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Montana State Old-Time Fiddlers' Association jam in Great Falls

Posted at 10:16 PM, Mar 31, 2024

GREAT FALLS — Traditional western style music survives in Montana thanks to groups like the Montana State Old-Time Fiddlers’ Association.

“The mission statement is to teach children, young people, this traditional fiddle style,” said Diane Stinger, a board member for district eight of the Montana State Old-Time Fiddlers’ Association.

At Cassiopeia Books on Saturday, members of district eight of the Montana State Old-Time Fiddlers’ Association got together for their monthly jam session.

For two hours, western standards resonated throughout the bookstore as the musicians took turns choosing songs and performing together.

Stinger has been playing the fiddle since 1982, and not only loves playing the music herself, but loves seeing the younger generations join in on the classics.

“It’s really cool, and it’s so fun to share something with a kid, you know?” Stinger said, “At fiddle camp, there are people older than me who are just learning, and people who are nine, six, eight, nine, ten, that are just learning. There’s people of all ages.”

For the Association, it is all about the music and the connection that forms through it.

“You’re all sharing the same thing, you know,” Stinger said, “Doesn’t matter how old you are.”

Whether you’re a novice musician or have been playing your whole life, the fiddlers would love to have you sit in on a jam, even if you are not a member of the Association.

“Everybody’s welcome to come and listen or come and try it out,” Stinger said.

Ages between the musicians varied greatly, with the youngest fiddler being only 11 years old, but it was the music that spanned the age gap and connected the generations of players.

More information on the Fiddlers’ Association can be found here.