Hi Everyone! For March, 2021 District 9, which is Thurston and Lewis Counties are currently in Phase 2 of the Governors “Healthy Roadmap to Recovery’ criteria. The last assessment of Covid metrics was on February 11, 2021 with all four metrics looking good, especially the overall Covid case rate being down 40% statewide. This is really good news and we are hoping for continuing improvement when the metrics are evaluated again on February 25th, with a possible movement into another phase on February 28th.

Right at the moment, no phases other than 1 & 2 have been defined, so we don’t know what that will look like when DOH makes a decision to advance a region beyond Phase 2, but as soon as we have more information I will let everybody know. I’m hopeful that we will be able to begin meeting for in-person jams in at least a limited fashion in March or April, but much will depend on metrics.

In the meantime, be sure your WOTFA dues are up to date, because FiddleCamp registration will be online again this year, and although it’s not absolutely certain that it will be happening, plans are underway for FiddleCamp 2021 with classes being planned and instructors being lined up. Any District 9 WOTFA members under age 18 are eligible to attend FiddleCamp with a tuition scholarship paid by the District, so please let me know if you or a family member qualify. I would like to have an idea of how many scholarships we will need by the time registration rolls around in April.

And don’t forget about the online music learning classes on the WOTFA website!

Each ‘Tune of the Month’ is being taught online by Deb Collins, a fiddle teacher who lives in Lacey. The website for WOTFA online music learning is lms.wotfa.org If you would like to be an instructor for one of the classes please let Bill Crabtree know. We need lots of classes of every type available, and you may be able to contribute more than you realize!

Since it’s the month of March, our big holiday is St Patrick’s Day, and if it weren’t for Covid, I know we would be busy learning and playing all kinds of Irish and Celtic tunes. And even though we can’t gather as a group quite yet, it is still possible to work on Irish fiddle tunes, and especially learning and improving our ability to use Irish ornamentations in the tunes we play.

Adding ornamentations can take a pretty standard tune like the Kesh Jig, and move it into the lively and near-spectacular category, but theses techniques take time and practice to play them well. If you’re like me, you love Irish tunes but don’t always have a way to do in-depth study of this unique and popular musical genre. So this month I’m going to review a book by Irish Fiddle teacher Anthea Lawrence called ‘Learn Irish Fiddle Tunes Volume I

Originally published in 2001, It contains standard notation music for Jig medleys, Reel medleys and one hornpipe. Also included is a CD with each of the tunes recorded at three speeds to make learning the tunes by ear much easier.

There is lots of instruction on types of Irish tunes, how to learn them, how to play them and very focused instructions on learning the three most common types of Irish ornamentation: the cut, the roll and the bow triple. She also includes practical tips, wisdom and commentary that help you learn the content quickly.

All the tunes in the book are commonly played in the Pacific Northwest, so learning them will help you jump right into an Irish tune jam at FiddleCamp this summer. The tunes included in the book are:

Jig Medley;

1. The Road to Lisdoonvarna-Em

2. Tobins Favorite-D

3. Morrison’s Jig-D

Reel Medley #1

1. Ships are Sailing-D

2. Star of Muenster-Am

Reel Medley #2

1. The Merry Blacksmith-D

2. Cooley’s Reel-Em


Chief O’Neill’s Favorite-D

Irish Aire:

Chanter’s Tune-Am

Although written music is included with the book, she encourages students to learn Celtic music by ear whenever possible, and not hold to the written version too rigidly, but put your own signature on the music you have learned.

Finding a copy of this book can be hit and miss since it was published some time ago. The best way may be to contact Anthea directly. The most up-to-date

email I have for her is antheafiddle@msn.com Although no longer living in Olympia, she still gives workshops and her albums with the groups ‘Fiddlehead’ and Slainte (Gaelic for good health or ‘cheers’) are widely available.

And here is a playlist for the month of March;

1) ‘The Misty Dawn Trio’ (Misty Molly + Foxy Mary + My Darling Asleep)

Jay Ungar & Molly Mason from the album ‘The Lovers Waltz’

2) ‘The Contradance’ (The Road We Traveled + Wizards Walk)

Jay Ungar & Molly Mason ‘The Lovers Waltz’ Album

3) ‘Road To Spencer’ by Ricky Skaggs from ‘The Three Pickers’ album

4) ‘Folk Medley’ (O’Sullivan’s March + The Cuckhold Comes Out of the Amery

+ Mother Hen + Mary Scott + Nancy Dawson) from the motion picture

soundtrack from ‘Master and Commander’ 2003

5) ‘The Kesh Jig’, Si Bheag, Si Mor + The Snowy Path, ‘The Silver Spear’, Anthea Lawrence & Fiddlehead from the album ‘Slainte’

6) ‘Star of the County Down’ (Fiddlehead) album ‘Slainte Mohr’

7) ‘Fanny Power’ (Fiddlehead) ‘Cup of Tea’ album

8) ‘Swallowtail Jig’ (Fiddlehead)

9) ‘Storms Are On the Ocean’ Earl Scruggs, Doc Watson & Ricky Skaggs from

The Three Pickers’ album

10) ‘Shades of Green’ album by Jamie Laval

This playlist is by no means exhaustive, just some fun tunes that I enjoy listening to and playing. Many of them have made their way into the contradance repertoire in this area as they really great dance tunes. I hope you can give them a try.

So until we can see each other face to face, be well and keep practicing!

Christie Easter

District 9 Chair





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