Jim Kimball on History of NYS Dance and Fiddling
Jim Kimball, Lecturer of Music and Conductor of String Band at SUNY Geneseo, gave a presentation/lecture at William B. Ogden Library, Walton, NY, on June 20, 2019 on the history of New York State fiddlers and dance music with special emphasis on this region, the Western Catskills. Listeners learned about many of the tunes typically used for square dancing from the 1800s to the present and how both the music and the dance calls changed over time. Local and area fiddlers, including Grant Rogers, and dance bands were highlighted through photos, audio recordings, excerpts from historical diaries and newspapers, dance cards, and written music samples. Go to the transcript of lecture or to the video of the event.
Ira McIntosh on Grant Rogers Legacy of Song
Concert/Workshop at William B. Ogden Library, 42 Gardiner Place, Walton, NY on August 9, 2017, local area singer/guitarist Ira McIntosh performed several traditional songs associated with Grant Rogers and talked about Grant’s life as a songmaker. (Grant was called by some people “Songmaker of the Catskills.”) Some of the songs were ones Grant had learned from fellow musicians, for example, “Puttin’ on the Style;” others were songs Rogers composed himself, such as “The Story of Pat McBraid” and “Cannonsville Dam.” Audience members were invited to sing with Ira on the chorus of a couple of the songs. Ira also discussed Grant Rogers' influence on Ira’s music life. The event ended with several area musicians joining Ira in a jam session.
In November of 2018, four short videos were created from the material recorded at that workshop. All four videos can be found on the website under video. (With each video, you will also find a way to hear Ira singing the complete song.)
Improbable Community by Bill Horne
Camp Woodland was located near Phoenicia, NY from 1939-1962 and is remembered as a place where city campers and local neighbors celebrated music, history and folklore. Author Bill Horne, himself a camper for 10 years, documents the history of the camp and the profound effect it had on campers as well as their local neighbors, who were honored for their skills and arts. Founder Norman Studer sought area musicians and artists and in the process discovered Walton’s Grant Rogers, who then performed regularly at the camp from 1950 through 1962. Meeting Pete Seeger and other folk musicians helped Grant appreciate more fully the songs and dances of his own area.
To read a transcript of Bill Horne’s workshop at the Walton B. Ogden Library on 9/14/18, click here.
The Western Catskills of New York State is a region with a rich cultural history as shown in its music, dancing and storytelling. The life and work of Grant Rogers along with other musicians from the early and mid-twentieth century exemplify this history, much of which is in danger of being lost. Two organizations, Music on the Delaware and the William B. Ogden Free Library, are sponsoring an effort to preserve this cultural history with this website through interviews, music, and photography and to support activities that carry on the spirit of this evolving cultural legacy.
Go to archives for more info on each item.