Welcome Katie Gotshall !!

Greetings fellow musicians! Although you might know me as “that clarinet girl,” I thought you might like to know a little more about your new secretary. I started playing piano when I was in elementary school and clarinet when I was twelve years old. I really wanted to play a stringed instrument, but I went to a school with a band and no orchestra, so that was not an option. As far back as I can remember, my favorite part of the county fair was going to the “pioneer pavilion” and watching the volunteers spin yarn, make corn husk dolls, dance, and play old time music. I would stand in front of the musicians for hours (or at least for as long as my parents would let me), taking in their songs and strums and feeling the pure joy of the music engulf me.

Katie Gotshall, Old TIme Clarinet playerI played piano and clarinet all through school and college. As an adult, I found community bands and organizations to play with. I played in classical settings and jazz settings, but it wasn’t until I moved to Washington that I actually met and played with old time musicians. Immediately I was swept back to my childhood and the pure love of music consumed me. With plenty of community encouragement, I started playing my clarinet in the old-time fiddle community. I found that I could use my improvisation training from Jazz bands to embellish these lively old fiddle tunes with my unusual instrument. I danced and played at contra and square dances and I finally picked up a violin to start learning the instrument I wished for as a kid.

When we moved from downtown Seattle to Puyallup, I realized that there were old time groups closer to my new home, and I ventured off to find District 8. I couldn’t have imagined a more welcoming and loving place to be. I immediately joined their dance band and thoroughly enjoyed every district meeting and jam I attended. I headed off to Fiddle Camp for the first time in 2017, determined to get better at my fiddle playing, but my clarinet always came too. I loved Fiddle Camp so much, I joined the camp committee the very next year and tried to bring the perspective of “the new person” to the group.

The more I have become involved with WOTFA, the more responsibility I feel to keep the music, the dancing, the traditions, and the friendship alive and thriving. This year has been crazy for everyone. I cried when we canceled Fiddle Camp. I’ve missed my meetings and my band practices. However, as I recently told one of the music teachers I know, we will get to the other side of this. It will end. And we will see each other again soon. Soon, I’ll get to meet you in person, and we can play some tunes together.

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