy during this time of year. The COPS gigs coming up this month provide an opportunity to share uplifting music with some of these folks. The set list was sent out at the beginning of December, so all members can see what we will be playing at the gigs. COPs gigs run from January through April; please think about coming to play with your fellow FOG members.

Members of FOG play at community outreach gigs and paid gigs throughout the year. Contact a Board member if you are interested in taking part in sharing music with the community!

After the annual meeting last month, the Board distributed a survey to determine members’ interests. Primary goals of the survey were to find out who is interested in workshops, COPs gigs and paying gigs. Survey input will allow us to set up contact lists for workshops and gigs, as well as letting us know what type of workshops members are interested in for the coming year. But if you don’t send in your completed survey the Board will not know your interests. We will be cutting back on membership-wide email blasts, instead communicating just to those who are interested in receiving specific information. Some folks are tired of receiving so much “junk” email from so many sources that we don’t want to add to the pile. So, if you are interested, let us know!

A couple things came up in the annual meeting that have been communicated to the membership,  but the Board wants to reiterate: First, a FOG financial meeting will be scheduled in the near future. We will have an end-of-year financial report. A proposed budget will be presented to guide some of the decisions for the coming year, i.e., number and scale of workshops; number of paying gigs we need to accept without placing a burden on the membership; any desired expenditures and so on. Second is a jam schedule; the 2nd Friday of every month will feature a slow jam from 6:30 until roughly 7:30, led by Pat Fink. A monthly gig practice will follow; this will be the ONLY Friday gig practice for the month. All other Friday evenings will be regular jams for everyone, not just members. A gig list for 2020 has been distributed with most of the available dates already filled. We are hoping this will allow members to plan on joining in some of the events. As we get workshops set up, those dates will be added to the list.

Another change for this year is that we won’t have a Music Committee, as the one that has been in place the last couple years has been basically inactive. Greg Roat will go back through the older FOG tunes and come up with a handful that we will add to the jam playlist for the month. There are a lot of great tunes that we have simply forgotten; now we will go back and enjoy these tunes we used to play all the time. Deb Abel has offered to continue writing up any new ones we want to add to the repertoire.

So, with the exciting plans to look forward to in 2020, I want to wish you a prosperous and Happy New Year.

Until next time – Play nice and play often!



A Little Taste of FOG

Contributed by Tom Bailey

By now everyone should be familiar with the Members’ Interest Survey. In the Comments section of the survey, one respondent suggested FOG needs a program to introduce members to our repertoire of 170+ tunes. Handing a FOG newcomer “the BOOK” can be a daunting experience for someone not used to FOG. When Julie and I joined in 2006, we paid our dues and were handed a massive stack of tunes. Where is one supposed to

FOG Book
The FOG tune library contains close to 200 tunes. The Board is working on a plan that would allow members to work in small groups to learn the tunes a few at a time.

start? We were familiar with old time music in Florida and the Carolinas, even Virginia, but this FOG music is different. It can be enough to scare someone away. So, when Mike presented this suggestion, it was decided we need to pursue such a program. The program would be for folks familiar with other music but not FOG’s, or folks wanting to learn the tunes commonly played at jam sessions, or even for folks just wanting to learn to play old time tunes. It would be for all instruments. The idea needs further discussion, but we are looking at possibly meeting at a member’s home and reviewing a handful of tunes chosen from the massive repertoire. The tunes would be announced ahead of time so attendees would have time to review the music before the date of the gathering. We would probably request for all involved to come up with a list of tunes they want to learn and then 5 or 6 would be chosen for each event. The hope would be to review and play the tune enough times that a participant would come away knowing the tunes well enough to play at any jam session.

Might you be interested in such a gathering? Please let us know;  you could even add it to the “Other” section at the bottom of the survey. Think about it:  a relaxed, no pressure, no judgement gathering where we can just share old time music!


Winter a Hazard for Instruments

Contributed by Kathy Schwar 

Originally published in the December 2018 Fiddletter, information that bears repeating as we find ourselves firmly in the hand of winter’s chilly grip and our heated, drier homes.

I recently attended a workshop on caring for musical instruments during Rochester area winters. While much of the information may be common sense to some people, I found it really helpful for protecting instruments. As they say, “Instruments still think they’re trees,” though they are not, so they need special care in maintaining the wood and lacquer. Plus, the effects of the cold can affect the sound.

Stutzman_Logo_NewDave Stutzman, of Stutzman’s Guitar Center, was the workshop speaker and this information is intended as a summary of “need to know” points:

  • In winter, it’s all about maintaining humidity to prevent cracking. While every instrument will not crack, it is hard to say which will and which won’t. But Stutzman knows that harsh winters will bring so many panicked musicians in for repairs that he has had to turn some away.
  • Keep instruments out of the cold as much as possible. But if they’ve been subjected to it for some time, let them acclimate, best for a few hours in their cases when they get home; don’t immediately open the case. He has actually seen that cause instantaneous cracking of the finish.
  • An easy rule of thumb is that when you turn your furnace on for the season, startViolin into the ice.

    humidifying your instrument(s). When you turn it off in late spring, humidifiers aren’t necessary.

  • Keep your instruments in their cases, not on a stand, with a humidifier. This keeps the humidity there and also helps humidify the neck.
  • If you use a console home humidifier know that the gauge on the machine may not be accurate. A digital hygrometer, bought from places that sell indoor-outdoor thermometers, more accurately tells you the humidity. You want to keep indoor humidity at 45 to 55%.  Keep all your instruments in one room if you can. In winter the basement would naturally be more humid than upstairs, but don’t leave instruments there in summer.
  • Some humidifier choices are the Dampit-type humidifier–easy to use but follow directions on the package. Also, hold it by both ends when shaking it out. MusicNomad’s The Humitar and similar options are available. If you fill the devices once a week routinely you’ll be reasonably sure there’s enough moisture. Even twice a week when temperatures plummet. Careful you don’t let them drip.
  • In summer, by the way, keep instruments out of a hot car or loosen the strings. When outside keep them in the shade with the case cracked open. But overall, Stutzman said, instruments subjected to cold “lose more moisture than they gain” in heat.



Let’s Jam!

FOG jams will be held at the Fairport/ Perinton VFW on Rt. 31F, from 7:00-9:00, each Friday in January. Come join us!




December 2019 Fiddletter

Snowman Fiddle Player

President’s Remarks

Contributed by Tom Bailey

First off, I hope you had a great Thanksgiving, spending time with family and friends. As we enter December, let us all remember that the focus this time of year should be sharing time with our loved ones and friends. If you have time, remember those who might not have all that we enjoy. A kind word or even giving of a small portion of your time helping others can mean more to them than you can imagine. We all have a special gift — the ability to play music, uplifting music. Find time to share it with others during this Season.

By now, most of you are aware we have a year-end business meeting coming up this Friday, December 6 starting at 7:00 pm. This is the time to vote on your Board of Directors for 2020. We will discuss some ideas the Board has for next year as well. We would like to get your input on things like slow jams, COPs gigs, possible workshops. Please try to join in at the VFW. Then on the 13th, we have a Holiday Jam set up by Jane and Kathy. Elsewhere in this newsletter there is a flyer that Jane has put together. It should have all the info you are looking for on the Jam. This event will be at the American Legion in Penfield. Again, we will start around 7 pm.

One project the Board wants to try again is something we talked about a year ago, which is adding a section on the FOG website listing stringed instrument teachers within our area. Several members are taking up new instruments and it would be great if FOG could help them find the right teachers. Teachers do not have to be FOG members. We have the names of some FOG members who offer lessons, but we need your help by your recommending teachers for the listing. If you would rather not have FOG contact the teachers, please ask them contact Mike Deniz or myself. We would need their name, contact info, instruments taught and what levels they teach. If you have contacts at one of the local schools, please pass this on to be included in the list. We would like to include teachers for every stringed instrument played by FOG members at the jam sessions. The goal is to have this information on the website by February 1, so please submit teacher info during January.

I know I keep repeating this in almost every newsletter, but I have to say it again one last time. The members who have come out and played at gigs this year have out-played themselves. You have been so entertaining and you all have been willing to share time after the gigs to talk to the audiences. It might seem minor to you but it means so much to the audiences. Because of you, we keep getting asked to come back to entertain again. One place we thought we really blew it — the Macedon Public Library — has already booked FOG for next June! So, even when we think we play poorly, just remember that the audience is still enjoying being entertained by live musicians. Sounds crazy, but I have been told that simply watching players who look like they are having a good time is very uplifting to the audience.

And thank you to the new members who joined up this year; that means so much to keeping this fiddle club moving forward. Please feel free to contact a Board member and pass on any suggestions you may have to help the organization.

I really look forward to seeing you soon at the jam sessions.

Until then … Play Nice!



 by John Piper

Just after Thanksgiving, as I started my music lesson, my teacher commented that the winter recital was coming up soon.

ViolinmanExactly!  That’s what I was thinking too.  Wasn’t she there at the last recital when my Amazing Grace performance went off the tracks, over the embankment, down the chasm and into the raging river before catching fire and exploding to the point where even Hollywood special effects people were going, “Woah, that’s a little too much”?

Was this a reflex thing such as, “The recital is coming, and I must tell all my students”?  Like whacking your knee with a hammer and your foot jerks or say when you throw a music critic, who negatively commented on your Amazing Grace performance, off a chasm overlooking an exploding train wreck, and they instinctually scream?

Then again, it could be that amnesia thing coaches have where they yell at us to forget the last play and to just concentrate on the next one, even though they’re pacing up and down the sidelines muttering to themselves that they hope we won’t mess up like last time.

As it turns out, I think it was a reflex phenomenon.  When she said we have a winter recital coming and I responded that I would be interested in performing another solo piece, she developed this massive facial tic.  Even more confirmation that it was a reflex thing, as the recital date drew near, and it became apparent that I wouldn’t be ready (what a surprise there) she miraculously healed.

Since I was only doing the group play now and to change things up (not that I’m superstitious, but the previous preperformance routine was not working), I purposely didn’t practice after work before heading over to the nursing home.  Better to be surprised at how I would do during the performance.  I got there just in time as my teacher was tuning all the violins.  That’s right, ALL THE VIOLINS, not just for those of us who are special.  Hard to believe, but you tune the violin to the piano, which happened to be slightly out of tune.  Who knew?  I did know that in an orchestra the entire violin section tunes to the guy who sits closest to the conductor.  We know who that guy is.  He stayed after school and kissed up to the teacher and now he’s doing the same thing with the orchestra conductor.  He has no friends.  As it turns out I was standing behind the adorable little dark haired girl and thinking I am so glad I don’t play right after her when I noticed her teeny tiny violin only had three strings.  As it turns out one of her strings broke, but her song only uses the remaining three strings.  It was an A-HA moment.  A-HA as in what a revelation, not A-HA the Norwegian singing trio who had the hit Take on Me.  And whatever happened to them?  Great song.  Kind of a strange music video.  But they had such potential and then like most one-hit wonders just disappeared.  Kind of like people having a cringeworthy Amazing Grace meltdown.  Or rather hoped they would disappear, but instead have become a historical reference as, for example, survivors of Chernobyl are still saying, well it could have been worse we could have had an Amazing Grace meltdown.

But getting back to the A-HA moment.  Why didn’t I know about this for the last recital?  Amazing Grace is played on only two strings.  While I may be the idiot part of idiot savant when it comes to music, I’m a savant when it comes to math.  I played on the wrong strings in the previous fiasco but I had four strings.  That means I had only a one out of sixteen chances of having my fingers, the bow and the music all on the correct string at the same time.  Okay, okay, technically you should be there anyway but stay with the math here.  If I only had two strings, imagine just two strings, then the odds would have been one out of four to get the planets aligned, as five of the planets did back in 2005 causing the end of the world as we know it.  So, the Disaster at the Mass-er in the church wasn’t my fault.  I had too many strings.

Once the violins were all tuned, we gathered to rehearse for the group play. The first song was My Country ‘Tis of Thee.  I’m way in the back next to David, the only other adult playing in the recital.  I use David as my metronome since I can’t count music, but he can.  David is an anesthesiologist and he took college classes in counting.  “Now count backwards from one hundred.  One hundred, ninety-nine, ninety-eight, lights out.”  It’s not that impressive and who’s smarter, the guy that spent all that money going to medical school to learn how to count or the engineer that is copying off him?  Following David’s lead, I nailed this song.  We followed this with Twinkle, Twinkle.  I was a little flat in a couple of places but I still mark it as an A minus.  This was followed by some song that sounded like Patty Cake.  All I had to do was play the same string as a drumbeat.  No moving fingers, just the bow.  I am so all over this.  I am rocking.  The kids went to sit with their families up close as I moved to the back of the room near the exit.  Technically I still wasn’t committed to performing and I wanted to keep my options open.  The nurses were bringing in the residents and by seven pm there were eighty-three and a half people if you count the one nurse coming in and out, all breathing my air.

We, of course, start with the adorable little dark haired girl who only gets more adorable,pngtree-cartoon-cute-girl-playing-violin-element-instrumentbowreddesign-element-png-image_4037099 if that’s possible.  The little cheat with only three strings.  Cheat in the fact she thought of it before I did.

This is followed by a little boy in a white shirt and what had to have been his dad’s tie going down past his waist.  I could have shown him how to tie a Windsor knot, which looks terrific and uses up more tie, but then he wouldn’t have had room for the violin under his chin.  And WHY didn’t anyone tell me about the violin when I was his age?  The students are 90% pretty girls.  And they have ponytails!  In junior high it doesn’t get any better than that.  These are the good girls who hold their books across their chests and have permission to read books in the restricted area of the library.  And playing the violin gives you a strong chin.  Girls like guys with strong chins unlike Mitch McConnell, who obviously never played the violin, hence has no chin and went into politics instead.

A guy who plays the violin shows he’s sensitive.  Years later put a plant on your desk.  Plants shows you are the nurturing type.  I read that in a magazine at the barber shop years ago.  Get a cactus, it’s a plant and no one can kill a cactus.  Okay you killed the cactus.  Get another one, they all look the same.  You want to appear to be the nurturing type; no one said you had to be the nurturing type.  Now when the office cutie walks by, she’ll comment on the plant and that’s when you lean back and say, I also play the violin.  She will fall in love with you right there.  And on the way home she’ll pick up wedding announcements.  But that’s not the best part.  The best part is your first weekend together; she’s going to open the door wearing a ponytail because she’s always felt it doesn’t look professional for work and it’s all for you because you take violin lessons.  Don’t worry that you play poorly because the first three years of marriage anything you do is cute, and they even believe you when that awful smell arises and you say it’s the dog and you don’t even own a dog.

Even if you’ve been married awhile it’s still not too late to learn how to play the violin.  When I told my wife a few years ago that I wanted to play the violin, she developed this terrible facial tic.  Fortunately, it immediately went away when she said I could practice in the basement.  The cold, dark, unfinished, unheated, one swinging sixty-watt light bulb basement.  But I am allowed to move upstairs as soon as I can play a song, any song, perfectly, twice in a row.  #@%$^&ing Amazing Grace.

As each additional child got up to perform, all I could do was think of the W.C. Fields comment about never wanting to perform after children or animal acts.  I should thank my lucky stars that none of the children brought their dogs.

Soon it was my teacher’s younger daughter’s turn to play.  When I perform, I like to have my violin tucked under my chin and my bow on the strings thirty minutes before the piano accompanist shows up to the building.  Here the pianist is playing the intro and she’s casually flipping her hair back.  Now she’s looking around the room.  Straightening her dress.  Pulling out her phone to check emails.  The music is building and she’s staring off into space.  Finally the music hits a crescendo (one of those musical terms that, hard to believe, I am actually learning) when I just noticed the pianist has started playing the theme music to the movie Jaws and as I start to leap up to scream, “THE PIANO IS RIGHT BEHIND YOU,” she casually picks up her violin and starts playing.

Not my fault.  Not my fault.  The nurse came back into the room making eighty-four people breathing my air and I was momentarily hallucinating.  Even the piano stopped looking like a shark.  Recitals.  Thank goodness they’re only twice a year.

David gets up next and plays a piece from Vivaldi’s Four Seasons.  I will be playing Twinkle-Twinkle.  What was I thinking when I agreed to perform again?  The only thing keeping me here is knowing that bad decisions make good stories and I am waiting to see how this one turns out.

We now have reached the last soloist, my teacher’s older daughter.  She’s playing something that has six movements and each movement requires a completely different bowing technique.  Personally, I have done six different bowing techniques on a single bowing mainly because I can’t keep one bowing for a complete note.  So yes, this is a very challenging task and of course it was exceptionally performed.  She’ll be going to college soon, so technically I can say I’m not directly following a children’s performance and she left her dog at home.

Finally, it is time for the group play.  I didn’t stride to the front as per my last recital, but I did make it there without any major incidences.  First goal achieved.  We started off with My Country ‘Tis of Thee and I immediately went off the reservation as they say.  I was on the wrong strings … again.  But the difference this time is I have been here before, repeatedly it seems.  I actually smiled and corrected within two measures while nodding my head to the right giving the subliminal message that it was David who messed up.  We followed this with Twinkle-Twinkle and I crushed it.  Okay, it’s a kid’s song and easy to play but we take our victories when we get them.  If I could play it twice, correctly, I could get out of the basement.  We finished up with Pat-a-Pan and while not knowing what it was supposed to sound like, I assumed I did it correctly.  Not bad, two out of three.

With the recital over, I strode to the back of the room and started putting my violin away when I felt something grip my elbow.  I turned my head and there was a woman who at one time must have been four feet tall before she started shrinking with age.  She looked up at me — she was going to look up at everyone — and said, “You were wonderful.”  I’m thinking that this far back she didn’t even see me, but politely responded that it was a group play and everyone played well.  She kept looking at me and said, no, you played wonderfully.  This is exactly what is wrong with the world.  We need to fix this immediately, as all our bless-his-heart-grandmothers are in nursing homes and not at churches where they belong.

“You played wonderfully”!  For a moment I felt the wind billowing my cape as I stared into the dying sunset, one foot on the chasm overlooking the smoldering train wreck below me before being rudely jerked back to reality by the sound of a music critic hitting the ground like a bag of wet cement.  I’ve got your Amazing Grace.  Bring on the next recital.


!!! REMINDER !!!

Annual Business Meeting, Slate of Candidates for 2020

The annual business meeting will be held this coming Friday, December 6.  The meeting will begin at 7 pm, or as soon as we have a quorum.  Members are encouraged to attend and to bring up any issues they have.  After addressing all of the agenda items, we will hold this year’s elections for the open posts on the FOG Board of Directors.  A regular fiddle music jam session will begin immediately following the meeting.

Various members of the Fiddlers of the Genesee BOD of 2019 have identified the following people who have stepped forward to serve on the 2020 BOD. We appreciate all who considered accepting positions as well as those who offered to serve in other, non-BOD capacities. The slate of candidates is presented below:

President: Tom Bailey

Vice President: Kathy Schwar

Secretary: Jane Reetz

Treasurer: Bill Kraft

Director-at-Large #1: Elaine Chandler

Director-at-Large #2: Greg Roat

Director-at-Large #3: ?????       (This will be for the remaining one-year term to replace Bill Kraft, who will run for the Treasurer position.)

Each of the five Director-at-Large (DAL) serves two-year terms. The two other DAL positions are currently filled by incumbents who will be serving their second years in 2020. They are B.J. Cunningham and Pat Fink.

If any FOG member would like to still be considered, please contact any BOD member. A Board vacancy may occur during the year and knowing which members have an interest in serving on the board will make it easier to fill such a vacancy quickly. Further, if a member cannot make a one year or two year commitment required of those who sit on the FOG Board of Directors and would like to help out in some other way, they should contact any of the current board members or consider one of the Critical Function Leader positions.



Holiday Jam

The Show for Joe

Musicians by the score, from around the country and as far away as Ireland, gathered at Hochstein School on November 16 for The Show for Joe, an evening of music and memories in honor of Joe Dady. Joe, who with his brother John entertained for well over 40 years as The Dady Brothers, passed away in May at the age of 61, after battling a rare form of leukemia. Proceeds from ticket sales will go to a scholarship fund established in Joe’s name at Hochstein.


Fall Fiddlin’

Fiddlers and skeletons
Proving you’re never too young — or old! — to play a musical instrument. Many thanks to Tom Bailey for contributing this wonderful photo of his creative and musical neighbors. 



Let’s Jam!

All Friday evening jam sessions for December will be held at the Penfield American Legion. Won’t you come join us?

November 2019 Fiddletter

5710735 - violin and vegetables as thanksgiving day decoration

President’s Remarks

Contributed by Tom Bailey

Terry Baucom’s bluegrass tune Around the Corner contains some great and very fitting lyrics: “You never know what’s waiting ‘round the corner.”  Please take a few minutes to listen to it on YouTube. It seems like that should have been FOG’s theme song for this

FOG Large Group BVT
FOG members entertained at Bristol Valley Theater on October 13.

year. I have decided it will be mine! How many times did we have things planned out (set lists, gigs, meetings) and then something happened that wasn’t expected? The good thing is we made it through all the trials and tribulations very well.  On behalf of the Board, I want to thank you all for supporting FOG and what it stands for.

We’ve made it through the gigs for the year, and I think everyone who was at the Bristol  Valley Theater gig would consider it to be one of the best FOG performances in memory. There was great response from the audience, which Mike has included on the website. Now it’s time to enjoy autumn and the upcoming holiday season. What if we start a new tradition for FOG and have a holiday music jam? That has been a big no-no in the past, but we seem to have broken several of those unwritten rules this year, so …?

The Board is looking at breaking some other standing “rules” that have been followed in the past. One we are looking at is making jams for jamming, instead of spending so much time preparing for gigs. If folks come to a jam expecting to play, but we spend all the time rehearsing for a gig, they are disappointed if they aren’t going to the gig. The Board is still working on the gig preparation details. The set lists, with alternate tunes, for the COPS gigs will be out in early November. So there will be plenty of time to start learning the tunes. The Board is looking at making slow jams a worthwhile time for folks, whether a FOG newcomer or someone who is working on a tune and needs to play it with others, but slowly. Maybe one of the directors could be a slow-jam coordinator? The Board is considering organizational “jobs” for the directors-at-large so the Board can better serve FOG members. Pipe dream? Maybe so, but “you never know what’s waiting ‘round the corner”!

This is the time of year the Board looks for folks to join in the fun activities as others rotate off the present Board. There is a listing in this newsletter for positions where help is needed. What we really need is a fiddler to join the board. When Ray stepped down

Female Fiddler
FOG is seeking additional fiddlers for its membership, for COPS gigs, and to join the Board.

during the year, the Board became fiddler-less. The Board of a fiddle club with no fiddler? Is there not one fiddler who wants to keep the Board from being taken over by mandolins? Is this on the edge of blasphemy? Think about it – please – we need your help.

Also mentioned in this newsletter are two upcoming business meetings. The first is in December, when nominations are taken from the floor in addition to the proposed slate of officers, and then members will vote. There will also be an informational session. The next business meeting will be held in the spring. This will be a financial meeting to inform members of the year-end financial status of FOG, as well as taking care of some audit procedures.

See ya’ at the jams!

Until then … Play Nice!

Notice of 2019 Annual Business Meeting

Slate of Candidates for 2020

Contributed by Jane Reetz, Secretary

The annual business meeting will be held on Friday, December 6th. (Editor’s note: For your review, minutes of the 2018 Annual Meeting follow this notice.)  The meeting will begin at 7 pm, or as soon as we have a quorum.  Members are encouraged to attend and to bring up any issues they have.  After addressing all of the agenda items, we will hold this year’s elections for the open posts on the FOG Board of Directors.  A regular fiddle music jam session will begin immediately following the meeting.

Various members of the Fiddlers of the Genesee BOD of 2019 have identified the following people who have stepped forward to serve on the 2020 BOD. We appreciate all who considered accepting positions as well as those who offered to serve in other, non-BOD capacities. The slate of candidates is presented below:

President: Tom Bailey

Vice President: Kathy Schwar

Secretary: Jane Reetz

Treasurer: Bill Kraft

Director-at-Large #1: Elaine Chandler

Director-at-Large #2: Greg Roat

Director-at-Large #3: ?????       (This will be for the remaining one-year term to replace Bill Kraft who will run for the Treasurer position.)

Each of the five Director-at-Large (DAL) serves two-year terms.

The two other DAL positions are currently filled by incumbents who will be serving their second years in 2020. They are B.J. Cunningham and Pat Fink.

If any FOG member would like to still be considered, please contact any BOD member. A Board vacancy may occur during the year and knowing which members have an interest in serving on the board will make it easier to fill such a vacancy quickly. Further, if a member cannot make a one year or two year commitment required of those who sit on the FOG Board of Directors and would like to help out in some other way, they should contact any of the current board members or consider one of the Critical Function Leader positions.

Minutes of 2018 Annual Meeting

Fiddlers of the Genesee

DRAFT       –        Annual Business Meeting Minutes      –        DRAFT


Fairport-Perinton VFW

The meeting was called to order at 7:00 PM with 12 members present. President, Tom Bailey read the FOG Mission Statement.

Minutes of the Previous Meeting: Jane Reetz reported that a copy of the draft minutes from the 12/8/17 Annual Business Meeting had been published in the November Fiddletter. The minutes were approved unanimously. (BH/GR)

Treasurer’s Report: Greg Roat presented the treasurer’s report for the eight months January 1 – November 30, 2018.  Cash assets – Ending Balance 11/30/18 – $9695.44  The inventory has been devaluated.  Some items had been sold at a reduced cost because of condition, some unusable items were disposed of and some items are being stored by Mica Schmidt.  Tax returns are still being filed.  Membership renewals are due; after March, the website password will be changed and the “members only” section will no longer be available to members who have not renewed.  The report was approved unanimously. (BH/JR)

Membership Report – Mike Deniz reported that there are currently 108 active memberships.  20 memberships did not renew for 2018.  A survey from non-renewing members showed 50/50 that the reasons for non-renewals were conflicts with schedules and distance to jams and new members were unable to keep up with the tempo of the music.  The board has approved a change in the policy of “slow jams.”  Instead of a one-hour slow jam two times/month, a 30-minute slower tempo start will begin the session every week as determined by those in attendance.  This will afford members the opportunity to request tunes at a slower tempo.

Annual Election for 2019:  Jane read the Slate of Candidates that had been presented in an email blast to the membership as follows:  President-Tom Bailey, VP-Kathy Schwar, Treasurer-Greg Roat, and Secretary-Jane Reetz.  Directors-At-Large 2019/20: #1-Ray Eddington – serving remaining one year of term; #2-Elaine Chandler – serving remaining one year of term.  #3 – Pat Fink – returning for another two-year term; #4 – B.J. Cunningham – new two-year term; #5 – Bill Kraft – new two-year term. There being no other nominations from the floor, a motion was made to accept the slate. (BH/GR)  The 2018 FOG secretary, Jane Reetz, cast one vote on behalf of the membership and the slate was elected.

Music Committee Report:  Deb Abell distributed copies of the repertoire so that members could give their input on which six tunes they would like to see retired from the list.  Core Tunes and recently introduced tunes cannot be voted off.  The music committee will make the final decision on removing tunes and updating the list.  Anyone can forward a suggestion for a new tune or “tune fixes” to the Music Committee.  “Tune fixes” may include intros and harmonies.  It was suggested to slow down the introduction of new tunes to four new tunes/year.  Also send suggestions to the Music Committee for additional tunes to add to the “Core List.”  Work still needs to be done on the “Erie Canal” song.

Old Business: None

New Business

  • Membership Coordinator – A replacement for Mike needs to be found. It might be helpful to divide this position into a “membership committee” consisting of three parts:
  1. A Follow-Up Person – Get in touch with members who have stopped coming to jams – possibly due to illness (themselves or family members). B.J. Cunningham volunteered to head this up.
  2. E-blast Contact Person – Take on the task of sending out e-blasts to the membership as requested by the President.
  3. Member Information Database – Take charge of maintaining the database containing all the membership information
  • New Website/Newsletter/Facebook –

Website (Mike Deniz) – Our current website is outdated.  An updated website would have the capability to contain links to other areas including recordings, videos and photos.  This would take it in a new direction.  Mike is currently working with the basic application of “WordPress” which is free.  The BOD approved an upgraded version would greatly enhance the capabilities available.  Plans are to run the old and new websites simultaneously to eliminate any problems before deleting the old website.  Fiddletter (Susan Cady-White) – Susan has taken over as editor of the Fiddletter.  This is also being done in “WordPress” and will tie in with the new website.

Facebook (Deb Abell) – Send any information you would like to see included on the FOG Facebook page to Deb.  This can also be linked to the new website.  More social media might eventually result in more paying gigs for FOG!

  • Advertise need for more Fiddlers –

We need to get the word out that we need more fiddlers.  Social media will be used to spread the message.  A suggestion was also made to run an ad in the Pennysaver to come play music with us.

  • Tunes at jams –

The board would like to see more time spent on the core tunes as well as the news tunes that have been recently introduced by the music committee.  This will give all of us (old and new members) the opportunity to go over tunes that are not played that often.

  • COP gigs –

Tom is currently taking requests for COPs. There will be one in January, two in February and March and one in April.  Last year we had to cancel because of a lack of fiddlers – we need to bring more fiddlers into the club.

  • More new CD’s –

An order for an additional 100 CDs has recently been placed.  The board made a decision to spend $200 on fixing the variations in the level of the sound on the CD.  This was due to the original recordings being done in four different locations.  A profit will still be made on each CD.  The shipment should arrive before Christmas.  Plans are to advertise FOG in the following ways:   placing copies of the CDs in local libraries; selling them on the “local musicians” rack at Bernunzio’s Music; and sending copies to local radio stations for program usage.

  • Spring “picnic” –

Tom asked if members were interested in having a spring picnic similar to the one held in November.  It would take place before or after the Easter break.  The members were in agreement.  Tom will look into renting a facility.


There being no further business, the meeting was officially adjourned at 8:10 PM. (BH/GR)

Respectfully submitted,

Jane Reetz, Secretary


Duties of Club Officers, Directors-at-Large

and Critical Function Leaders for 2020

Club Officers


  • The president shall preside at meetings of the membership.
  • The president shall be the chairman of the board of directors and as such shall preside at meetings of the board, and shall perform such other duties as the board shall from time to time determine.
  • The president shall have general and active management of the corporation, and shall see that orders and resolutions of the board are carried into effect.
  • The president shall execute contracts requiring affixing of the seal of the corporation, except where the signing and execution thereof shall be expressly delegated by the board of directors to some other officer or agent of the corporation.
  • The President shall listen to the opinions and concerns of the membership and bring those viewpoints to the Board meetings.
  • The President’s term is for one year.


  • The vice-president shall, in the absence or disability of the president, perform the duties and exercise the powers of the president, and shall perform such other duties as the board of directors shall prescribe.
  • The Vice-President shall listen to the opinions and concerns of the membership and bring those viewpoints to the Board meetings.
  • The Vice-President’s term is for one year.


  • The secretary shall attend all meetings of the corporation and record all votes and the minutes of all proceedings in a book to be kept for that purpose and shall perform like duties for the standing committees when required.
  • The secretary shall give, or cause to be given, notice of all meetings of the corporation, and shall perform such other duties as may be prescribed by the board of directors or president.
  • The secretary shall read the minutes of previous meetings at all formal corporation meetings, process all corporation membership registrations, maintain the list of corporate members, and maintain the list of agents appointed by the board.
  • The Secretary shall listen to the opinions and concerns of the membership and bring those viewpoints to the Board meetings.
  • The Secretary shall maintain a record of FOG policies incorporating any policy changes or additions decided by the board.
  • The Secretary’s term is for one year.


  • The treasurer shall have the custody of the corporate funds and securities and shall keep full and accurate accounts of receipts and disbursements in books belonging to the corporation and shall deposit all monies and other valuable effects in the name and to the credit of the corporation in such depositories as may be designated by the board of directors.
  • The treasurer shall disburse the funds of the corporation as may be ordered by the board, taking proper vouchers for such disbursements, and shall render to the president and directors, at the regular meetings of the board or whenever they may require it, an account of all his or her transactions as treasurer and of the financial condition of the corporation.
  • The treasurer shall be responsible for the prompt preparation and submission of all financial forms required by governmental agencies.
  • The Treasurer will maintain an official list of FOG assets.
  • The Treasurer will prepare an annual report.
  • The Treasurer’s term is for one year.


  • Listen to the opinions and concerns of the membership and bring those viewpoints to the Board meetings.
  • Serve in one of the positions listed under Critical Function Leaders listed below.
  • Assist any officer, or fill in for an absent officer such as collecting jam donations and obtaining receipt for same.
  • The Director-at-Large term is for two years.

 Critical Function Leaders

In addition to FOG Board Officers and Directors-at-Large (9), many other individuals provide leadership to a number of critical functions and activities that keep the organization productively and efficiently humming along. Some members have volunteered for the positions; their names are listed below. The Critical Function areas are:

Newsletter Editor:  Susan Cady-White

  • Obtain information from members to include in the monthly “Fiddletter”
  • Edit the information and produce the newsletter with the software package
  • Deliver the final document to the Membership Chairman and Communication Coordinator for distribution to the membership

Website Manager:  Mike Deniz

  • Update the Website as needed to include recent events, new tunes, event schedule, newsletter, etc.

 Gig Coordinator:  Tom Bailey

  • Once the date and location of the gig is set, produce a set list for the members
  • Contact the venue for information on audience size, warm-up space, case storage, etc.
  • Publicize the event in the newsletter
  • Have members sign up form for gig
  • Distribute directions to venue to members
  • Communicate with Sound System Coordinator as necessary

Gig Contact:  Denny Brunner and Tom Bailey

  • Contact venues for possible gig sites
  • Coordinate dates, venues and contacts with Board of Directors

Jam Site Procurer:  Kathie Brunner

  • Set up jam locations and update Fiddle Fone recording

Slow Jam Coordinator:

  • Devise new ideas for an established Slow Jam and present to the Board for approval
  • Set up jam leaders
  • Distribute information on Slow-Jam to members through Communication Coordinator (e-blast)
  • Assist in running a jam as necessary
  • The Coordinator can be a general member of FOG; Board membership is not required

Jam Coordinator:

  • Set up jam leaders
  • Ensure info to be distributed to members is available (e.g. new music, set lists, sign-up sheets)
  • Have “visitor” music binder available at jam
  • Assist in running a jam as necessary
  • The Coordinator can be a general member of FOG; Board membership is not required

 Sound System Coordinator:

  • Know available equipment and how to set it up
  • Communicate with Gig Coordinator for gig venues
  • Determine system requirements for gigs based on venue size and number of players
  • Set up system at gig venues – enlist assistance as needed
  • The Coordinator can be a general member of FOG; Board membership is not required

 Membership Coordinator:  Teresa Gianni

  • Receive new or renewal membership information from the Treasurer;
  • Add or update member information in an Excel spreadsheet (roster);
  • Add or update member information in an e-mail distribution list and send to Communication Coordinator
  • Inform the Newsletter Editor of members who do not have e-mail;
  • Send monthly “Fiddletter” and associated files via e-mail to the Communication Coordinator.
  • Send an edited membership roster via e-mail to all members once/year
  • The Coordinator can be a general member of FOG; Board membership is not required

 Communication Coordinator:

  • Send info from the FOG Board to the general membership via e-mail (e-blast).
  • Distribute monthly “Fiddletter” by email (e-blast).
  • The Coordinator can be a general member of FOG; Board membership is not required

 Music Committee:

  • Maintain tunes in FOG repertoire – review for corrective updates
  • Distribute tune revisions as developed by the committee
  • Introduce new tunes on a committee determined basis
  • Distribute new tunes as adopted by the committee
  • Review repertoire at end of year to determine if any tunes should be removed
  • Review FOG “Core Tunes” list to determine if new tunes should be added
  • The Committee can be a general members of FOG; Board membership is not required

Let’s Jam!


November 1, 15, 29 jams will be held at Fairport/ Perinton VFW

November 8, 22 jams will be held at Penfield American Legion

Happy Thanksgiving

October 2019 Fiddletter

President’s Remarks

Contributed by Tom Bailey

Autumn sounds
Impressionism. Painting of violin in autumn forest

Well, it has been a good year with a lot of musical accomplishments along the way. And now we are down to our last gig with Bristol Valley Theatre coming up on October 13. cropped-BVT-sign-2019-1.jpgWord has it that the stage is in better shape for our playing than it was last year. The only issue to resolve is the sound system; we were going to use their in-house guy but his system is not large enough for FOG. And the FOG equipment won’t begin to fill that theatre with sound. So, we are looking at alternatives.  By now you should have received the set lists for the two 1-hour sets. A few of the tunes have some different arrangements but there shouldn’t be a problem. Please let us know Friday if you plan to join in at Bristol. We have to know by Friday who will be playing so we can figure out the set-up, where everyone will stand on stage. Being almost a home for Bill, he will be MC at Bristol again. Thanks Bill! Please come to the jam this Friday as we start preparing for the Theatre.

ClappingHandsMike has been doing a great job with the website. If you haven’t visited lately, Mike has posted photos and some recordings from most of our gigs, as well as photos from our community activities. We have been receiving a lot of great comments on the new website. Please see Mike’s website updates in this newsletter. Mike, we can’t thank you enough for your time and commitment to FOG.

imagesHave you been watching Ken Burns’ documentary, Country Music? It’s been a great look at the music of this genre, starting with original old-time fiddle music in the late1800’s, its origins and how music was used to help families make it through the hardships of their days. It’s very interesting that as some music becomes more commercial, there is always a new group of musicians who discover fiddle music and re-energize the playing and recognition of that music.  Great stuff.

It is time to start thinking about the election of Board members again. The slate of nominees must be in place for the November newsletter and then the vote is taken the first Friday in December, at the annual meeting. At the board meeting next Wednesday, we will find out where we will need some new folks. Jane will put the information together and get it to Mike for one of his famous e-blasts. We already know that Greg is moving on to new things next year so FOG really needs a treasurer. Greg has done so much in the last two years to simplify the bookkeeping. It is all in one computer program now compared to the four files that were used before Greg took over. Please think about things you might want from FOG and then consider serving on the Board to help make those things happen. Please consider taking a little bit of time for a worthy cause!

Again, come on out and be part of the most fun gig of the year. Many folks gather together for lunch before we head to the theatre for warming up. It is always a great event! Hope to see ya’ at the jam.

Until next time … Play Nice!

Website Updates and New Features

Contributed by Mike Deniz, Webmaster

The new FOG website has been live and running for about 4 months now on the WordPress platform and web host. As of last month, we officially cancelled our GoDaddy account, the web hosting service of the previous website. We continue to tweak and improve the new site, adding more content and features.  Here are some new features added recently:

FOG Around Town. On our home page now you will find regularly updated posts of FOG’s activities days after they happen, such as Turtle Hill, Palmyra, Mumford, etc. Search engines favor sites with a frequently-updated homepage. All the photos and videos in each post are contributed by members or their families who were in attendance. If you see yourself in a photo or video, feel free to click on the SHARE button and send it to friends and family. Sharing also helps with ranking our site on search engines.

FOG around town 1


Merchandise Page. We don’t have e-commerce yet (it is possible, but baby steps…) but we can still advertise our gear and music for sale. It is also a good way to get people to attend jams and festivals, being the only place to purchase them for now.

Merchandise Page


Set Lists Page. The latest sanctioned set lists for upcoming gigs are now available for viewing and downloading from this page, found on the Members Only submenu.

Set Lists page

I am currently investigating more features for members.  Coming soon (I hope) are:

Member Forum (aka Bulletin Board). Members can post text and upload images. Use it for posing questions, announcements (i.e. instruments for sale), FYI’s, etc.

New Newsletter Publishing Tool. For a couple months we tried distributing the Fiddletter using an e-newsletter tool, but it didn’t quite work as we hoped. I found another new tool that seems to work better. This tool will allow the FOG newsletter editor to automatically publish the Fiddletter to the body of an email and distribute it a member distribution list. Until we are ready with it, we will continue to distribute the Fiddletter as a PDF file attachment to “email blasts”.

I hope by now you noticed that the TUNES library page contains audio tracks to play each tune without needing a midi converter. The downside of this feature is that it takes this one page a longer time to load, because the audio files are large and there are hundreds of them. Please email me at denizamike@gmail.comto let me know if you like these audio tracks or if you just would prefer to download the midi and play it separately because the page is taking too long to load for you.

Lastly, we have some great admin tools that provide useful feedback on the who, when, and what of visitors to our site. Here are some interesting insights so far:

  • Number of unique visitors: 1,031
  • Number of countries represented by visitors: 25
  • Top 5 countries outside USA: Canada, China/Hong Kong, Italy, Russia, Netherlands
  • Day of week and time with most views: Fridays at 2pm
  • Day with the most activity: August 16.

Palmyra 2019
Members of FOG entertained at Palmyra Canaltown Days on September 15.
Vintage Halloween Cat Playing Violin Poster.
Vintage Halloween Cat Playing Violin Poster. Vector Illustration.











President’s Remarks

Contributed by Tom Bailey

Goodbye, August!

It is so hard to believe that a month ago we were welcoming summer and now September is here. August was a good month for FOG. The Genesee Country Village Museum’s Fiddlers Fair on August 17 & 18 was very rewarding, in spite of torrential rain11949892071155302510rain.svg.med that showed up just as things were starting off right on schedule. As always, the jam tent was active and well attended each day, starting before 11:00 and going past 4:00. Thanks to the folks that kept it going all weekend as it is one of the highlights of the event. As always, the sound system in the Exhibition Barn was superb; Bruce always makes everyone sound fantastic whether a duet or a big group, like FOG. FOG sounded great both days; 19 folks played on Saturday and 14 played on Sunday. Thanks to everyone who helped entertain the audiences. And even more thanks to those who helped at the information/sales table. Attendance was down due to rainy weather but there was still a lot of activity at the table. Please make sure you look at the FOG website, as Mike has posted a great photo-spread from the weekend.

Every year FOG has the opportunity to entertain the veterans at the Canandaigua VA Hospital. Did you know it is also a pizza party for the veterans and FOG members? For many this is the highlight of the year, having the opportunity to give back to the veterans who have given so much for us. This year it is on September 5th. The pizza starts at 5:00 and the music will start at 5:30. A map to the location of parking and playing is on the website.

FOG is proud to be one of the sponsors for the Turtle Hill Festival held by Golden Link, Turtle Hill festival logoSeptember 6-8, which is this coming weekend. FOG members can get in for the same cost Golden Link members during the day Saturday and Sunday and the concerts Friday and Saturday nights. Workshops are being presented by the some of the concert musicians, including Jay Ungar and Molly Mason. The schedule includes several fiddle workshops, mandolin, songwriting, making tunes your own and even two banjo workshops! A complete schedule is posted on the Golden Link website.

The other major activity of September is Palmyra Canaltown Days. This year FOG will open up the activities on Sunday, September 15, at noon in thePalmyraCanaltown Town gazebo. For those who have been there before you know about the craft and food vendors. For those who haven’t played there before … well, there are food vendors and craft booths! And the food is good. It is a fun day and the audiences are always very appreciative.

Is there anyone out in member land who wants to help out by volunteering for FOG? We really need someone who likes money, as in counting it. We need a person interested in being treasurer. Greg has let us know that he will not be able to continue as treasurer. He has done a great job simplifying the work of the treasurer by revising the records and reports. On the other side, we get to welcome Teresa Gianni as the new FOG Membership Coordinator. Thank you, Teresa, for giving your time to help keeping FOG going strong. Here’s to a fun September!

Until next time, Play Nice!


Canandaigua VA Gig Info

Contributed by Mike Deniz

The information below is from the gentleman at the VA coordinating the gig on September 5.  We are short players, so please email Tom Bailey at Banjobailey2@gmail.com to let him know if you can attend.

The overhead door at Building #5 should be open for big equipment fiddlers may have, so they can drive through to the pavilion.  Others can park in Building #7 and walk through to the courtyard.

Event Schedule

4:00 VFW arrive, set up food & tables in Pavilion

4:30 Start Transporting the residents

5:00 Pizza arrives & start to serve and Fiddlers of the Genesee arrive, set up

5:30 “Fiddlers of the Genesee” play until 6:30. Here’s the Canandaigua VA Set List , which was updated August 23rd.

7:00 Take residents back to unit and clean- up




A Soggy but Spirited Fiddlers Fair

Contributed by Tom Bailey

What a weekend at the Genesee Country Village and Museum’s Fiddlers Fair held this past Saturday and Sunday. That had to be the worst weather I can remember for this event, as most folks were soaked by continuous rain on Saturday. But the musicians’ and the audience’s spirits were not dampened, judging by the ongoing activities. The jam tent

Rainy weather did not deter folks from coming out to hear FOG members playing at the Genesee Country Village and Museum’s Fiddlers Fair. FOG is an audience favorite!

kept going through the thunder and lighting and the entertainment on the Barn stage was, as usual, superb and well-received by the audience. Folks even made the long walk over to the church in heavy rain to see some really good musicians offering up true old-time entertainment, just like folks would have done decades ago.

Sunday dawned with more rain. But by the time activities got going, all the workers were ready, musicians were ready and the audiences were filling the venues. GCVM did a good job of lining up music groups but – at the risk of being biased — FOG presented the best entertainment of the day, leaving the audience yelling for an encore. Great job! And a big thank you for the hard work. An even bigger thank you to the volunteers who kept the jam tent going in not the best conditions, and those who kept the sales and information table going both days. That really does make a big difference to the audience. The weather kept the attendance down on Saturday, so sales were not that good, but sharing music with the audience makes it all worthwhile. Sunday was much better as the Barn was full again.

Information Desk.jpg
Dedicated volunteers kept the information table going at the recent Fiddlers Fair.

What the planning and hard work is all about was summed up by an older gentleman who came up to me as soon as I got off the stage: “I am from Amherst and I want to tell you, the music I just heard made this trip worthwhile! You all brought JOY to all the folks here, and we could tell the group was having so much fun playing for us”.

What more can one say, isn’t that the reason for what we do?

Fiddles for Sale.jpg
Irene Shusler thought it “would take forever” but she sold seven of her nineteen fiddles at the Fiddlers Fair, fairgoers purchased three more a few days later, and two others were taken to interested FOG members. The remaining seven are for Irene and her grandchildren. Congratulations, Irene!


Northern Neighbors are GCVM and FOG Fans

Contributed by Tom Bailey

 Below are excerpts from a Fiddle and Square Dance newsletter sent by Ralph Price of Ontario, Canada. Ralph and his wife, Sandy, had a great time at the recent GCVM Fiddle Fair and clearly enjoyed their time with FOG.

The highlight of the Summer for Sandy and me was attending the Genesee Country Village Fiddlers Fair. We had been in touch with the organizing people at the Village before we went and arranged for Sandy to do a 30-minute performance of Canadian BarnStageSchedulefiddle tunes on Sunday afternoon in the Exhibition Barn. The organizers had put Sandy in touch with the Fiddlers of the Genesee (FOG), a local fiddle club with about 100 members.  Tom Bailey on guitar and Fred Viera on stand-up bass agreed to back her up. I acted as the MC and told the audience the tune names and who had written them. It went very well! Thanks Tom and Fred.

We spent a fair bit of time talking and jamming with the FOG members, who are really nice people. When FOG was performing in the Exhibition Barn, we made it a point to be there and when they played danceable music, we danced! Nobody else did, but who cares we were the crazy Canadians there for a fun weekend.

On Sunday, Bill Gregg gave a fiddle workshop. We only got to part of it because it overlapped with a FOG performance. Gregg provided an excellent handout sheet on Rhythm, Tone and Heart. Bill gave me permission to include the handout in the bulletin and all you fiddlers take a look at it. There is some good stuff there. Thank you, Bill.

Also on Sunday, I got to call a square dance at the Main Stage. Apparently, most of the callers in that area do singing calls, so I had to instruct everyone on my dance which was a patter call. The dancers had fun and I had fun. That’s what it’s all about.

Sandy and I were impressed with how well the weekend was organized by the Country Village staff and the contribution FOG made to the weekend. Thank you and well done folks. All being well, the Fiddlers Fair will be on our calendar for 2020.


Susan Cady-White, Editor

I agree with Tom: summer has flown by! With June being as cool and rainy as it was, it feels like we were just getting started and now it’s come to an end. That back-to-school smell is in the air! I live in Groveland and the neighboring town of Geneseo undergoes a big transformation each year at this time. The arrival of the college students greatly increases the area population, greatly reduces the number of available parking spaces, alters the shopper demographic and products offered at Wegmans, and in general infuses the area with the great energy youth brings.

How about Irene selling all those fiddles at the Fiddlers Fair? I thought of maybe buying one of the fiddles, as I am interested in adding a fiddle to keep cross-tuned. I haven’t played in cross-tuning yet, but it’s interests me.

Thanks to Tom for providing so much of this month’s Fiddletter content! It’s greatly appreciated. I hope everyone is enjoying the long weekend. See you in October!



B. Gregg Fiddle Handout

Canandaigua VA Set List





President’s Remarks

Contributed by Tom Bailey

Welcome to summer!

Wow, what a busy month it’s been,  but very good for FOG. The Friendly Home gig was very successful, especially in the good will we provided to the residents. So many came up to spend time with us, to talk about the music, their memories and to share their joy in listening to FOG play good ol’ fiddle music. Isn’t that why we share our talents with others?

Macedon Canal 6
Members of the Towpath Fife & Drum Corps at Macedon Library’s Erie Canal Heritage Connection.

Last Saturday FOG was asked to be part of the Macedon Library’s Erie Canal Heritage Connection at Lock 30. We talked before about all the activities – Genesee Country Village Museum presentations, the Towpath Fife and Drum Corps, Wagon Tours, Macedon Historical Society, Rochester English Country Dancers, and more. And the Fiddlers of the Genesee were in the center of all the activities. Yes, it was hot, but we were not as uncomfortable as the folks dressed in period clothes. The heat didn’t really bother us under the big tent — not to mention that Greg brought a box fan — or at least it didn’t show as the members played two great sets. Granted the number of musicians out-numbered the folks in the chairs in front of us sometimes, as it was too hot for folks to sit in the sun. What we didn’t know is there was a whole crowd in the pavilion behind us really getting into the music. After packing up, Julie and I walked over to Lock 30 and got to see three packet boats going through the lock. We also had a great talk with the lock keeper and learned how the lock works and that each gate weighs over 22 tons and is more than 100 years old. Stacey, the event organizer, said FOG was the hit of the event and very important to its success. As soon as FOG finished, all the vendors packed up and left, as the attendees had left. We have already been asked to play next year, probably in September, and we will be the first group asked to make sure we can be there.  Talk about good will – thanks to everyone who came out.

Next up is the Genesee Country Village Museum’s Fiddlers Fair on August 17th& 18th. If you don’t want to be on stage, please help out in one of the other areas. As you know, we have a jam tent going all weekend. But to keep it going, FOG needs some folks to be in the tent playing. We have an information table in the barn to give Fair goers ideas of all the activities going on that weekend. We need some folks to be at the table and sell our hats, visors and CD’s. And we need everyone who can to come out and represent FOG on stage Saturday or Sunday or BOTH! There will be signup sheets at the jam sessions starting this Friday. We have three jams to get ready; come on out and join us!

How many of you are aware of the Turtle Hill Festival sponsored by Golden Link is theTurtle_Hill_logo_Gold_600px first weekend of September? Did you know FOG is one of the major co-sponsors? We will have a full-page ad in the program, the FOG banner on the stage and, for the first time at the festival, a jam tent. FOG members can get in at the discounted Golden Link member ticket rate. Why should you come out? Ever hear of Jay Ungar and Molly Mason? They will be playing a concert on Friday night, giving a fiddle workshop on Saturday and a mando workshop on Sunday. It’s not often that you will have a chance to attend a Jay Ungar workshop and possibly play with Jay and Molly at the jam tent! We will need some folks to help with the jam tent, so come join the festivities!

Jay & Molly
Jay Ungar and Molly Mason

Every now and then something happens that makes you wonder, like when Julie and I were running errands a couple weeks ago and decided to help support a Goodwill store by doing some shopping. I always browse the CD’s, sometimes finding a bluegrass or fiddle tape but this time I came across a CD that said Fort Hill String Band on the end. I pulled it out and, lo and behold, the CD had Irene, Mary and Chuck Dumont, Ralph Minervino and several of the early members of FOG shown as the musicians in this fantastic group. This has been one great CD, with many of the fiddle tunes we play every Friday night. We have been playing this CD ever since I found it. Thank you, Fort Hill String Band, for a wonderful presentation of this music.


Don’t forget to mark the 31stof August on your calendar. The documentary Fiddlin’ will be showing at The Little Theatre, thanks to the efforts of your Board. Showing will be at 3:00 with a chance for folks to play in the Café afterwards.

Until next time, Play Nice!

Macedon Erie Canal Heritage Performance

Contributed by Mike Deniz


Macedon Canal 4

On Saturday July 27, the Macedon Public library sponsored the Erie Canal Heritage Connections celebration at Lock 30 at Macedon Canal Park, a free event with music and fun activities related to life along the canal in the 1800s. Nothing helps set the mood for life in the 19thcentury quite like old-time fiddle music, so FOG was asked to provide musical entertainment by playing two different 45-minute sets in the late morning and early afternoon of that hot, sunny day.

In addition to playing audience favorites like Soldier’s Joy, Swallowtail Jig, Buffalo Gals, and Old Joe Clark, FOG debuted Erie Canal and the E-R-I-E, two new tunes in keeping with day’s theme. Emcee Bill Kenyon punctuated his usual entertaining commentary with interesting facts related to living and working on the Canal.

The highlight of the day was a surprise collab during the last set with drummers in full regalia from the Towpath Volunteers Fife and Drum Corps. They came over to play with FOG on Jefferson & Liberty, Garryowen, Liberty, and Under the Double Eagle– tunes in common between our respective repertoires. It was a fun time and we look forward to future performances hosted by Macedon Public Library.


FOG Tune of the Month

There is no Tune of the Month for August.

FOG Music Update

As voted on at the general meeting in December, there will be no more new tunes for 2019, as it was felt that four new tunes per year are plenty. But if there is a significant fix of a current tune needed, please let Deb know. Deb will be stepping down from providing music for FOG at the end of 2020. She is happy to help train a successor between now and then, so please contact Deb at debabell66@gmail.com if you’re interested.



by Susan Cady-White, Editor

There has been a lot of activity recently for FOG members and a lot more coming in the very near future! That one thing I love about summer, all the opportunity to get outside, see and do. Which can make finding practice time a bit of a challenge, but somehow I manage to fiddle and strum a little bit most days. Fiddling outdoors is one of my favorite things to do once the weather warms. On the more humid days, the bow hair and my own hair swell in unison; I am one with my fiddle. I welcome any and all tips on preventing the left hand from sticking to the fiddle.



Valse du Chef de Gare

Valse du Chef de Gare



President’s Remarks

Contributed by Tom Bailey

fourth of July three starsThanks to every one of you who came out to Make Music Rochester on June 21st. We gathered in the park across the street from Bernunzio’s Uptown Music. We were a small but enthusiastic group, one of over 5100 music sites internationally this year, the largest program ever for the Make Music event. Mark June 21st on your calendar –Summer Solstice — for next year’s event.

On June 21 FOG members celebrated the Summer Solstice and Int’l Make Music day. Mark your calendars to join the fun next year!

We have been talking about the Erie Canal Heritage Connection at Genesee Country Village Museum on July 27th for quite some time now. The purpose of the gathering is to discover and explore life in the 1800’s along the Erie Canal.  The days events will include lifestyle presentations; the Towpath Drum and Bugle Corps; wagon tours; Macedon Historical Society displays; Rochester English Country Dancers performing period dances; Historic Houses; butter making; period food and drink; old fashioned toys; an 1816 museum and … the Fiddlers of the Genesee will be playing twice! It is a real honor for FOG to be included in this event. After the less than acceptable gig at the Library on June 15th, I was almost surprised they would still have FOG participate. We need everyone available to come out and join in. This could be the most important event we have ever played for in recent memory, so we need your help.

After the problems at the Macedon Library gig on the 15th  — an out of tune fiddle, less than enthusiastic starts, and it seemed we could not agree on endings as they were all over the place — we are going to try something different. This is not a change in bylaws, just something we want to try. Anyone wanting to play a gig MUST be signed up two weeks before the scheduled entertainment date. The set list will be determined three weeks before the gig and WILL NOT be changed after the two-week date. We think changing things on the set list the Friday before the event added to a lot of the confusion at the Library; that won’t happen again. Please look at Ron’s workshop write-up in this newsletter. It ends with a list of things to do to make sure one is ready for the gig. We have to take the paying gigs seriously; the folks paying us have a choice of who they want to have come play. Obviously, we would like it to be FOG and we owe it to the folks paying us to play the best we possibly can.

FOG playing at Macedon Library on June 15. All members are encouraged to sign up to play at future gigs.

We are still getting requests to come play this summer, one in July and two in September. I don’t see how FOG can do the July date but we would like to do the September events. We will send out an email blast as soon as the dates are set. Don’t forget the July 20 gig at the Friendly Home. This was a good gig last year and I am sure this year will be the same. We are using the Mumford Set List #1 for both play times at the Friendly Home. By the way, we are still trying to work up Welcome Whiskey Back Again; it has a catchy syncopation that we are stumbling around with. Come on out and help us play it!

One final thought: We had such a good response with selling FOG caps last year that this year we have embroidered denim visors available for purchase.  They turned out very nicely.

Hey Rich! Just to let you know we are thinking you. Hang in there and come join when you can. Or we might have to come join you!

Until next time, Play Nice!

FOG Tune of the Month: Blackberry Blossom (Tune Fix)

Contributed by Deb Abell

Click HERE for Sheet Music

FOG Music Update

As voted on at the general meeting in December, there will be no more new tunes for 2019, as it was felt that four new tunes per year are plenty. But if there is a significant fix of a current tune needed, please let Deb know. Deb will be stepping down from providing music for FOG at the end of 2020. She is happy to help train a successor between now and then, so please contact Deb at debabell66@gmail.com if you’re interested.

Making a Tune Your Own

Contributed by Debbie Baldwin

At Michelle’s recent “Making a Tune Your Own” workshop, I learned steps to take that would allow me to be creative and add my unique style to a tune.

  • Break the tune down to its most simplistic state
  • Then add double-stops from the chords (phrases in the music) to be in the same key
  • Play a variety by playing double-stops at two different octaves
  • Play the song in its simplest form then progress by adding the other ideas and may be even a change in rhythm or emphasis to specific notes using the bow

I look forward to finding my own style and experimenting.  A source that would be Teaching Book Cover smallhelpful to fiddlers would be the book Learn to Fiddle by Hope Grietzer, which is an introduction to basic fiddling techniques using material from Bluegrass, Irish, Scottish, Old-time, and French Canadian styles.  I have attended one of her workshops in the past and I plan to give more attention to her book.  There are two accompanying CD’s, so you can hear what she is explaining, which include some tunes familiar to FOG.  Also, there are numerous practice ideas in the back half of the book: scales and arpeggios in each chord, that explain the notes in the various keys to know what notes a fiddler can harmonize with.  When a chord is written on the page, the fiddler must play two notes that go with what the guitarist is playing. One cannot just select any two notes they think harmonizes.  There are also bowing/shuffle exercises that I need to learn, and dexterity exercises, drone, fourth finger, and dynamic exercises.

I have found that being involved in various musical groups has resulted in an expansion of knowledge, but to improve my playing requires time set aside to learn from a book like this because I have it at hand, can see the notes and read explanations, and hear on the CD what is being taught and refer to it again and again. I highly recommend this book, because I know it will help me.

Mandolin Workshop Summary

contributed by Ron Perry, Certified Wernick Method Teacher

This is a summary of what I covered during the Mandolin Workshop held on June 19. I also added a few “Author’s Notes”.

99009Instrument, Picks and Straps

  • Use a very heavy pick to get the most volume.
  • Your strap controls the angle at which your pick hits the strings.
  • Your forearm should be approximately parallel to the fingerboard to keep the pick parallel to the strings. Your volume is thus maximized.
  • Whether it’s over your shoulder or around your neck, the strap will have an effect on your volume, your pick angle and your comfort
  • Experiment with the length of the strap
  • Dirt and corrosion rob your strings of life!  Wipe down your fingerboard and strings with a rag moistened with WD-40 after you’re done playing, which will keep your strings clean, brightly colored and crisp sounding, free of corrosion caused by sweat.
  • Strings die. Sometimes quickly, sometimes slowly without you noticing. Professionals change strings frequently, sometimes daily. Consider changing your strings as often as every week, but never more than a month, depending on how many hours you’ve played.


  • Rhythm keeps the fiddlers in line. They need all the help they can get…they have a fiddle blasting in one ear. Good strong rhythm should be filling their other ear!  Play loudly!
  • The bass controls the entire ensemble! The bass should be considered to be the common metronome of the players! Listen to it, feel it. Don’t ignore it, and don’t vary from the timing governed by the bass!
  • A mandolin “chop”: Play the bass note loudly and audibly on the downbeat, followed by a muted chord on the backbeat.
  • Whether you play audible chords or chop the chord, use a fluid wrist.
  • When outnumbered by melody-playing fiddles, reinforce the rhythm.
  • When the rhythm instruments outnumber the fiddles, decide whether playing the melody on the mandolin enhances or detracts from the music.
  • Respect the judgment of the Music Director, for the sake of the entire club, especially when rehearsing for performance.

Song Introductions

Strange as it sounds, some players do not realize the kick-off should be played at the same time/meter as the song to be played. (Author’s note: Strange but true…I’ve witnessed this too many times with too many players in too many informal groups, clubs and jams. Messy results!) 

  • All the musicians will gauge their timing by the speed of the kick-off.
  • The Kick-Off should be a minimum of one full measure, two whole measures maximum.
  • Just like a “count-down”, a Walk-Up or Walk-Down establishes the song timing/meter
  • The Walk-up or Walk-down notes lead right into the first chord (Ex: A, B, C# notes up to the “D”-chord)

The mandolin can be used to kick-off the tune with: 99124

  • Saw (imitating a fiddle-saw)
  • Turnaround (last line of the verse or chorus)
  • Must be played very loudly!

Solos or “Breaks”

This is a musical feature based on either the “melody” or the “chorus”. Know your fingerboard so you can improvise!

(Author’s Note: A “solo” is one featured instrument/musician; a “break” can be played by more than one musician simultaneously or shared in segments).

  • The Music Director should be responsible for deciding whether a break should be included, who plays it and for how long.
  • Whether played by one musician or a whole section, the break must be rehearsed!


Any tune can benefit from enhancements played by individual musicians. They are particularly effective when played within a Break/Solo.

Embellishments include:

  • Improvisation
  • Double-Stops
  • Cross-Picking
  • Tremolo
  • Slides (up to or down to the melody note)
  • Run (a portion of a scale ending at a chord)
  • Scales

My boss, Dr. Pete Wernick, the banjo player of the legendary Bluegrass band Hot Rize and creator of the Wernick Method stresses:

“Always be in tune. Be on time. Be on the correct chord. Be ready. Anything less risks a ‘train-wreck’ that can result in catastrophic embarrassment and emotional devastation to all involved.” He goes on, “Be rehearsed but sound spontaneous.”

As an organization with a lengthy reputation for solid, old-time fiddle music, FOG should take his recommendations seriously. We never know who’s listening … could mean our next paying gig!

Playing with Others

Contributed by Jane Reetz

IMG_2133 2
Michelle Younger

Michelle Younger’s Playing with Othersworkshop, held June 22, got off to a rocky start as instructor and attendees gathered on the sidewalk outside a locked storefront at BayTowne Plaza, where the workshop was to be held. After a few phone calls were made, it was decided to relocate the workshop to an empty tent on the BayTowne property, where a farmers market is held each Wednesday and where a Cruise Night takes place each Thursday. Michelle offered the following key points intended to optimize performance when playing in a group.

  • Rhythm is most important – play but also listen!
  • When playing in a performance, listen to the bass.  The bass keeps everyone together.  However, if the group speeds up, you have to keep together  — so the bass will speed up too.
  • Practice slowly using a metronome, which will show your weak spots. Play along with recordings, such as midi files, to help develop rhythm and tempo.
  • When playing in a group, be open to constructive criticism and offer only constructivecriticism.
  • Be self-reflective after a performance.

The Playing with Others workshop was held in a tent on the BayTowne Plaza property.

  • Use eye contact during a performance for communication with your fellow players.
  • Pay attention to cues from fellow players.
  • At jams, if it’s a new tune, listen to it first to determine the key.  Become familiar with guitar chord shapes to help you make chord changes.
  • Don’t expect to play every note.
  • Listen to a lot of a particular type of music to get it in your head.  You will learn starts, breaks, embellishments, endings, etc.


by Susan Cady-White, Editor

Me, Brian Webster and Joe Dady in 2018 at the Fiddlers Picnic held the first Saturday of each August on Conesus Lake. Joe opened the day’s performances with a program that showcased his students playing on stage with him.

As many of you know, Joe Dady passed away on May 18 following a stem cell transplant to treat leukemia that was diagnosed last fall. As the Dady Brothers, Joe and his brother John entertained the Rochester region and beyond for well over 40 years. Joe was my fiddle teacher and he was a dear friend. I was a very green beginner when I started lessons with Joe almost six years ago. Joe thought it very cool and fitting that I became the editor of the Fiddletter, and I know the best way for me to honor his memory is to keep on fiddlin’!



President’s Remarks

Contributed by Tom Bailey

Here’s hoping everyone had an enjoyable Memorial Day weekend. Looks like we have made it to warmer weather but I am seriously looking at waterproof instruments! There are some great sounding fiddles, mandos and guitars out there made of carbon fiber – 100% waterproof! Guess we gotta have something to complain about with the weather …

The first workshop with Ron Perry will have taken place by the time you read this. Based on his lesson plan, it was likely a great one. Eighteen have signed up for the June 8th “Making a Tune Your Own” workshop with Michelle. We are working on a date between the 8th and 22nd for Ron’s second workshop since Ron and Nancy will be out of town for a week beginning the 21st. There are 10 signed up for Ron’s “Starts and Breaks” and at least 12 for Michelle’s “Playing with Others” on the 22nd. It was unfortunate that we had to cancel the Clawhammer workshop, but there were only four confirmed attendees. It wasn’t fair to Michelle, but it would have been a big hit on the FOG coffers to host a workshop with so few attendees. There are now at least nine interested in a Clawhammer workshop, so we are trying to figure out another date for that one. If Michelle isn’t available, there are a couple other really good clawhammer specialists in town. Details should be confirmed soon.

We need you to sign up to play at the Macedon Public Library on June 15th. We played there last year and the audience was great – so appreciative. Please sign up if you are going to be in town. After that we will play two sessions at the Friendly Home on July 20th. These are paying gigs, so it’s a chance to refill our bank account! Please see the other upcoming events on the list included elsewhere in the newsletter.

Want to do something really different for a Monday night? Join us on a Traditional Fiddle Music/Bluegrass Cruise of the Erie Canal on the Colonial Belle out of Fairport on June 17th. We play in Macedon on the 15th and then get together with roughly 60 other folks for a cruise the following Monday. Folks will board the Colonial Belle at 6:30 and leave the dock at 7:00 pm for a 2-hr+ cruise. The Cruisers (not break-neck speed players) will be on the upper deck while the Moonshiners (all out crazy folks) will be in the main cabin. And for those who just want to relax and not worry about playing, PLEASE come on out. Cost is $22, which includes pizza. That’s more fun and less cost than a regular 2-hour cruise! Bernunzio’s sponsors the event, so PLEASE give them a call if you are interested: 585-473-6410. They need a list so they know how much pizza to buy and so names can be checked off at boarding. They don’t want to leave someone standing at the dock!

Please see the summer set lists below. Printable PDF’s of the Set Lists can be found at the end of the newsletter. There are two lists, based on the two days at Mumford. Set List #1 is for Saturday and Set List #2 is for Sunday. There is a slight problem: in the past we have had 45-minute time slots, which was the basis for these set lists. I just found out that this year we have only 30-minute time slots, so we have to remove around 4 tunes from each list. I need to explain the color codes here: Black is obvious; Blue is for the tunes that are on both set lists; the Red at the bottom are some possible tunes to add to the list for one of our normal 1-hour gigs. A new tune has been added, FOG’s Tune of the Month for June, Welcome Whiskey Back Again. There is a new tune we snuck in on everyone. Deb is working out the details but we have included the basic tune in the newsletter. Heads up– we will use Set List #1 for Macedon Library!

Macedon Library

Mumford Set List #1 – Saturday 
Click on image below to download
Mumford Set List #2 – Sunday
Click on image below to download

If you want a chance to get to become better friends with your instrument(s), there are some super workshops coming up that might help. Want to get to know the FOG members a bit better? Join in one of the many scheduled events and gigs. Click here to see the upcoming gigs Fiddlers of the Genesee – gig list 5-25-19

2019 Event Schedule as of 24 May 2019

June 2019

  • 15th – Macedon Public Library – 2:00 pm
  • 17th – Erie Canal Cruise  – 6:30 pm

July 2019

  • 20th – Friendly Home , Brighton – TBD   2 sessions, paid gig
  • 27th – Macedon Erie Canal Celebration  – 11:45 am & 1:00 pm

August 2019

  • 17th & 18th – Mumford Fiddlers Fair – 2:15 pm Saturday & Sunday
    Jam tent 10:00 am – 4:00 pm both days
  • 31st – Little Theatre – “FIDDLIN” documentary 3:00 pm
    FOG can play after showing in the Little Café

September 2019

  • 5th – VA Hospital, Canandaigua – 5:00 pm
  • 7th – Turtle Hill Folk Festival/Golden Link
    Jam tent, no performance
  • 15th – Palmyra Canaltown Days  – time TBD

October 2019

  • 13th – Bristol Theatre, Naples – 2:00 pm

Find some time to enjoy the music, the camaraderie and above all – Play Nice!

FOG Tune of the Month:
Welcome Whiskey Back Again

Contributed by Deb Abell and Tom Bailey

When the English Parliament lifted the ban on Barley in the late 1800’s, the author of Farewell to Whiskey wrote this tune to welcome the change.

Click HERE to download pdf of sheet music

FOG Spring Picnic Fun!

Contributed by Jane Reetz

Following on the success of our Fall FOG picnics, this year we added a Spring Fling which took place on May 5th.
A lot of members attended with their families and friends. It offered a great opportunity to jam, socialize, and eat (and eat some more). There were several great breakout sessions where members got a chance to shine and show off their many musical talents.


President’s Remarks

Contributed by Tom Bailey

Greetings FOGgers! I don’t know about you, but for me it is a welcome change to be driving to work with the sun rising. Feels like the start of a new day, although more days have been cloudy than sunny! Thanks to all who came to our “business meeting” on April 5th. Mike Deniz did a great job of presenting the new website.  The site is easy to use and includes everything the Board asked Mike to cover. Mike sent the link to all members; have you looked at it yet? Very few comments have been received but the Board does want your input before we go “live” with this website. Barring additional input from the membership, the new site will become the official FOG website around the end of May. Maybe we should have a party for taking down the old website?

If you’ve read the past couple Fiddleletters you know we have the FOG Spring Picnic coming up May 5th at the Ellison Park Pavilion Lodge, located in the northwest corner of the park. The information is in this edition of the Fiddleletter as well. I hope you can join us, as there will plenty of food, music and camaraderie beginning at 2:00.  We don’t have to be out until 8:00, if anyone is so inclined to stay until closing. Great weather is forecasted, so we can play on the patio.

Please see the latest listing of upcoming events. These have been discussed in this column before, with the exception of the June 27 event. On June 27th Bernunzio’s Uptown Music is sponsoring a 2-hour cruise on the Erie Canal aboard the Colonial Belle, sailing out of Fairport. This has been a bluegrass cruise in the past but we are adding fiddle music to the cruise this year. We will probably have the fiddles on the upper deck and the bluegrass folks in the cabin. Nothing to say we can’t intermix, since a lot of the music at bluegrass jams is fiddle music. Maybe you would like to play some bluegrass? Please pass the word to everyone you know. Usually about half the people on the cruise don’t play the music, they just like to listen and watch the wildlife (including other folks) on the banks as we go gliding by. In the past we have boarded around 5:30 for a departing time around 6:00. We will have more info in an email blast around mid-May.

Many of you have been asking about the set lists for this summer. There will actually be two: one for Saturday and one for Sunday at Mumford. During the course of playing our summer gigs we will add several tunes to either list to make up a 1 hour set list. Mumford is roughly 40 minutes playing time each day.  The set lists will be handed out this Friday at the jam session. There will be a short discussion to review the lists and get your input. After that the set lists will be emailed out to all members. Come see the different tunes on this year’s list.

Don’t forget that FOG is holding a series of workshops that will be taught by Michelle Younger. Originally it consisted of 3 workshops, each building on the previous one. They were:

        • May 18 – Clawhammer Banjo (beginner/intermediate)
        • June 8 – How to make a tune your own:  Introduction to variation and improvisation in old-time music (all levels, all instruments)
        • June 22 – Playing with other people and learning tunes on the fly (all levels, all instruments)

We have added a fourth one, a Mandolin Workshop with none other than Ron Perry. It will be held on Wednesday May 29th. The Saturday workshops will start at 2:00 pm and will cost $5 for members and $12 for non-members. There will be a big discount for attending two workshops and an even larger one for attending all three Saturday workshops. There will be no charge for the Wednesday evening Mandolin workshop, which will start at 6:30.  An email will be sent with details on the workshops, which will be held in a storefront at Bay Towne Plaza.

Hope to see you at the picnic!

FOG Tune of the Month: Lonesome Moonlight Waltz

Contributed by Deb Abell

Listen here to the Lonesome Moonlight Waltz Click here for a printable PDF of Lonesome Moonlight Waltz


Susan Cady-White, editor

At this time last year I was anxiously awaiting the arrival of May 1, the opening of online registration for FiddleStar Adult Beginner Fiddle Camp, which I had I learned of while reading Strings magazine. The camp is held at the Ridgetop, Tennessee home of Megan and Adam Chowning. With a maximum of 15 students and the ability to lodge on site in one of two bunk rooms, the camp sounded perfect for me and I was thrilled to land a spot on the roster. Camp was held in September and my husband and I decided to hit Nashville together for a few days before I went off to camp. On our first morning, we walked to the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum. When we arrived at the Hall, bluegrass musicians – including an amazing fiddle player – were jamming on an elevated deck. When we asked how we could get closer to them, it was explained that the players on the deck were rehearsing and we could see them and others inside, because the second and final day of the Grand Masters Fiddle Championship was taking place in the auditorium. We walked inside, past a very long line of sweaty tourists waiting to buy tickets to the museum, and into the cool – and free — auditorium to have a listen. And stayed all day, right to the champion-announcing end. I felt like a kid on Christmas morning and still can’t believe our luck in stumbling upon the event. Missouri’s Trustin Baker was the champ.

After three fun days in Nashville it was time for camp. I had registered as a lodging-on-site camper, but over the summer the notion of bunking in a room with five strangers and sharing one bathroom with up to 14 others lost its charm. I booked an Airbnb 20 minutes from camp, a scenic commute that provided a welcome respite at the end of the day when my fingers were sore and my brain was full. Eleven students registered for camp. Several of us fell into the 3-5 year playing range, but most had played less than a year, including the guy who bought a fiddle the week before so he could come to the camp with a buddy, all the way from Alaska.  That’s brave!

Eleven campers were split into three groups, each group composed of students with a range of playing experience as well as one or two instructors. For two full days we worked within our small groups, as well as during workshops with everyone, on tunes our groups would play during a recording session Sunday morning. The recording session was the real deal: Chownings have a state of the art recording studio in their home. A recording engineer came in Sunday morning to record our performances, and then digitally tweaked the outcome to make us sound the best we could. We were all nervous prior to the recording session, which turned out to be tons of fun and left us all with a sense of achievement as we incorporated all we’d learned about bowing, intonation, rhythm, bass notes, arpeggios, chops, group dynamics and more.

The highlight of camp time was Saturday night’s jam session. About 20 musicians — the guy who had played his fiddle for two days, professional musicians who record and tour with big names, and everyone in between – gathered in the living room and jammed. Fiddles, guitars and mandolins; a magical time that went on for hours. Adult Beginner Fiddle camp was hard work and a lot of fun. I met the most warm and wonderful people. Some of us have stayed in touch and plan to attend future camps together. Campers eat well too! Adam’s parents, Miss Lela and Mr. Randy, fed us in true southern style each day, as well as being present to offer southern hospitality and support.   In addition to fiddle camps, Megan and Adam host a number of camps for guitar, mandolin, dobro and banjo. Learn more about camp offerings at Nashville Acoustic Camps.

2019 Officers

President: Tom Bailey

Vice-President: Kathy Schwar

Secretary: Jane Reetz

Treasurer: Greg Roat

Directors-at-Large: Bill Kraft, B.J. Cunningham, Elaine Chandler, Pat Fink, Ray Ettington

Membership Coordinator: Mike Deniz

Newsletter Editor: Susan Cady-White

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 www.fiddlersofthegenesee.org

  • 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, 300 Macedon Center Rd., 14450

May 3, 17, 24, 31

Penfield American Legion, 1707 Old Penfield Rd.

May 10

2019 Gig Schedule

No gigs scheduled for May.

June 15, Macedon Public Library

June 17, Fairport Canal Cruise

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.

About 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
      1. Encouragement of musical development
      1. Non-competitive fellowship
      1. Acoustic instrumentation
      1. 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: