Fiddle Club of the World Welcomes Renee Vaughan

Fiddle Club is back again. We are bringing a featured guest fiddler to give us a short concert and lead a jam. In this case, our fiddler is Renee Vaughan, a nyckleharpist from Minnesota.

Renee Vaughan plays new and traditional Scandinavian music on nyckelharpa (a keyed-fiddle), the national folk instrument of Sweden. Renee is currently the Musician-in-Residence at UW-Madison’s Center for Nordic Folklife and will be sharing tunes from her project on the music of first generation Swedish immigrants.    

This Fiddle Club of the World-Chicago Chapter meeting will be held

Wednesday, May 1 at 8:00pm at

Borelli Pizza (2124 W Lawrence Ave, Chicago)

Suggested donation: $10. The concert set will be followed by a jam for all players. A couple of Nordic tunes will be posted next week to help you get ready to play.

Here’s a tune from a Swedish fiddler, August Widmark, who emigrated to Minnesota in the 1800s. Renee learned this from a music notebook kept by Mr. Widmark and his family. Learning the story and setting of this notebook are a centerpiece of her residency at UW’s Center for Nordic Folklife.

Widmark Polonaise (aka Slangpolska efter August Widmark)

To learn more about Renee, her instrument and her music, checkout:


Some New Tunes for 2024

For Fiddle Club Orchestra

Carricou Quadrille, Figure 1 played by Canute Caliste of Carricou, Grenada

Polska from Rattvik (Edwin’s First Tune) played by Edwin Johnson from St. Paul, Minnesota

Viktor’s Vals played by Kukka Lehto of the Polka Chicks from Finland

Schwinflusen Seksen played by Stefan Bussemas from Germany

New Fiddle Club Orchestra Tunes – 2023

For Fiddle Club Orchestra

Walter Bulwer’s Polka #1 (& #2) played by the Old Swan Band from England

Rondeau a Marcel Lagardere, French Balfolk tune played by Paul

Ruotsin Katrilli (Swedish Quadrille) played by JPP from Finland (in F, we play it in D)

Conscription, a French bagpipe tune played by Villeux du Bourbonnais

Jucheti Consuelito, Mexican Son played by Maria McCullough & Paul

Chirps Smith Is Our Next Guest

When I started the Fiddle Club of the World (Chicago Chapter) in the spring of 2008, our second featured guest was my old pal and band buddy, Lynn Chirps Smith from LaGrange, Wisconsin. (Of course, we all know he was raised in Charleston, Illinois and spent many years in Grayslake.) Fittingly, Chirps will be the second featured guest in the new incarnation of Fiddle Club in the back room of the Grafton Pub & Grill (4530 N. Lincoln) on Monday, December 10. Come join us at 8pm for a Set* and a Session.** We plan on doing this every 2nd Monday of the month.

Dec. 10, 8pm
Chirps Smith

Another guest the fiddle section of the storied Volo Bogtrotters. (Fred Campeau was last month’s guest.)

* A set of tunes, songs, and chat with a featured guest, followed by
** a jam session for all players.


***There will be a donation jar to compensate the Featured Guest.

Come join the fun. So many tunes still to play.

Like this one, from April 2008.

– Paul Tyler, convener, Chicago Chapter

Fiddle Club is all the way back!

I am very pleased to announce that after some dormancy, the Fiddle Club of the World (Chicago Chapter) is back with a regular schedule. Starting November 12 at 8pm, we will have a Set* and a Session** with a Featured Guest*** every 2nd Monday of the month at the Grafton Pub & Grill (4530 N. Lincoln).

Nov. 12, 8pm
Fred Campeau

Dec. 10, 8pm
Chirps Smith

Representing the fiddle section of the storied Volo Bogtrotters


* A set of tunes, songs, and chat with a featured guest, followed by
** a jam session for all players.

***There will be a donation jar to compensate the Featured Guest.


Come join the fun. So many tunes. So little time.

– Paul Tyler, convener, Chicago Chapter


Fiddlepalooza 2018: Fiddle Club Is Back

Fiddle Club of the World (Chicago Chapter)
presents a Fiddlepalooza
(* see below)
Tuesday, October 9, 7:30
Room # E324, Old Town School of Folk Music (4545 Lincoln)
Registration $25 (free for students registered in Tuesday night fiddle classes this session)

Learn traditional dance tunes from Austria from

Theresa Aigner – violin                Marie-Theres Stickler – button accordion
from Vienna and Upper Austria      from Salzburg, in Lower Austria

Both are members of Die Tanzgeiger (The Dance Fiddlers), a roots music band of long-standing from Vienna. The band’s leader, Rudi Pietsch visited a number of Old Town School fiddle classes over the course of a session in the Spring of 2010. He was also a featured artist at a Fiddle Club of the World meeting. A few years later, he and Marie-Theres poked their heads in Old Time Ensemble class and yodeled for us. Now we get to spend an evening with Marie-Theres and Theresa and learn a few traditional melodies from the Alps. This is a great chance for an up close experience with musicians who are passionate about the old-time music of their culture.

Note: Die Tanzgeiger will be part of the World Music Wednesday Concert on Oct. 10.

* This is Fiddle Club’s third Fiddlepalooza in which we partner with the Old Town School of Folk Music’s Tuesday night fiddle classes in bringing special guests to the students, while opening workshop participation to all who are interested. The first Fiddlepazalooza in 2010, which took place 2 days after Rudi Pietsch’s Fiddle Club visit, featured Paul Brown & the Mostly Mountain Boys from North Carolina along with the Polka Chicks from Finland. Our second Fiddlepalooza, in 2015, featured Mette Jensen & Kristian Bugge from Denmark. Both events were great fun. A memorable highlight was the 28 fiddlers in a circle on stage in the concert hall playing the tune just learned from Kristian.

Tunes from Spencer & Rains

Tricia Spencer & Howard Rains
Fiddle Club of the World meeting

(aka concert & jam session)
Thursday, June 22 – Admission $20
Atlantic Bar & Grill (5062 Lincoln in Chicago)

Music starts at 7:30. Come for the concert. Stay and play and learn a tune or two. All instruments and all listeners welcome.

Antelope Gap key of D

Mowing the Meadow key of A

Sally Ann key of G

Both Tricia Spencer and Howard Rains grew up in fiddling families in the center of the U.S. Tricia is from Lawrence, Kansas. Howard is from East Texas. The merging of the formidable talents on multiple instruments has produced a great musical whole, larger than the mere sum of the parts. Their twin fiddling is a treat not to be missed.

Check out the videos on their website. Scroll down after enjoying the lovely photos and Howard’s artworks.

Paul Tyler-convener

Tunes from Ken Keppeler & Jeanie McLerie

Ken Keppeler & Jeanie McLeri
Friday, May 12, 7:30pm

Seman Violins (4447 Oakton, Skokie)
Admission $20

Jerusalem, learned from the Lewis Family of Crowflat, New Mexico and Del City, Texas

Vals Vicente Arragon, learned from Vicente Arragon of Cuba, New Mexico

And some tunes learned from Elliot Johnson & the Gu’Achi Fiddlers, of the Tohono O’odham Nation

Libby Bird Song Mazurka

Sonora Church-Purple Lillies Polka

And here are some YouTube videos . . .
Ken & Jeanie playing a Cajun tune

A 1/2 hour documentary on Cleofes Ortiz, Violinista de Nuevo Mexico, the source of the Fiddle Club Orchestra’s Valse de los Paños

More Fiddle Club Guests for 2017

Bayou Seco

aka Ken Keppeler & Jeanie McLerie

Fiddle Club of the World meeting (aka concert & jam session)

Friday, May 12 – Admission $20
Seman Violins (4447 Oakton in Skokie) 

Music starts at 7:30. Come for the concert. Stay and play and learn a tune or two. All instruments and all listeners welcome.

Ken & Jeanie bring loving attention to little known musical wonders of the Amermican Souths, from Cajun waltzes to Tohono O’odham polkas and Mexicano rancheros to Cowboy ballads and other folk songs. Go to this YouTube video to listen to their performance of a Fiddle Club favorite, Purple Lillies Polka

Spencer & Rains

aka Tricia & Howard

Thursday, June 22

Fiddle Club meeting with a concert & jam/workshop

Location to be announced

Featuring old-time tunes from Texas, the Central Plains, and other corners of America. Check out these videos for a great guitar-fiddle duet and some sublime twin fiddling. There are more videos on their website linked above.

More Fiddle Club Events
Friday, April 28: Barn Dance with the Fiddle Club of the World Orchestra
Paul Tyler will teach and call the figures at The Social
Old Town School of Folk Music (4545 Lincoln), 7:30, more info here

Wednesday, June 21: Fiddle Tunes Jam for Make Music Chicago
6 to 8pm in the Welles Park Gazebo. Like it on Facebook.

Tunes from Steve Gibons

Steve Gibons – Sunday, March 12, 7:00pm
Steve Gibons
Violinist Steve Gibons is the leader of the Gypsy Ryhthm Project, a unique mix of Western jazz and the rich sounds of Romany music from Roumania and Bulgaria.

The concert this night will be a solo demonstration. in a intimate, conversational setting, of the Klezmer, Balkan and Romany music on the violin. The workshop that follows will some common style elements and ornamentation in these music styles, such as found in these two tunes:

Taqsim Ravelnikov
“This one,” says Steve, “starts with a ‘taqsim’, I will go over the ornaments and special tunings of the scales in the workshop.”

Cimpoi Suite
“Here’s a recording that starts with a phrase containing the Klezmer ‘kretch’ or crying sound.”

This event will also be webcast on Concert Window.

You do not have to be a fiddler to participate in Fiddle Club of the World. We joyously welcome all musicians and all listeners.