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An All-Volunteer Dance Band Makes its Debut.

Saturday, November 29, 2008

Last night, Whole Hog Musical Revue* played our first dance.  It was a multi-family gathering with adults and youngsters at the local YMCA.  They were not an overly critical audience so were able to loosen up and really enjoy it.  But we still wanted to dish up our best.

When we were asked if we would play for this dance we were absolutely tickled. The organizers had a couple of callers and they wanted to do some called mixer dances, and then have us fill in the rest of the evening from our repertoire.  It was a really fun mix of tunes and rhythyms, but it was a lot more work than we imagined.  We played a good deal faster and harder than we expected we would.  We learned that we really need a bass player and that we need to be ready to play faster without getting too loose.

We kicked off the dance with Mr. Fisher's Old German Waltz, followed by an interesting dance set to a medley of Butterfly Waltz and Little Brown Jug. We played reels, rags,  polkas, schottisches, and waltzes.  The diverse mix of music included tunes and songs like Hava Nagila, Salty Dog Rag, Ace of Diamonds, Stegenvals, Pindsvine Reinlender, Norwegian Polka, and Teton Mountain Stomp.  It was a great experience and it firmed up our notion that we will continue to orient our repertoire and our playing style to playing for dances.

*Whole Hog Musical Revue is a loose aggregation of musicians who got together a couple of years ago to organize a weekly jam.  None of us had any idea that we'd be doing this kind of thing back when we started.


A Novice Fiddler's Tune List

Wednesday, March 26, 2008 13 comments

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Playing Since: 2005
Experience Level: Novice

[Jamming] [Socializing] [Helping]

Occupation: Software Developer

Gender: Male
Age: 64

My Instruments:
#1- Erich Werner 2002

#2 - My grandfather's fiddle, a German trade fiddle, ca. 1890

#3 - Glaesel viola - just what I need, another instrument to learn.

Favorite Bands/Musicians:
Too many faves to list: - rexcent influences include:

Beth Rotto & Foot-Notes Dance Band
Minnesota Scandinavian Ensemble
Paul Dahlin & the American Swedish Institute Spelmanslag
Chirps Smith
Julane Lund
Leonard Finseth
Rhys Jones & Christina Wheeler
Bruce Molsky
Jimmy Triplett
Bob Holt
Garry Harrison

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Created 3/21/2008
Last Visit 3/29/2011

My grandfather, Willie Grindland, was a Norwegian-American fiddler who farmed in Highland Prairie, MN. He often played his fiddle for farmhouse dances "(house sweats") in the area. I became interested in fiddling when I inherited his fiddle a few years ago. Unfortunately, I never heard Willie play his fiddle, but part of my journey has been trying to discover what sorts of dance tunes he might had in his repertoire.

This region was settled heavily by Scandinavians, and around here the term "old time music" refers to the waltzes, schottisches, and polkas that were played and danced to throughout the region until the tradition slowly faded away during the 30's and 40's. Thanks to the effort of collectors like Beth Rotto, Leroy Larson, and others, some of these old tunes survive today. It is here that I feel musically "at home".

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