By: Carol Matza | Category: In Our Communities | Issue: September 2019
Shelby Eicher, Inductee.
The 2019 National Fiddler Hall of Fame (NFHoF) class of inductees have been selected. On Friday, Sept. 27, the best of the best in fiddle playing will be honored at the annual induction gala held at the Oklahoma Jazz Hall of Fame in Tulsa. Among this year’s prestigious lineup of inductees are, master fiddler and beloved Tulsa musician, composer, teacher and recording artist Shelby Eicher, renowned Texas-style fiddler Jim “Texas Shorty” Chancellor and five-time National Fiddle Champion, Scotty Stoneman (Posthumous), The Special Recognition Award will go to Jody Naifeh, founder of Tulsa Honors Orchestra.
The National Fiddler Hall of Fame hosts the annual induction ceremony and gala to pay homage to those outstanding fiddle players who contribute greatly to the art of fiddle music.
“It is an honor and a privilege to induct these talented musicians who are the very essence of what the NFHoF represents,” said Bob Fjeldsted, president of the Tulsa based organization.
A strong musical heritage is noted throughout the history of each of this year’s inductees. Eicher grew up in Northern Ohio playing square dances with his mom, dad and grandmother. The band consisted of his grandmother and the Fulton County Sand Shifters. As a member of Roy Clark’s band for 15 years, Shelby recorded five albums with Roy and appeared numerous times on The Tonight Show and Hee Haw. Shelby is a member of the Tulsa Playboys and the Western Swing band, Sycamore Swing. He currently performs 20 times per month and teaches fiddle, mandolin and guitar to 30 students.
Cherokee Maidens and Sycamore Swing will be performing a full concert.
Born in 1943 in Dallas County, Texas, Jim “Texas Shorty” Chancellor’s career started at the age of seven when his father brought home a mandolin. By the age of nine, he was playing mandolin over KTER radio with his brother Allen, where he became “Shorty” of “The Texas Al and Shorty Show.” When in his teens, Chancellor heard the Texas fiddling of World Champion fiddler Benny Thomasson, causing him to put away his mandolin and begin to learn fiddle under Thomasson’s direct tutelage.
Scotty Stoneman originally learned to play from his maternal grandfather Bill Frost, a traditional fiddler from southwest Virginia. Growing up in the Maryland suburbs he played in an early incarnation of the Stoneman Family band called “Pop Stoneman and the Little Pebbles” and then formed the Bluegrass Champs which included his sisters, Roni and Donna and his brothers Jimmy and Van. Scotty’s sisters, Roni and Donna will be performing at the Sept. 27 event.
Jody Naifeh, the 2019 Special Recognition Award recipient, started learning to play the violin/fiddle at the age of seven from her sister Jean Moore. Naifeh resides in the Tulsa area and is the founder of Tulsa Honors Orchestra. She played with the Tulsa Philharmonic for eight years in the 1950’s.
The dynamic bluegrass trio, Cherokee Maidens will be headlining the evening along with their star-studded band Sycamore Swing, which includes inductee Shelby Eicher. Here’s what Cherokee Maiden’s Robin Macy and Sycamore Swing guitarist and bandleader Kentucky White (who also happens to be Robin’s husband) had to say about Eicher, “No matter the style or complexity, Shelby Eicher always makes beautiful music. With a smile. This musical prodigy is the whole package - a consummate player who loves to share and educate along the way.”
VIP tickets are $500 per table (seats 8), $65 for individuals. VIP seating includes dinner and a pre-show featuring the bluegrass band, Spring Street. Regular seating - $25 in advance and $30 at the door the night of the show. Tickets are available at Eventbrite. The gala begins at 7:30 p.m., VIP pre-show and dinner at 6:30 p.m. For more information, visit nationalfiddlerhalloffame.org.
Pre-Show performance by Spring Street.
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