Mabel Vogt might be called the mother of the “Potlatch sound” in fiddle music.She began this weekend’s Scenic 6 Fiddle Show in 1992, but had been teaching fiddle lessons long before that, which led to her creation of the Junior Jammers.
“That’s a group that I started when I began teaching fiddle out here about 1984, so that my students would have a social opportunity to play together,” Vogt said. “That’s pretty instrumental in the style of music we do. It’s passed on from one person to the next.”
And Vogt has passed her skills through the whole town.
“Everybody I know that plays either learned from Mabel or took lessons from someone that learned from Mabel,” said Stuart Osborne, who plays fiddle but is a guitarist for bluegrass group Forgotten Freight.
Osborne started playing fiddle in the first grade, and Vogt was his teacher. After a year passed, he started playing in Junior Jammers.
“I played all the way until I graduated from high school,” he said.
Junior Jammers is an opportunity for players to improve their skills by performing together, Vogt said.
“Because they have to stick with a steady beat … so they learn to play from beginning to end without stop and to be listening to the others while playing and not just be in their own head,” Vogt said.
By playing for community audiences, she said, “the kids really learn that their music has value and they can serve the public with it and people appreciate what they’re doing. So, it’s really good for their self esteem and confidence to play in public.”
Vogt said they play at the Renaissance Fair, the Pullman Family Fair, various senior centers, nursing homes, Rebecca Hall, Potlatch Days and at the Potlatch senior meal site. The fiddle show is still another chance for the Jammers to branch out.
It’s named for the state Highway 6 scenic byway that runs through Potlatch and out toward Palouse, Vogt said.
The Scenic 6 Fiddle show opens the night with a performance from the Junior Jammers and then, much like an open mic, fiddlers or musicians of any type of stringed instrument, can come up and play old-time or bluegrass music.
“There’s a lot of innovation that’s creative, kind of in the sense that jazz is,” Vogt said in regard to recent fiddle music. “We bring in some other fiddlers for my students to hear, to have them be models.”
Players such as Osborne, and Vogt’s two fiddle-playing daughters will perform.
Last year, Vogt said there were 32 performers, plus 15 volunteers to help put on the show. The Scenic 6 Fiddle Show begins at 6 p.m., while registration begins at 5 p.m. Saturday. If each player performs a couple songs, Vogt said the show should last until about 9:30 p.m.
A donation of $5 for adults is requested at the door. Children under 18 are free. Refreshments by the Potlatch Presbyterian Lutheran Community Youth Group will be available from 5 p.m. through intermission.
Treffry can be contacted at (208) 883-4640 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow her on Twitter at: @LindseyTreffry.
->if you go:
WHAT: Scenic 6 Fiddle Show
WHEN: 5 p.m. registration, 6 p.m. show, Saturday
WHERE: Potlatch High School, Potlatch
COST: $5 suggested adult donation