Contributed by Tom Bailey
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. Word 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.
Mike 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.
Have 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.
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.
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.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org 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.