Oregon Old Time Fiddlers Association History
Oregon is divided into 11 districts with each district having its own officers. (10 active districts) The chairmen of the districts serve on the board with the state officers and serve all members. Each year in April the state association has a convention at the fairgrounds at Rickreall. Members come from all over Oregon and from neighboring states to visit and share their music. The third week end in March the state association holds an old time fiddle contest at the Chemeketa Community College in Salem where fiddlers compete for the championship of different age divisions.
The Oregon Old Time Fiddlers Association has a variety of members – the fiddle being the primary instrument. Every fiddler wants to have back up so many of our members are guitar players, along with the banjo, bass, piano, accordion, mandolin, harmonica and those members who do vocals.
The typical jam starts on Sunday afternoon at 1:00 after a filling potluck. The first 20 minutes or so of the jam, all the musicians gather on the stage and jam the old favorites such as: Red Wing, Snow Deer, Maggie, Just Because, Faded Love, Jesse James, Red River Valley, You are my Sunshine, Coming Round the Mountain, Boil them Cabbages Down, etc. Then each musician has his or her time for usually two tunes – fiddle, or other instrument or a vocalist.
There are many different styles of fiddling most of them coming from the individual fiddler. The typical old time style may include hoedowns, waltzes, cowboy songs and many of the old tunes. The contest fiddler will play may play the tunes above or he or she may play tunes that have become popular for contests – some times called “Texas Style or Progressive Style.” There are many other styles: Celtic, Scottish, Irish, etc.
Fiddling knows no age limitation. You don’t have to be old, to be an old time fiddler.
Each month the members receive the Hoedowner which gives the news from the 11 districts – what happened last month and what is going to happen next month, results of contests, future meetings, and other news in general.
Every week-end somewhere in Oregon fiddlers gather in grange halls, senior centers, or where ever they can play music together. The public is invited to come to listen to the fiddle music. Other times members of the Oregon Oldtime Fiddlers Association can be heard at county fairs, in parades, in schools, at weddings and funerals, in nursing homes, at camp outs, picnics, and where ever they are invited.