Northeast Fiddlers Coming to Bellows Falls
For the fourth year in a row the Northeast Fiddlers are planning a foray into the southern part of the state for a meet at the Bellows Falls Moose Club on Sunday October 20. Bellows Falls is quite a hike for may of our members, but this ‘third Sunday’ meet does not replace our regular first Sunday of the month meet, and it has brought in some new members and interest in NEFA. The Bellows Falls meet will follow the format of all our meets and begin at noon with a tune circle. Refreshments will be sold, and back up musicians will be available.
For over fifty years NEFA has had a monthly “fiddle meet” on the first Sunday of every month, (the second Sunday if it’s a holiday weekend) at an American Legion or VFW hall in one of several northern Vermont towns. Scheduling an occasional third Sunday meet in another part of the state increases awareness and membership in the Northeast Fiddlers. It is not necessary to be a member of NEFA to attend and participate in the meets, however the dues of $15 per year ($18 for Canadians) are much appreciated.
All fiddle meets begin at noon with a jam that lasts for one hour. Fiddlers and other instrumentalists sign up on a numbered list when they arrive, and then join the jam session or get something to eat at the concession booth, or just socialize with old and new friends. At 1 o’clock the moderator takes the list and starts calling fiddlers up to the stage to each play three tunes. When a fiddler’s name is called she or he may play solo or invite as many people as she or he wants to join him on the stage. There will always be a piano and/or guitar player available to back up folks who don’t already have a back-up person.
A highlight of NEFA meets is the number of people who come to just listen, dance, and enjoy the music. Another really nice thing about the meets is that they give people who do not usually play with others or in front of others the chance to do that. They provide an opportunity to meet new fiddlers, hear different styles of playing, learn new tunes and enjoy a very sociable Sunday afternoon.
People who have been members of the Northeast Fiddlers Assoc. for at least 10 years become Lifetime Members upon their 80th birthday, and no longer have to pay dues. Presently, more than 25% of NEFA members are Lifetime Members. In addition to the fiddle meets, the annual dues of $15 give you bi-monthly newsletters and a free $15 turkey dinner at the annual Christmas party at the Canadian Club in Barre. A pretty good deal. Spread the word. Invite your friends, and mark your calendar for Sunday, October 20 at the Moose Club in Bellows Falls.