Hello Fiddle Fans,

The 41st Annual TOTFA Convention and Contest is behind us now, and I feel that it went very well. Member attendance wasn’t as good as I had wished for, but that is something the board of directors will discuss and try to improve upon in the future. I would also like the members to give their input on this as well.

A big thanks goes out to the McPherson family for all that they do, and for allowing us to tie our convention to the Dale McPherson Memorial Contest. We had a great turnout in the two youth divisions. I appreciate all the parents who bring their kids out and support fiddling. I also want to thank Jason Andrew, Clayton Bankston, and Shorty Chancellor for the job that they did in the difficult task of judging, and to Valerie Ryals for keeping things moving as the emcee. Additionally, thanks to the rest of the board of directors and volunteers for making this contest run smoothly.

The main content of the business meeting involved the revisions of our bylaws, contest rules, and financial disclosure. All of these items can be viewed on our website. Two things that I am particularly proud of, is that we are in better shape financially than we were a year ago and our membership is also up significantly.

One more thing that I would like to express to the parents of our youth divisions. I have expressed my appreciation for you bringing your kids to contests, lessons, recitals, etc. and am sincere in my appreciation. I know from experience with my own daughter, how time consuming and financially challenging it can be, but I would like to ask one more thing of you. There is a significant drop in audience numbers after the end of the youth Division. I know you all have busy schedules, as do I, and you have things that you need or like to do when you leave. I ask you to please stick around and expose your children to the older fiddle players. You may not realize the importance of it, but this is how these kids are going to develop their own styles and their own identities as musicians. Even the very youngest kids, whether you think they are listening or not, are picking up on what they are hearing from the more accomplished musicians. Any teacher in this, or any genre of music, would tell you that students need to hear multiple versions of these tunes, and multiple styles, so that they can develop their own style. As they develop as musicians, they need to stand apart from one another. Developing kids musically is a subject that I am passionate about, and could bore you with it for much longer if you were to allow it, so I’ll end it here. I would be glad to bore you on a more personal level when I see you, if you would like!

Thanks again to everyone in attendance at Glen Rose, and I’m looking forward to seeing you all soon.

Bart Baker


Stay in tune,

Bart Baker


TOTFA Balance Sheet...

Opening TOTFA Account Balance as of 10/25/2014 $6,398.15
Membership Revenue (currently active members) + 1,066.59
T-Shirt Sales + 325.00
Advertisement Revenue + 90.00
Subtotal $7,879.74
TOTFA Convention Trophies & Plaques - 477.77
TOTFA Convention Judges & MC - 1,200.00
TOTFA Convention Prize Money Contribution - 3,000.00
Ending TOTFA Account Balance as of 12/22/2014 $3,201.97

The Devil's Box...

The Devil's Box available for purchase here!The Devil's Box is a fast paced jam-packed look at the world of contest fiddling. Every year contestants from all over the United States flock to the town of Hallettsville, Texas, to compete for the title of best Texas-style fiddler. Featuring performances from some of the greatest legends of American roots music, The Devil’s Box explores the beginnings of the art form and showcases the rising talents that will dominate the traditional music scene for years to come. The Devil’s Box is an instant classic, filled with fantastic music and great family fun. The 3-disc set includes:

Disc 1: The Devil's Box documentary, an 84-minute look at the world of contest fiddling and all of the major players involved. Bonus features include an extended history section of Texas-style, a four-minute movie of the Hallettsville Bar-BQ Cook-Off, Song Writers Serenade featurette, and an interview with the director Jason Hammond and producer Beth Jasper

Disc 2: The Devil's Box Bonus Disc features 42 complete fiddle tunes played by contestants from around the country as well as performances by Larry Franklin, Texas Shorty, and many, many more.

Disc 3 The Lost Benny Thomasson Tapes: This disc is a wonderful hour-long interview with the master himself, Benny Thomasson. Benny tells the story of Texas-style as only he knows it and plays 19 tunes like only he can. This interview from 1976 has been cleaned up and remastered and is the ideal tutorial for any fiddler who wants to hear the tunes exactly as Benny played them and learn some fascinating fiddle history along the way.

To buy the 3-disc set, click the "Buy Now" button below. You may pay with a credit card or a PayPal account. Thank you for your support! And spread the word about The Devil's Box - the happy documentary!


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