May 2020 Fiddletter

President’s Remarks

Contributed by Tom Bailey


HelloMayI was talking to a good friend I have not seen for months and the first thing he said was, “Wow, what have we gotten ourselves into?” Times like these make you take another look at your priorities. Have you ever taken your health for granted? Don’t know about you but I am sure that I thought I was invincible — immortal ? — in my younger days. Now I really  appreciate every day I have. With that said, how are you all doing? I hope staying safe and staying healthy!

Have you come up with fun things to do to pass the time? I have been working from home for the past 34 days so there hasn’t been much free time. In fact, I think I spend more time working now than when I was going to the office. But I do keep instruments around me so if I want to take a break, there is some relief close by. And I do find myself taking glimpses of tunes on YouTube or watching some of the great webcasts that are coming out. Driving down the street last weekend, there was a family all dressed up in front of their house having their picture taken. A couple doors down, someone had put up their inflatable Christmas ornaments; I had to chuckle. Julie and I put a bunch of white lights in one of our trees and have already had comments about, how at night, the lights cheer folks up. I had one guy tell me that anytime they need to go to a grocery store, they go for a ride in the Finger Lakes. He said the scenery is really nice and there are a lot fewer virus cases there to encounter.  If you’re interested in doing some travelling but want to stay safe, check out this website, where you can take virtual tours of our national parks.  Virtual Visits | National Park Foundation

Have you done something you could share, maybe even some pictures? Hey Jane, I bet Tom has waxed his truck and you accompanied him with the mando! Bob,  have you been carrying your banjo out to serenade folks on the golf course? Bill & Loretta, any exciting occurrences on your wildlife trails? I do want to thank B.J. for all the fun communications she has been sending; it reminds us that someone is out there And always brings a good laugh – but enough with those banjo jokes! Guess I can’t say too much; I made the mistake years back of giving Mr. Hyder a book of 100 banjo jokes.

I don’t know if anything will come of it, but I am talking with Richie and Rosie about

Rosie Newton and Richie Sterns

doing virtual workshops. Think about it. Maybe you couldn’t play along so everyone can hear you but, with your mic muted, you can play along all day without ever having to worry about someone else hearing you! That way you can noodle all the time and no one can say STOP NOODLING. Maybe you can be like Greg and throw in extra chords that really sound great, but purists would say is wrong. If no one hears it,  who can say it is wrong? As Greg,  Mike and I have discovered, there is something called latency that keeps everyone from playing together on ZOOM, unless everyone has the same service carrier and the same equipment at home. Greg and I could actually play together, with both of us on Spectrum with standard equipment. But Mike, even though he is also on Spectrum, can’t play in time as he has a different  cable box in his house. That slows down the signal and no matter what, Mike can’t keep in time with Greg. It’s not just Mike, as I have tried this with a couple others and it didn’t work. Greg and I are on Wi-Fi, if you have internet service that is a whole ‘nother animal. With that, the farther you are away from someone else, the slower you will sound compared to them. But how do the musicians make it work on TV? Mike found out there are two ways. The main one is that all musicians can be recorded and then it is all played back at the same time. The other way is everyone has been set up with identical arrangements –  same carrier,  same equipment — and it comes out looking effortless.

Would you believe that if you are on the internet you can go buy a Jaminator Box? If everyone has this box, they can generally play together as this compensates for the variance, unless you are a couple time zones away.

So, if someone is on Spectrum Wi-Fi with standard equipment, let us know and we will see if we can make it work. If we come up with a few folks who can play together, then they can lead the jam, and everyone else plays along with their mics muted. Perfect for a slow jam, Pat? Who wants to try it?

I know, you’re probably thinking, “Tom sure has rambled on,” but I have one more thing. I am getting email from some of the folks we were scheduled to play for, asking if we can play as soon as they open up. I think any location we would play will be the type of place that will wait until it is safe to bring us in. Like the Macedon Public Library, or Ferris

FOG players and their audiences are looking forward to the end of the COVID-19 quarantine, when old time music and fun can once again be shared.

Hills — they aren’t going to bring in folks until they are comfortable with it.  The Fiddlers Fair might be a bit more difficult. But when the time comes, will FOG be ready? Not since the first Friday in March have we played together; it’s going on two months. Have you been practicing at all? The Board will be looking at new set lists next week at their virtual meeting. I am afraid that it will take three to four weeks to get ready to entertain folks. What do you think? Maybe just play along with the FOG CD?

Really looking forward to seeing you all and paying together again. Please stay safe and stay healthy.

Until then … Play Nice, Stay Safe!


FOG Tune of the Month: Grey Eagle

Contributed by Mike Deniz

Printable PDF of Grey Eagle



Thinking of You

Contributed by B. J. Cunningham


Greetings Fiddler friends,

At the end of another month of quarantine I hope you remain well and healthy.  I think we will all feel better when the days get warmer and we can resume gardening, golf, bike riding, boating, camping or whatever outdoor activities we enjoy.  I continue to feel the need to add some humor and distraction into our long days.  Keep practicing patience as well as your many instruments.  Peace. ~ B.J.

🎻 What happens if you play country music backwards?   Your wife returns to you, your dog comes back to life, and you get out of prison.

🎻 What’s the difference between a violin and a fiddle?   No one minds if you spill beer on a fiddle.

🎻 How do you make a million dollars playing a hammered dulcimer?   Start with two million.

🎻 Practicing social distancing guidelines, minimum safe distance between street musicians and the public:

  • Violinist: 25 feet
  • Bad violinist: 50 feet
  • Tone deaf guitar player who knows three chords: 75 feet
  • 15-year-old electric guitar player with Nirvana fixation: 100 feet
  • Bagpiper: 50 miles

🎻 Three violin manufacturers have all done business for years on the same block in the small town of Cremona, Italy.  After years of a peaceful co-existence, the Amati shop decided to put a sign in the window saying, “We make the best violins in Italy.”  The Guarneri shop soon followed suit, and put a sign in their window proclaiming, “We make the best violins in the world.”  Finally, the Stradivarius family put a sign out at their shop saying, “We make the best violins on the block.”

🎻 And for the nameless FOG banjo player who pointed out that I omitted a banjo joke on my last communication:

  • What did the banjo player get on his SAT exam?   Drool!
  • Why do some people have an instant aversion to banjo players?   It saves time in the long run!
  • Female five string banjoist shouting at her boyfriend in a crowded shopping mall: “Don’t forget sweetheart, I need a new G string!”

🎻 I love the way music inside a car makes you feel invisible; if you play the stereo at max volume, it’s almost like the other people can’t see into your vehicle.  It tints your windows, somehow. ~Chuck Klosterman

🎻 The true beauty of music is that it connects people.  It carries a message, and we, the musicians, are the messengers. ~Roy Ayers

🎻 C, E flat, and G go into a bar.  The bartender says, “Sorry, we don’t serve minors,” and E flat leaves.  C and G have an open fifth between them and after a few drinks, G is out flat.  F comes in and tries to augment the situation, but is not sharp enough.  D comes into the bar and heads straight for the bathroom saying, “Excuse me, I’ll just be a second.”

A comes into the bar, but the bartender is not convinced that this relative of C is not a minor and sends him out. Then the bartender notices a B flat hiding at the end of the bar and shouts, “Get out now!  You’re the seventh minor I’ve found in this bar tonight.”

The next night, E flat, not easily deflated, comes into the bar in a three piece suit with nicely shined shoes.  The bartender, who used to have a nice corporate job until his company downsized,  says, “You’re looking pretty sharp tonight.  Come on in.  This could be a major development.”  And in fact, E flat takes off his suit and everything else and stands there au natural.  Eventually, C, who had passed out under the bar the night before, begins to sober up and realizes in horror that he’s under a rest.

So, C goes to trial, is convicted of contributing to the diminution of a minor and sentenced to ten years of DS without Coda at an upscale correctional facility.  The conviction is overturned on appeal, however, and C is found innocent of any wrongdoing, even accidental, and all accusations to the contrary are bassless.

The bartender decides, however, that since he’s only had tenor so patrons, the soprano out in the bathroom and everything has become alto much treble, he needs a rest and closes the bar.




The History of Jefferson & Liberty

Contributed by William Breddy

Thomas Jefferson played the violin. Illustration by Randy Jones,

I thought I would share this with the FOG membership. Thomas Jefferson (1743-1826) was the author of the Declaration of Independence and also the third President of the United States. But he was equally important — at least to us fiddle players — because he loved playing the violin and fiddle. As part of his early education, Jefferson was taught to play violin and read and write music. By the age of 14, he was writing down his favorite fiddle tunes and practicing up to three hours a day. He owned several violins and a pochette, a tiny travel-sized violin that could fit in a horse’s saddle bag or large coat pocket, that he took with him everywhere and played whenever he could.

The tune Jefferson & Liberty originated in Scotland and was known by several names, The Gobby-O or the Gabby Boy. It was a favorite of Jefferson’s and was often played as his campaign song when he ran for President in 1800. It’s been known as Jefferson & Liberty ever since, which seems a fitting way to honor the fiddling founding father of America. Even with its American name, it continues to be commonly played by fiddlers in west central Ireland — the counties of Kerry, Cork, and Limerick — where slides and polkas are particularly popular in Trad sessions.



FOG Members Share Quarantine Entertainment


Elaine Shengulette

I heard the poem The Touch of the Master’s Hand  put to music years ago and think it is beautiful. Just thought I’d share it with everyone.  Click here to listen to The Touch of the Master’s Hand by the Booth Brothers.

Rosko Holmquist

Local fiddler/violinist and nyckelharpa player Alyssa Rodriquez recently performed a virtual nyckelharpa concert sponsored by the Little Theater Cafe. Scroll down a bit to get

The self-portrait cover of Alyssa Rodriguez’s recently released EP Chicory.

to the concert post. Alyssa teaches privately and at the Kanack School of Music.

Peter Hedlund  is a Swedish Riksspelman, meaning Fiddler of the Realm, a national recognition given to Sweden’s top musician. He has performed at the Jamestown Scandinavian Festival many times over the years and we have become friends and jammed together. He is a retired carpenter and wood worker. He also builds nyckelharpas.  Visit his facebook page, Peter Puma Hedland, to learn more about Peter and the nyckelharpa.

Tom Bailey

I know FOG is about old time fiddle music but some folks like bluegrass. For them, there is a great documentary called Bluegrass Journey. It costs $7.99 to download for enjoyment at any time. Half of it is filmed at New York’s Grey Fox Festival – one of the largest in the country.

Bill Kraft

Listen to the song Life Gets Tee-jus, Don’t It? ,  which was recorded in 1948. The lyrics reflect how a lot of us are feeling during this pandemic quarantine, when life at times feels a little “tee-jus”.


May Jam Locations


All jam sessions for May have been cancelled. For the latest schedule changes, please see the Jam Sessions  page on the FOG website.


May Gig Schedule

BVT sign
All gigs for May have been cancelled. For the latest schedule changes and maps to gig locations, please see the Event Calendar on the FOG website.


Elegant lettering Happy Mother's Day in flower frame. Happy Mother's Day Card. Vector floral wreath

Grey Eagle

Jefferson & Liberty

The Touch of the Master’s Hand

The Touch of the Master’s Hand, the Booth Brothers

Life Gets Tee-jus, Don’t It?

April 2020 Fiddletter

Baned travels quarantine global pandemic corona virus COVID-19 Coronavirus chinese infection of USA



President’s Remarks

by Tom Bailey


I hope each and every one of you is doing well!

The twists and turns of life can bring the unexpected, but nothing as unexpected as the COVID-19 pandemic. Prior to March, we were looking forward to jams, gigs and workshops that were on the horizon. We had just played some of our best COPs gigs in a long time and were coming up to some paid gigs with a new set list. This coming weekend was the workshop with Rosie Newton and Richie Stern and now everything has been put on hold. But all of that is minor compared to staying safe during times like this. Have you had a chance to play some music? There has been much discussion online about the power of music. The Today Show recently ended a broadcast with a touching series from the Internet that began with a bass player bowing Beethoven’s  9th Symphony. After a couple bars, a cello joined in, then another. Soon a couple violins joined and then all the members of an orchestra from Denmark. WOW! Then a group from San Francisco started another symphony, then a symphony from Michigan started playing Simple Gifts. It ended with Andrew Lloyd Weber playing a piece from Les Miserable.  The Today Show anchors were in tears. Music can overcome fear and concerns. And when there’s a discussion of good things to do while we are staying at home, one item always included is to play an instrument. Prior to realizing it would not be an acceptable practice, Fred came over and we played for a good hour and half plus, while keeping our distance. It sure made my working from home the next morning a lot better. There IS something healing about playing music.

To that end, there are a couple of us working on something. I am far from being a techie, but I took out a subscription to Zoom for the purpose of a having a platform for a group

Zoom has become a very popular app during the quarantine and is frequently used by musicians to hold virtual jam sessions.

of folks remotely playing together. On the first try, we had 5 or 6 players but the sound wasn’t synced. Greg and I took care of that part and now have to work out the sound levels. We should have something soon and then we will start getting folks together. No one has to have a Zoom subscription unless you want to use a phone or tablet. The Zoom app is free so there is no cost if you want to participate. Please let Greg or me know if you want to join in such an experiment. After the crisis, we can use this for jamming in bad weather, special practices or workshops, even Board meetings. If someone out there is a Zoom wizard, please help us out.

We are looking at new dates for the workshops that were planned. Richie and Rosie have asked about having their workshops and concert on June 28th. Details of their workshops were in the last newsletter. The Board will make a decision as we have to let them know soon, since they are rescheduling all their  cancelled gigs. We still have Ben Proctor’s scheduled and we will most likely be rescheduling his ensemble workshop. We will most likely have to move the date for the picnic that was set for early May. Monroe County has cancelled all park activities through the end of April, refunding all payments. In mid-April the County will make a decision on May activities. At this time there are no other dates available until school starts. We will have to see if other folks cancel and some openings come up.

As of April 1, the CDC has added the  recommendation that everyone cover their mouth and nose with a cloth face mask when out in public.

Most important thing is that we all follow the guidelines and we use common sense when we are out and about with essential activities. If you have a chance, pick up a phone and check in with your friends. A comforting voice on the other end of the phone can make a big difference in someone’s day.

Please take care of yourself and those close to you. When we get through this, we will have a real party.

Until then … Play Nice!



Have You Heard?

Submitted by Tom Bailey


Pete Seeger is a modest, unassuming, cheerful, and kind-natured man. He’s a good folk singer, if you can stand folk singing. And he’s such an excellent banjo player that you almost don’t wish you had a pair of wire cutters. P. J. O’Rourke

Mind you, I’ve always been musical … Mother used to sit me on her knee and I’d whisper, ‘Mummy, Mummy, sing me a lullaby do,’ and she’d say: ‘Certainly my angel, my wee bundle of happiness, hold my beer while I fetch me banjo.’ Les Dawson

What is the least often heard sentence in the English language? That would be: Say, isn’t that the banjo player’s Porsche parked outside? Jackson Browne

The first musical sound I ever heard was from a banjo. My father played, and I was an infant in a crib, and something just stayed with me from those early days. Roy Clark

“As one old gentleman put it, ” Son, I don’t care if you’re stark nekkid and wear a bone in your nose. If you kin fiddle, you’re all right with me. It’s the music we make that counts.”
Robert Fulghum, All I Really Need to Know I Learned in Kindergarten



Thinking of You

Submitted by B.J. Cunningham


The following inspiration quotes have been emailed to the FOG membership over the past month and are worth sharing again.

Singing in the shower is all fun and games until you get shampoo in your mouth, then it becomes a soap opera. Unknown 

 A painter paints pictures on canvas.  But musicians paint their pictures on silence.

Leopold Stokowski

Nothing is more beautiful than a guitar, except, possibly two. Frederic Chopin

A gentleman is someone who can play the accordion, but doesn’t. Tom Waits

We consider that any man who can fiddle all through one of those Virginia Reels without losing his grip may be depended upon in any musical emergency. Mark Twain

Musical training is a more potent instrument than any other, because rhythm and harmony find their way into the inward places of the soul. Plato, The Republic  

After silence, that which comes nearest to expressing the inexpressible is music. Aldous Hu

Music was my refuge.  I could crawl into the space between the notes and curl my back to loneliness. Maya Angelou, Gather Together in My Name

Music expresses that which cannot be put into words and that which cannot remain silent. Victor Hugo

One good thing about music, when it hits you, you feel no pain. Bob Marley

Without music life would be a mistake. Friedrich Nietzsche



27806366 - notes_in_heart



Quarantine Notes from Our Members


I have been sending inspirational and musical quotes periodically to FOG members.  People need to know that others are thinking of them during these days of separation and isolation. To pass the time, I have been restringing some of my instruments that have not had much attention.  I’m trying to practice some of the fiddle tunes on my mandolin.  Walking my dog, reading, spring cleaning, puzzles, playing old LPs, FaceTiming and Zoom with family and friends have kept me occupied the past few weeks.  B.J. Cunningham

Ray Ettington

   I continue to learn and play Old Time Fiddle tunes, and performing for a nursing home and my retirement home. My main hobby is creating hour-long, PowerPoint presentations I call “Virtual Vacations”, which I deliver to friends, family, and Valley Manor residents, via Zoom, a conference app. The silver lining in this quarantine is that I have been able to bond, via Zoom, with a 9-year-old  great-grandson  and my 95-year-old brother, both in California, by presenting  “Virtual Vacations” to them.  Stay well and keep Old Time alive. Ray Ettington

   Changes every day. What I thought was going to be inconvenient for a week or two has become a simple appreciation of just breathing. I have been taking walks, alone or on opposite sides of the street with my neighbor. I have been learning to play If I Only Had a Brain –  my theme song – on my mandolin, and spending some time playing my concertina and octave mando. We are fortunate to have amazing friends, and I have learned to use Zoom to stay in touch. Today I got a call from a friend: “Are you home?” “Yep.” Look out your window. My friend was sitting in her car, in front of my house, and we talked by phone for an hour while seeing each other through the windows. My husband’s last day of work — last Friday — was the beginning of his retirement. A new normal for both of us to be home all the time. We have had a record number of calls from our adult children who are also sheltering in place: two locally, one in Old Forge and one in San Francisco, who with her husband is sheltering in place in their tiny house, which is parked in someone’s back yard. So, I am really thankful for the once too-crowded seven room house we live in! I would love to hear what others are doing with this gift of time, albeit time laden with anxiety.  Stay well everyone and I’ll see you on the other side of this. Pat Fink

Gene Golebiewski Excercise Ball

   My music stand holds three possible set lists for a banjo singalong on May 18 at the Clearfield Library in Williamsville, if the libraries reopen by then. The stand also holds an iPad for taking online exercise classes using the Zoom app or livestreaming.  I started as a group exercise instructor at the Independent Health Family Branch YMCA In January.  I teach Silver Sneakers Classic and Drums Alive classes.  The Y shut down on March 16.  I had planned several Irish songs for Drums Alive on St. Patrick’s Day: Garry Owen, Irish Washerwoman, Swallowtail Jig, Star of the County Down, The Gentle Maiden, and Danny Boy.  They will have to wait for half way to St. Patrick’s Day in September! On March 29 I drummed up a cure for cabin fever, a one hour set list for Drums Alive that included Don’t Worry Be Happy and Let It Be. The biggest challenge is to keep the iPad charged up enough for many hours of use every day.  The silver lining is that the internet speed can handle many devices at the same time. Playing banjo and keeping the beat at FOG jams and gigs has been very useful for teaching exercise classes to the music! Stay healthy and keep on pickin’! Gene Golebiewski   

   I can’t wait to plunk away with people. That does include fiddles, guitars, mandolins, dulcimers (inducing those that get hammered), whistles, flutes, clarinets (occasionally) and how can I leave out the bass. Sometimes spoons, bones, drums. Stay safe, stay well, and let’s look forward to our next jam, ASAP! Banjo Bob Hyder

   Between practicing new fiddle and Bluegrass tunes, I am painting watercolors. When not frustrated enough, I am struggling to learn the pedal steel guitar and American Sign Language. Ron Perry

   Social distancing has dramatically changed our lives temporarily and we look forward to the time we can return to normalcy.  However, as a silver-lining, it has reduced our “busyness” and for many of us has put large amounts of time at our disposal.  For me, it has presented an opportunity to learn some new tunes and indulge in some hobbies and interests which have taken a back seat for a while. I have tackled some household projects which have been put off for months and in some cases, even years. I have finally gotten around to deleting many of those one thousand or so out-of-date emails in my inbox. My two daughters — one in New York and one in Rochester — my wife and I have connected more than ever by using Zoom and Skype on our phones.  Many evenings we have found time to play card games remotely, something that we would previously do only when we were together on family vacations once or twice a year. I will continue to take classes at OSHER, a program at RIT for retired individuals, as I have done for the past few years.  All classes will be given on-line during the spring quarter. As the weather warms, I look forward now and then on nice days to taking a lawn chair over to Ellison Park, finding a shady, secluded spot by the stream and reading for an entire afternoon with no feelings of guilt.  Dick Pierce

   It is frustrating having to stay home. But I don’t like to fritter time away so I get up around 6:00 to listen to and read the news for a couple hours, catch up on our church Bible study, and then practice. I still have COPS music on the stand, as my broken arm and I missed out on so much this year. There’s also mandolin orchestra music, some Irish music, and folk music on the stands. My guitar is less neglected these days, and I keep eyeing my banjo. But there is still physical therapy daily. One new skill is making face masks. Definitely not N95 quality but they look creative.  We’ve also been sending out cards and making phone calls to check in with others. We “attend” weekly Zoom (another new skill) singarounds. We support online musicians who live-stream concerts. A challenge is getting outside hiking every day since the Y is closed and finding something worthy of posting on Facebook. Something calm, inspiring, or prompting a smile. And we always have music playing. We sure need it these days! Kathy Schwar





by Jamie Latty on March 16, 2020


We certainly live in strange times. This week was definitely up there as one of the strangest I can remember, and so I would like to start by saying that on behalf of everyone at Deering, our hearts and prayers go out to all of those affected, both directly and indirectly.

We understand that it is hard not to be concerned. I am sure many of you, like me are seriously beginning to question if this is the Twilight Zone. But it is going to be okay. Say it with me. It is going to be okay. We will absolutely get through this and if you are so inclined, playing your banjo can help.

As I watch the events unfold, I am reminded of how significant a role playing a musical instrument has been in my life. I have played an instrument of some kind since the age of 10. Without a doubt, having this outlet has helped me tremendously in simply being able to cope in difficult, sometimes unbearable times.

And I am not alone. In a survey from 2017 by data analytics firm YouGov revealed that “71 percent [of respondents] said they agreed that music had helped them through a difficult time in their lives.”

As the media reports doomsday on the hour, every hour, a few glimmers of musical hope have begun to emerge. Italy has been in the news this last few weeks after becoming the first European country to order a complete shutdown of the country. Stores, restaurants all closed and residents only allowed to leave their homes to get basic items and medical supplies.

It wasn’t long before videos began to emerge on social media of defiant Italians singing from their balconies. No people in shot. Only their somber voices serenading one another through song as the night rolled in.

Turns out, these videos are the coordinated result of Italy’s #flashmobsonoro, which is encouraging people to take to their windows and balconies and make music together. Just click on the #flashmobsonoro hashtag to see more amazing videos like this one.

And as the last few days have come, more videos have surfaced. Only now, they have energy. They have that famous Italian passion and most importantly, they have musical instruments. Like a quarantined neighborhood jam session. Not only are these players using their instruments for themselves, but they are entertaining the masses.

So, does music really help in bad times? I think we can all recount a time where a song or a musical memory bought us comfort. For sure, doctors and clinicians began to realize the healing power of music when observing the effects of travelling music groups who would frequently visit veterans during both world wars.

The idea has even evolved into something called Music Therapy which describes as  “a type of expressive arts therapy that uses music to improve and maintain the physical, psychological, and social well-being of individuals … involves a broad range of activities, such as listening to music, singing, and playing a musical instrument.”

As musicians of all levels of experience and ability, we possess a unique ability to play and communicate through music. We possess something truly powerful that has the ability to not only help us through bad times, but others around us, too. The power of playing music, I believe, is a remarkable healer. So, let’s have some fun doing what we do and play some music! Play your banjo. Jam with fellow musician friends and neighbors from across the street. Let your music be heard by your non-musician neighbors, as they will surely enjoy the respite from the fear and the unknown and take solace in something “normal”. We have the power to uplift peoples’ minds and spirits.

Nobody really knows how this will all play out, but I urge you to turn off the TV, put down your phone and keep your banjo (or guitar, or mandolin or fiddle) close by and play it.  Let your soul and your mind become invigorated, if only for a short time, and remember how important music is.

Jamie Latty is a blogger for Deering Banjos. With thanks to Tom Bailey for submitting this article.


You Ain’t Goin’ Nowhere

Submitted by Bruce Holmquist

Click on the link for a printable PDF of a delightful, COVID-19-related parody of the Dylan classic You Ain’t Goin’ Nowhere , with lyrics by Jan Krautheim.



Me with Guitar 2019by Susan Cady-White, Editor


I struggled a bit with the lead graphic for this month’s newsletter. April showers bring May flowers, right? It’s natural at this time of year to tightly grasp the least sign of spring,
the promise of milder weather. But weather is not top of mind at the moment; the COVID-19 virus pandemic is. And as I was surfing the ‘net, looking for a COVID-related graphic, I argued with myself that COVID-19 coverage is everywhere, all the time, and perhaps I should steer to a more uplifting image. But a newsletter, in addition to being a communication tool, is an historical account. A brief scan of the President’s Remarks from any past Fiddletter will often tell you if it was hot, cold, snowy or rainy because weather influences our daily lives. And right now, it’s virus-y out there.

Many thanks to those of you who took the time to tell us how you’re spending your time and how you’re feeling during the quarantine. At different moments in time over the past month, I have shared your frustration, gratitude, fear and enthusiasm for better times ahead.

Midnight on the Water, Over the Waterfall and Coleman’s March are on my music stand. Via Zoom fiddle lessons, I am learning my first strathspey, which is challenging my bowing skills. Remember Us this Way, from A Star is Born, is also on the stand for guitar playing and singing. My post-tonsillectomy, allergy-ridden, naturally alto voice is not a fan of the high notes, so time will tell if that song remains in the repertoire. I’ve partially written my first rap song, inspired by frustration with conferencing technology and Internet overload.  I’ve enjoyed curating and sharing the best of the massive amount of COVID cartooncoronavirus memes that continue to show up on Facebook. Numerous private messages from friends tell me the daily humor is anticipated and appreciated. Last week I logged into the Golden Link virtual sing-around, which is being held on Zoom. I didn’t participate but I enjoyed the singing of others. The biggest challenge is not being able to see my mother and my adult children. The silver lining is being able to help in small ways. Channeling Rosie the Riveter, my 86-year-old mother is sewing face masks. The family business, JN White, shifted gears and has added face shields to its product line.

Being restricted, one day blending into the next, the constant focus on safety andDays of the Week wellness, the news each day of significant illness and loss, is all stressful. Be kind to yourselves and take time for doing what you can that brings you joy. Be patient with others. The only way through this is through this and we will get there together. Be well, stay safe.









March 2020 Fiddletter

President’s Remarks

Contributed by Tom Bailey

Watercolor wooden vintage violin fiddle musical instrument clover shamrock leaf plant pattern backgroundMarch winds….

As I start to write this month’s comments I can hear the 30 mph winds whistling outside. How many tunes have been written about March winds? I can think of several folk songs of the ‘60s and some songs going back to the ‘20s. Can you believe we have already whisked through two months of 2020? I have always heard the older you get the faster time goes by; I can attest to that!

All of you who played at the Chili Library gig raise your hand. Now reach around and pat yourself on the back. Mike has placed some of the accolades on the FOG website.  “Largest crowd ever at a Library event.” Another one,  “Thank you, that was just what I needed today!” The standing room only crowd was slow to leave, staying to talk for thirty minutes or more with all the FOGgers who had entertained everyone so well. And June sold all the CD’s she had. A

Chili Library 1
The Fiddlers of the Genesee played to a standing room only crowd at the Chili Library on February 15.

true testament to the level of enjoyment came from Kelly’s grandmother telling the activities director at her senior center that they HAD to get FOG to come play for their residents. The following Monday we received an email asking about setting something up. All of our COP’s gig dates are already set but we are trying to work something out

Chili Library 2
Audiences enjoy the music and also interaction with FOG members, as they often linger long after the performance to chat and learn more about FOG and old time music.

with Brighton Summit.    Kelly, please pass a “thank you” on to your family.

As we were setting up at Chili, I heard some folks talking about being nervous about playing. It was interesting because the week before I had listened to a podcast by Mike Block, internationally recognized cellist. He has played with orchestras around the world, played with Yo-Yo Ma at Carnegie Hall and played with many jazz, bluegrass and other genre bands. The podcast was about dealing with anxiety before a performance. Yep, someone at that level has performance anxiety. I won’t go into a lengthy dissertation but here are some snippets of his presentation: Don’t think about what you are doing. Remember to share in the socialization with the other musicians around you, as you are not alone; focus on those around you. If you start to panic, find a diversion that takes you to a safe place. Develop a routine that relaxes you, maybe the warm-up routine you have before you practice. If you don’t have one, develop one: gradual breathing, playing through scales and passages that you really like playing. Visualize yourself playing in that “zone” where you are most comfortable. And here is the interesting one – play “what-if” with your imagination. Think of what CAN go wrong and figure out what you would do IF it did happen. Focus on what you would do; think of improbable things that could happen and then determine what you would do to overcome these things. Think of the best, the worst, the most likely, something to think about while you practice.

Workshops. Yes, we have workshops planned. Based on survey responses, we are lining up some workshops. We have mentioned one, Rosie Newton coming on April 4th for a fiddle workshop. It works out for Richie Stern to hold an old-time style banjo workshop after Rosie’s. Go on line and look up Richie and Rosie and you will see the high level of musicianship they bring to their events. Another workshop requested was an Ensemble workshop for those wanting to learn how to play in small groups, which is MUCH different than playing in a FOG performance. Ben Proctor will be teaching that workshop. He has done several other workshops for FOG but never an ensemble one. This is what he teaches for the Kanack School. Details will be coming soon. Another one that was requested is a rhythm workshop, possibly tied to a mando and guitar workshop. I am talking with Ron Perry about that and we will work this out when they get back to town.

Pavilion Lodge
Ellison Park’s Pavilion Lodge.

For those of you who weren’t members of FOG this time last year, Fiddlers of the Genesee holds a spring cabin party in the Pavilion Lodge in Ellison Park. Everyone brings food to share and we eat and play music for several hours. Every year, some members have formed small groups, duets or trios and played for all those enjoying the day. We are doing it again this year. FOG has rented the pavilion for May 3rd from 2:00 to 7:00. PLEASE mark your calendars now and save the date.

Another event FOG has taken part in for a few years is the Bernunzio Music sponsored Old Time/Bluegrass cruise on the Erie Canal. The boat, the Colonial Belle, has been reserved for the evening of June 1st. The cruise is always been a lot of fun; pizza is provided and bar service is available on board. This is a great time to bring along the family for a serenaded cruise down the Erie Canal. It is really neat to see people walking along the canal stop to listen and wave as we pass by.

Mark your calendars for June 1st and join FOG for an evening canal cruise on the Colonial Belle.

One last item: We are are receiving requests for FOG to play a gig during a weekday, around 2:30 in the afternoon. Currently we have a request for April 9th at St. John’s Home. Can you play on that day?  We really need some folks

Hope to see you at a jam soon –

Until next time … Play nice and play often!



Northfield Gig

Northfield Gig 2
St. Patrick’s Day celebration got an early start when FOG members entertained an enthusiastic audience at the Northfield the afternoon of February 29.



Tune of the Month

Contributed by Mike Deniz


Click here for a printable PDF of Fire on the Mountain




How did Ashokan Music & Dance Camps Get Started?
By Jay Ungar

My deep connection to Ashokan’s hallowed ground began with the first Fiddle & Dance Workshop at the Ashokan Field Campus of SUNY New Paltz on Labor Day Weekend in 1980. The weekend sold out, thanks to the Green Grass Cloggers. Wherever the Cloggers performed, they talked up the camp and inspired folks to come learn and join in the fun.

The next year we tried a weeklong camp. During that week, two interest groups clearly emerged: those who love New England, Québécois and Scandinavian traditions and those whose love was Old Time, Appalachian and Cajun traditions. This led to the creation of Northern Week and Southern Week in 1982.

For me, the magic was somehow intensified that next summer and I found myself home in September floating on a cloud of utopian euphoria. As that cloud dissipated and I came back to the so-called “real world,” I felt a deep sense of loss and longing. This was the third year of a fragile experiment. Would we return to the music, the people, and the land next summer? Would the magic still be there?

I picked up my fiddle to soothe my aching soul and a tune came to me that instantly brought me to tears. I couldn’t tell if I was writing or remembering the tune, but I turned on a cassette recorder to capture the moment. That moment, as you’ve probably guessed, was the birth of “Ashokan Farewell.”

Is it coincidence, or synchronicity that creating Northern and Southern Weeks from the original Fiddle & Dance Workshop led to the tune that would become the theme of Ken Burns’ PBS series The Civil War? And that this tune’s now famous connection to the Civil War would lead to Molly and me being asked to perform Ashokan Farewell at Gettysburg on Remembrance Day, the year that New York’s Governor Pataki was the featured speaker. The tear in the Governor’s eye, as our music came to a close, told me how deeply moved he was by this simple tune.

The  above article was contributed by Tom Bailey.


March Jam Locations


The Fiddlers of the Genesee will hold jam sessions, beginning at 7:00, at the following locations for March.

March 6 and 13, Fairport/Perinton VFW.

March 20 and 27, Penfield American Legion.



green hat with shamrock clipart



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 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 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 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.

There’s no Tune of the Month this month, but Valse du Chef de Gare (The Stationmaster Waltz) is a charming tune I heard recently and this seems like a good month to share it. I can’t quite play it yet, as my music reading skills are definitely at the “See Spot, see Spot Run,” level, but I’ll get it eventually. Enjoy the tune and the rest of this beautiful summer!

Stationmaster Waltz


Valse du Chef de Gare

Valse du Chef de Gare