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:


Fiddle Club of the World Orchestra

Will provide music for a Barn Dance at the Old Town School of Folk Music on Friday December 2, 2016. The dance runs from 7:30 to 9:30. Paul Tyler will be the caller.

For more info on The Social, click here, and scroll down a little.

The Orchestra will rehearse at our revived monthly jam at Gideon Welles (4500 Lincoln) on Sunday, November 20 at 7pm. Another rehearsal will be scheduled for the Sunday of Thanksgiving weekend.

If you want to be in the Fiddle Club Orchestra, you must know these tunes.
They can all be found on the pages linked above: First Tunes for Jams and More Tunes for James.
Big Betty *
Devil in the Hay Stack *
Golden Slippers *
Snouts and Ears of America *
Hast Schottische *
Storm *
Sullivan’s Polka/Britches Full of Stitches *
Walk Old Show, Heel Come A-Dragging *

Also, it is strongly urged that you learn these:
Vidar’s Vals *
Valse de Los Panos *
Tacco e Punta (aka Heel and Toe Polka or Pattycake Polka)
The Seven Step
Sekmannsril (Soldier’s Joy with a 3rd part)

* Notation can be found in the PDFs or JPEGs linked on First Tunes for Jams and More Tunes for James.

5th Annual Battle of the Bands

The 5th annual Battle of the Bands, sponsored by the Fiddle Club of the World, will be held in Szold Hall at the Old Town School of Folk Music (4545 N. Lincoln) in Chicago on Saturday, July 9, 7-9pm. Part of the Square Roots Festival.

3 bands, 2 hours of dancing, intermittent dance lessons, big fun

The winning band is the one that best fills the floor with dancers. Vote with your feet.

All competing bands regularly play for dancing, but not all feature fiddles. However, the number of fiddlers in the competing bands balances out.Teresa Shine Trio
Teresa Shine Trio
with Jim Dewan on guitar & Mike Austin on bodhran
Irish music : Raised on the South side of Chicago, an area rich in Irish culture, Teresa was first introduced to Irish traditional music from Phil Durkin, an Immigrant from County Sligo, Ireland, who taught her how to play the fiddle. Growing up, she and her siblings spent many years playing with Phil along with the Irish musicians of Chicago at the Ceilis, sessions, and Irish music events locally, nationally, and back in Ireland. in more recent years, she has spent much of her time being a musician for Irish Dancing competitions (feiseanna) and performances, some of which have taken her to World Folk Festivals as a musician for the Trinity Irish Dancers. Currently, She leads a monthly session at Connolly’s in Oak Park and teaches Irish music classes at the Old Town School of Folk music, Chicago Gaelic Park, and Saint John Fisher school in Chicago.

Jafra (Name of a character in Palestinian folk songs>
Ronnie Malley – oud, Dusan Simic – woodwinds & percussion,
Hamze Allham – vocals & shibaba & Ahmed Hamad – dance teacher
The Palestinian members of the group hail from Al-Quds/Jerusalem and Gaza. Ahmad Hamad, the dance instructor, has studied traditional dabke steps and teaches at various workshops around the area and across the country. Ronnie Malley performs, among other instruments, oud and vocals. Ronnie performs with a number of different orchestras/groups and has taken special interest in the tradition of Arab Andalusian music. Hamze Allaham is a vocalist and shibaba player, as well as a poet who performs classical Levantine Arab songs, folk melodies, and his own poetry. Dusan Simic performs various traditional woodwind, string, and percussion instruments from the Balkans/Levant, and his specialty is the calgija and village music of Kosovo/Southern Serbia. While these musicians have strong backgrounds in folkloric tradition, they also contribute modern, unique elements to their performances.

Fiddle Club of the World (Chicago Chapter)
Fiddle Club of the World (Chicago Chapter)
Judy Higgins, Mitzi Lebensorger, Rebecca Brooke Skrede, Vidar Skrede on fiddle
Othello Anderson on flute, Rene Cardoza on vihuela, Gail Tyler on bass
Paul Tyler on fiddle, dance teacher
American, Nordic and Mexican music. Simple set and couple dances from three fiddle-crazy parts of the world: Norway, Mexico, and the US of A. The Chicago Chapter was formed in 2008, and has since hosted 58 guest musicians from 10 countries and 21 US States representing 16 ethnic music traditions and numerous distinctive styles of fiddling. The Chicago Chapter holds monthly jam session to play tunes learned from our guests and other sources.

A Fiddle Calendar for a Chicago Summer

Upcoming Fiddle Club of the World (and other) events
lots and lots of happenings, starting in April

Sunday, April 17, 7-9pm: monthly jam at Gideon Welles (4500 N. Lincoln)

Friday, April 22, 7:30pm: Harry Bolick guests at Fiddle Club of the World
at Seman Violins (4447 W. Oakton in Skokie)

Friday, April 29, 8:30pm: Big Shoulders Square Dance with Cook County Revelers & Tamara Loewenthal

Saturday, April 30, daytime: fiddle & banjo workshops with Bruce Molsky
& clogging workshop with Tamara Loewenthal
(see Old Town School of Folk Music workshop listings)

Saturday, April 30, 8pm: Bruce Molsky in concert at the Old Town School of Folk Music

Sunday, May 15, 7-9pm: monthly jam at Gideon Welles (4500 N. Lincoln)

Thursday, June 16, 7:30pm: Lydom, Bugge & Høirup, Fiddle Club guests from Denmark
at Seman Violins (4447 W. Oakton in Skokie)

Sunday, June 19, 7pm: Betse Ellis & Clark Wyatt guest at Fiddle Club of the World
at the Atlantic Bar & Grille (5042 N. Lincoln)

Tuesday, June 21, 6-8pm: Fiddle Club jam for Make Music Chicago 2016
at Winnemac Park, all players are welcome

July 7-10: 14th Midwest Fiddle Championship* and 5th Battle of the Bands
at Square Roots Festival (Lincoln Square in Chicago)
*rumors that a Banjo Division will be included are true

Old-Time Square Dancing in Chicago

A couple of great dances are coming up in the next month or so in the City of Big Shoulders. We’ll call them Big Shoulders Square Dances.

Foghorn String Band plays the first ever Evanston Barn Dance on Monday, November 2. Calling by Bill Sudkamp and DrDosido.
Foghorn square dance
(Click the poster for the Facebook event page.)

Renowned caller, Phil Jamison, will lead you through the figures at Kuhn Barn at Fermilab in Batavia, Illinois on Sunday, November 8 at 6:30pm. Music will be supplied by the Volo Bogtrotters.
Phil Jamison
(Click Phil’s picture for more information).

Can I Get an Amen plays the Global Dance Party at the Old Town School of Folk Music on Friday, December 4 at 8:30pm. Calling by DrDosido (aka Paul Tyler)
Can I Get an Amen 3
(Click the band’s picture for ticket information.)

No experience needed to enjoy any of these great dances. All figures will be taught. Merriment is encouraged.

4th Annual Battle of the Bands

The 4th annual Battle of the Bands, sponsored by the Fiddle Club of the World, will unfold in Szold Hall at the Old Town School of Folk Music (4545 N. Lincoln) in Chicago on Saturday, July 11, 7-9pm. Part of the Square Roots Festival.

3 bands, 2 hours of dancing, intermittent dance lessons, big fun

The winning band is the one that best fills the floor with dancers. Vote with your feet.

Nota Bene: Once again, all competing bands feature fiddlers.
Jim Stoynoff

 Jim Stoynoff’s Greek Band
 Izaki Metropoulos on violin
 Greek music
 An Iron Heart artist

Juan Rivera



Juan Rivera
con Los Condenados Huastecos
Mexican/Son Huasteca
An Iron Heart artist

White Mule



 Genevieve Koester
 with White Mule
 Old-Time Square Dance tunes
 White Mule

13th Midwest Fiddle Championship

Presented by the Chicago Chapter of
the Fiddle Club of the World

Part of the Old Town School of Folk Music’s 4th Square Roots Festival.

Once again, prizes will be given for the top 3 contestants in each of 3 categories: Open Division Solo, Open Division Team, and Youth Division. There are a limited number of openings for this years contest. Contestants must register by July 6, 2012.

Youth Division First Round
Wednesday, July 8, 6:30pm, Szold Hall in Old Town School East (4545 Lincoln)
Youth under 16 compete as teams or solo

Open Division First Round & Youth Finals
Thursday, July , 6:30pm, Maurer Hall in Old Town School West (4544 Lincoln)
Separate Fiddle Team and Fiddle Solo categories

Open Division Finals
Saturday, July 11, 1:30pm, Maurer Hall
Plus winner of the Youth Division

Prizes, Rules and online Registration form can be found at

And later on Saturday night, we’ll do the 4th annual

Battle of the Bands
July 11, 7-9pm, in Szold Hall featuring
several Iron Heart Artists, including Liz Carroll, Juan Rivera & Jim Stoynoff

Paul Tyler, convener

Tunes for Make Music Chicago

Sunday, June 21, 2015
Our performance schedule can be found on this post.

Our rehearsal schedule includes 5pm rehearsals at Gideon Welles pub (4500 N. Lincoln) the next 3 Sundays: 5/31, 6/7 and 6/14. We’ll be in the back room. Last Sunday we worked on Brudpolkka efter Edward Öst, Snouts and Ears of America, Polonæse Svøbsk, Walk Old Shoe, and Blackthorn Stick. On the schedule for this Sunday is El Viento, Storm and a couple others.

Y’all are invited to come learn a few tunes and play with us. Here are some aids to help you learn the tunes:
1. A Tune list, with links to downloadble recordings (also a downloadable pdf)
2. A Tunebook in standard music notation
3. ABC notation for the tunes (plus hints how to use ABCs)

And don’t forget. This Sunday (5/31) is also Bluegrass Night at Fiddle Club of the World, with a concert and workshop/jam led by Colby Maddox and Sunnyside Up. Meetings starts at 7pm at Seman Violins in Skokie (4447 W. Oakton). Admission is $15.

-Paul Tyler, convener

Fiddle Club recruits wanted

To play for Make Music Chicago on June 21, 2015.

We have two performances and a fiddle tune jam scheduled. And I imagine that just like last year, we’ll have a load of fun and fellowship to go along with all the tunes. We invite you to join us, whatever you play, at whatever skill level you’re at (as long as you can learn a few tunes.)

We’ll be having rehearsals the next 4 Sundays from 5 to about 7 in the back room at Gideon Welles’s (4500 N. Lincoln). At each rehearsal, we’ll teach a couple of tunes that will be new to some folks, and we’ll review others that are more widely known. If you join us for the Make Music Chicago day, you can play along with all the tunes you know, and enjoy listening to the ones you don’t. Not everyone has to play on every tune.

We’ve prepared a working list of 24 tunes from a multitude of countries and cultures. You can view the list online, as a page on this blog. It contains links to recordings of each tune. Some music notation will also be posted here soon. Or if you prefer, you can download a pdf of the tune list with links.

Tunes to be taught this week include: Snouts and Ears of America, El Viento, Edward Öst Brudpolkka, and Polonæse Svøbsk.

Oh, and here’s a flyer for the Fiddle Tune Jam on June 21. Print it and spread it.

Hope to see you at Gideon Welles this Sunday at 5pm.

-Paul Tyler, convener