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.

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.

Big Fiddle Stuff in City of Big Shoulders

Leadway Jam Session       Big Shoulders Square Dance

Sunday, November 16:
Last jam session of the year at 7pm at the Leadway Bar & Grill (523 N. Damen).
(Click tune list above for running list of all 2014 jams.)

Friday, November 21 Big Shoulders Square Dance with White Mule.
8:30 Global Dance Party at the Old Town School of Folk Music (4545 N. Lincoln).
Hot fiddling by Genevieve Harrison Koester. Solid old-time backup by Smith Koester, Andy Gribble and Abby Ladin. Callin by Paul Tyler. Dancing by y’all. No experience necessary.
(Click photo above for more information. Tickets available here.)

Old -Time Square Dance with Bowhunter

Friday, May 9
Dancing from 8:30 to 11:00
Old Town School of Folk Music’s Global Dance Party
Szold Hall, 2nd floor of 4545 Lincoln (Chicago)

Music by Bowhunter, a band of young’ns from Kalamazoo and Lansing.
They’re millennials, and they’re good.
Calling by Paul Tyler, an old boomer geezer from Indiana
He guarantees a good time for all, even for those who’ve never square danced before.

Click here for more info or to reserve your spot.

Old-Time Square Dance, May 9

Old-Time Square Dance, May 9

Stuff to Know About

1. Old-Time Square Dance with Bowhunter
A fine young band from Kalamazoo & Lansing
Old Town School of Folk Music’s Global Dance Party
Szold Hall (4545 Lincoln), 8:30-11 on Friday, May 9

(click for larger image)

2. Fiddle Club of the World monthly jams
3rd Sunday of each month, 7 pm
Leadway Bar & Grill (5233 N. Damen)
Open to all fiddlers, players, pickers and listeners

3. 12th Midwest Fiddle Championship is in the works.
At the Old Town School’s Square Roots Festival
Weekend of July 11-13
Details to be announced.

4. Friends of the Fiddle Club is forming!
Pay some attention, learn how you can help,
and what you get out of it. It’ll be good.
I promise.

Fiddle Stuff on the Schedule

Square Dance! (It will make you a better musician.)
In Chicago this Friday (Aug 17) with music by Patt & Possum and calling by Bill Sudkamp. Dancing starts at 8:30 in Szold Hall at Old Town School East (4545 Lincoln). All dances will be taught. No experience necessary.

Square Dance with Patt & Possum

Possum, as many of you know, is Charlie Walden, who was a featured guest at Fiddle Club of the World in February 2011. Patt Plunkett played piano with him then, and will at the Global Dance Party square dance.

Fiddle Club Meetings

Frank Hall
(click here for another view)

Frank Hall
Sunday, Sept. 30, 6:30
Atlantic Bar & Grill (5062 Lincoln)
Frank is a fine old-time fiddler, who once lived in Bloomington, Indiana, where he played with the Easy Street String Band. He now lives in Ireland, where he continues to play American old-time.

jam session
Sunday, October 21, 6:30
Atlantic Bar & Grill (5062 Lincoln)

Rosin your bows.

Gran Baile (Big Dance ) this Friday

Square your sets!

White Mule

NB Text on this eCard is misleading. It’s all square dancing all night long! Every dance will be taught. Dancing starts at 8:30 and runs till 11. (There is not a separate teaching half hour followed by a concert.)

And the music will be fabulous, provided by Genevieve & Smith Koester, who were featured guests at Fiddle Club of the World on April 19, 2010. Here’s a sample from that meeting . . .


Big News

The Fiddle Club of the World is ready to start rolling again. But first this big news (with some fiddle content).

A documentary film I’ve been working on will premiere on WTTW, Channel 11, at 8pm on Thursday, September 15. I was music supervisor for
The Hayloft Gang: The Story of the National Barn Dance
and also wrote the lead article for the companion book of the same name. I’m excited.

Hayloft Gang-the book

And if you get excited too, you should check out the online video contest modeled after the National Barn Dance-sponsored Home Talent Shows. You could win fabulous prizes for playing old-time music. You should check it out. (Just click the ‘prizes’ link above.)

Fiddle Club Schedule for Fall 2011
All meetings on Sundays at 6:30pm at the Atlantic Bar & Grill (5062 Lincoln)

September 18: jam session with some teaching.
(I’ll share a Czech tune and a Métis tune I just learned.)

October 23: Fred Campeau, featured guest
(A Volo Bogtrotter and one of the best square dance fiddlers in Chicago)

November 20: dance band practice
(because we’re going to have another dance)

December 11: Michi Regier with Peasants Abroad
a musical trip to Ukraine

Details to follow.
Paul Tyler, convener