What’s New

Maine Fiddle Camp

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What’s New?

Jeremiah, Annemieke, and Luke McLane’s house in Strafford, VT burned to the ground on Tuesday night. Luckily, they were not home and no one was hurt. However, they lost all their possessions—including their treasured instruments. Jeremiah is the second MFC staff member (after Kaity) to lose a house to fire this summer.

You can help! There are two ways to donate money:

Online via GoFundMe

By check (payable to “McLane Recovery Fund”) through the United Church of Strafford:

United Church of Strafford Deacons
PO Box 124
Strafford VT 05072

Here are words straight from Jerry:

Dear friends, It’s been 3 days since our house burned down. We are all three safe, and doing ok, considering everything. We want to say thank you for all the support that’s come our way; the outpouring of love is helping us keep going. Bless all of you who’ve reached out and to those holding us in your hearts. And remember to tell those important to you that you love them.

A message from Jeremiah’s sister Tii: Thu 8/6/2020 8:16 PM

Hello everyone. Just to re-cap the events of the last few days. Jeremiah, Annemieke, and Luke McLane’s house burned to the ground on Tuesday night. 5 towns responded to the call, but the house had already collapsed when they arrived, and their energy was focused on putting the fire out. So far there is no word on what caused the fire. Jeremiah, Annemieke, and Luke were away (in Maine) at the time, spared a difficult night, but all the same having to process the loss of so much of their lives. (The fire took Annemieke’s beloved piano and Jeremiah’s instruments, as well as their little son’s baby bass, and a lifetime of music collected.) The outpouring of love and support for the family has been really incredible… thank you all so much for that! A fund has been set up in their name (see below). Lots of other types of offerings have been made and are welcome. We have been keeping track of them so that J/A/L can reach out later as it becomes more clear what they need/want. It will really mean a lot to them that you are all expressing such support. If you have questions you can contact me, Elisabeth McLane <tii.mclane0123@gmail.com>. Thanks again, Tii

United Church of Strafford Deacons
PO Box 124
Strafford VT 05072

You can also donate online through a secure donation portal of the United Church of Strafford. Click below to open the donation window, check “McLane Recovery Fund,” and fill out the other information required by the form. Donations through this portal will go 100 percent into the Mascoma Bank McLane Recovery Fund.

From Bill:

Jerry has been on the MFC staff teaching piano accordion for over a decade. He often anchors the dance band on piano for evening barn dances and is pretty much “everywhere” when at camp. I first remember Jeremiah when the Clayfoot Strutters came to play at one of the very early Downeast Country Dance Festivals. What a mind blowing experience THAT was!!! Here’s a fuzzy video that I took at camp in 2011 that says a lot more about Jerry than I can say in words: https://youtu.be/UfQdYAxJjMg

From his website:

The music of composer, accordionist, and pianist Jeremiah McLane is a unique blend of Franco-American, Celtic, jazz, and roots influenced music. In 1980 Jeremiah started studying Celtic music and began playing the accordion, influenced largely by the Bothy Band and Dedanann. He studied with Chicago accordionist Jimmy Keane and Cape Breton pianist Doug McPhee. In the early 1990s he helped start two bands with strong traditional New England roots: The Clayfoot Strutters and Nightingale, both of which are active today. In 2003 he formed Le Bon Vent, a sextet specializing in Breton and French music. He has recorded nine CDs with these and other musicians.

Here is a (long) list of Jerry’s bands: http://www.jeremiahmclane.com/bands/

Please help out!!! – bill o.


Most of you know from FaceBook that long time MFC staff member, Kaity Newell’s, home in Damariscotta burned to the ground last week. Kaity is fine as are her dogs, cats, chickens, car and fiddle. Everything else is pretty much gone. There is a go fund me campaign started to help Kaity recover from this devastating loss, and you can find that here: www.gofundme.com/f/kaity-newell-fire-recovery I can’t say enough about how big a part Kaity has been in the traditional music scene in Maine for the last 40 years or so. Please help as much as you can!

Going Forward…

Those of you who registered for V-MFC all received a survey form to fill out. If you haven’t done that yet, please do, so we know what we did right and what we could improve on. We will definitely have more Maestro Bistros throughout the summer and there is talk about a “virtual winter MFC”, but no definite plans at this point. There are still “Camper Concert” Virtual Ensemble videos being processed and you can stay informed by watching the website and all news will be carried on the newsletter right here!! And of course, we are still hoping to get back to REAL “in person” live Maine Fiddle Camp in 2021. We will keep you informed right here!!


Well… we ALL did it!! Virtual Maine Fiddle Camp is over and it was an unqualified success. There were close to 500 registered campers and well over 1000 who “stopped by.” (Many stayed!) I’d like to let you know about the “crew” who put this all together. This was unchartered territory, and starting approximately one month before the virtual camp, we pretty much made it up as we went. Some of the MFC staff had familiarity with Zoom meetings and other interactive online platforms. Others had knowledge of YouTube, and others yet were familiar with website design, etc. None had EVER done anything approaching the scope of Virtual Maine Fiddle Camp 2020, but we wanted to give it a try. Read on if you want to know who made this happen… (more…)


Hello Musical Friends!
My family and I have initiated the FIDDLE HELL ONLINE JAM, every Wednesday at 5PM Eastern Time, live streaming on the Fiddle Hell Massachusetts Facebook group. That’s 4PM Central, 3PM Mountain, and 2PM Pacific. We will also jam every Sunday at 8PM Eastern Time. That’s 7PM Central, 6PM Mountain, and 5PM Pacific time.My wife Cindy and I are taking time every day to play tunes together. We’re remembering old ones and learning some new ones. Playing music takes us to a good place . As well, our son Andy and his wife Joy are doing a lot of creative playing, and our son Eric and his fiancée Autumn Rose are never far from their instruments.

Checkout the Fiddle Hell website!

Ashokan Music & Dance Camps Online

Ashokan Music & Dance Camps Online
The Ashokan Center offers interactive online Music & Dance Camps this summer. Attend workshops, concerts, hangouts, sing and play-alongs, and much more. At Western & Swing Week (June 29-July 5), learn vintage Jazz, Swing, Western-Swing, Country, and everything in between. At Northern Week (July 20-26), the focus moves to New England, Québéc, Sweden, France, and the British Isles. Then at Southern Week (August 17-23), it’s Appalachian, Old Time, Cajun and Zydeco music and dancing. Ashokan will also hold Acoustic Guitar Camp (July 29-Aug. 2), Family Camp (Aug. 5-9), and Bluegrass Camp (Aug. 12-16). All 2020 camps are online – learn more & sign up at: ashokan.org

A Step Back in Time with Don Messer

“When we were in our twenties searching out the old-timers who played for the country dances in Maine, all the fiddlers said their idol was Don Messier.  For many decades he kept the fiddle tradition alive and crystallized the regional “downeast” or “Canadian” style of fiddling.  He was an inspiration to them and they all aspired to be as good.  I always admire how he took the local fiddling, dancing and singing traditions from the Maritimes and created a variety show around fiddle tunes.  His Canadian broadcasts were avidly picked up by Mainers. He was an enormous influence throughout Canada and Maine.  Here is a link to some of his shows.”
Fearless leader, Doug


Canadian Reel

A note from Doug:

This is a dance tune we played for many years, along with The Dominion Reel.  It works great and is an intermediate level classic. This tune was first collected by Smokey Mckeen, Greg Boardman, John Gawler, and Bob Childs around 1976 when visiting maritime folklorist -tune collector Gale Huntington in Cape Cod.  He played it for them on a button accordion.
I think it is on the OGG Folkways recording from 1978. — Douglas Protsik


The Grand Life of Upright Piano

       “The Grand Life of Upright Piano”
by John Pranio

(PA Starck Piano Co. est.1891 New York – Chicago)

So here’s the fairly thrilling story of the piano the Oshima boys grew up plunking away on as kids in Whitefield.  Toki’s mother’s old upright was gifted to us early on, and we all enjoyed years of its musical generosity.  We had the old-timer tuned countless times and refurbished more than once. But finally, a couple years before we moved to Belfast, it was beyond repair and it ended up out on the screen porch. Here it hunkered down, functioning as a table of sorts at pot-lucks; a dusty collector of stuff; a plant stand, etc. There, hit by sideways spraying rain or snow, spilled lemonade, or manhandled by a new generation of young musical explorers, it stood, dignified, with unflagging posture. (more…)


Hi Fiddle Campers and prospective Fiddle Campers! As most of you know, the complete 2020 season of MFC has been cancelled due to the coronavirus. *sigh*.. BUT the MFC staff has put together a team to work on a “Virtual Fiddle Camp”. We plan to keep the spirit of MFC alive with live streaming concerts, workshops, presentations, music videos, one on one or group lessons with your favorite instructor, and MORE!! This will definitely be the BEST virtual Fiddle Camp ever!!! You can help to that end by donating with the knowledge that your donation will be going to help underwrite this project and help the MFC staff who are working on the project, many of whom have lost some or all of their livelihood. So keep an eye right here on the website for updates.. Stay safe!!

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