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.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

FOG Performs at Palmyra Canaltown Days Festival

September 15, 2019

The Fiddlers of the Genesee kept up their annual tradition of playing at the Palmyra Canaltown Days Festival. It was a full accompaniment of fiddles, guitars, mandos, both types of dulcimers, and a bass to keep the tempo. The set list included St. Anne’s Reel, Dill Pickle Rag, and Bonaparte Crossing the Rhine, among others.

FOG Plays Willafjord at 2019 Palmyra Canaltown Days

Turtle Hill Folk Festival Draws Area Music Lovers

September 6-8, 2019

This year the Fiddlers of the Genesee was a sponsor of the annual Turtle Hill Folk Festival, held at the Rotary Sunshine Campus in Rush, NY. Presented by the Golden Link Folk Singing Society, this weekend-long event features concerts and workshops by top folk musicians, as well as singing, jamming, food, and fun.

Jay Ungar & Molly Mason
Jay conducting a mandolin workshop

Performers this year included Annie & the Hedonists, Heather Pierson Acoustic Trio, Richie & Rosie, Debra Cowen, Scott Cook, and the legendary Jay Ungar & Molly Mason, best known for the glorious Ashokan Farewell. Jay and Molly also presented various workshops, enthusiastically attended by FOG members

Jay schooling fiddlers on playing contra dance style

FOG set up a tent on the grounds which afforded festival attendees a venue for jamming with us. We were honored by the participation of Molly Mason both days. On Saturday she borrowed a FOG members’ guitar and returned with her own on Sunday for a full half hour of jamming. Peter Davis from Annie and the Hedonist also jammed along.

Thanks to the Golden Links Folk Singing Society and all the volunteers for making this a weekend to remember.

SEPTEMBER 2019 FIDDLETTER

President’s Remarks

Contributed by Tom Bailey

Goodbye, August!

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

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

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

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

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

Until next time, Play Nice!


 

Canandaigua VA Gig Info

Contributed by Mike Deniz

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

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

Event Schedule

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

4:30 Start Transporting the residents

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

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

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

 


 

KSchwarFOGPlayersCropped

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

KSchwarAudience
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.


Coda

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!


 

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B. Gregg Fiddle Handout

Canandaigua VA Set List

 

 

FOG Performs at the Genesee Country Village & Museum Fiddler’s Fair

August 17-18, 2019

Saturday witnessed some of the worst weather ever experienced during a GCV&M Fiddler’s Fair, soaking most folks with continuous rain all day. But the musicians’ and audiences’ spirits were not dampened judging by the ongoing activities.

The FOG jam tent kept going through thunder and lighting, and the entertainment on the Barn stage was, as usual, superb and well received by the audience. Attendees even made the long walk over to the Church in heavy rains 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, which largely cleared up by the time activities got going. The GCV&M staff and musicians were ready and the audiences filled the venues. FOG delivered another great set, with the audience yelling for an encore. 


What it is all about was summed up by a gentleman that approached one of our members following the performance…

“I am from Amherst [NY] 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 in playing for us”

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

The Norwegian “Hey” Polka
Ashokan Farewell
Turkey in the Straw

FOG Performs at Macedon Erie Canal Heritage Event

July 27, 2019

On a hot sunny Saturday, the Macedon NY 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 19th century 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.

In addition to playing audience favorites like Soldier’s Joy, Swallowtail Jig, Buffalo Gals, and Old Joe Clark, FOG debuted Erie Canal and the ER-I-E, two new tunes in keeping with day’s theme. MC 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.