As the first barn was nearing completion at the Ely Stage Stop & Country Museum, it became clear that the museum would be much more than simply a place for the public to enjoy its wonderful displays and historical artifacts. Lake County has a bounty of talented musicians and dreams were being fulfilled that would celebrate these local musicians and the American music heritage from the Ely Stage Stop Victorian Era.
Don Coffin contacted Greg Dills, Ely Stage Stop Director, in 2013 looking for a place for the California Old Time Fiddlers’ Association’s District 10 to play. District 10 serves Sonoma, Lake and Mendocino counties. Coffin attended a docent meeting and when asked if his group would be interested in meeting at the stage stop to jam sometime, he gave an enthusiastic positive response. A decision was made on the spot and the dialogue moved to firming up a plan. The porch and/or barn were offered, the first Sunday of the month was chosen and, as we like to say at the museum, the rest is history.
The mission of District 10 of the California Old time Fiddlers’ Association, cited on the website http://carneyscorner.com/csotfa.html, is “to promote an interest in the old time American fiddle styles and to create more opportunities for interested parties to learn about the lineage of fiddle music in America, to promote activities related to old time fiddling (jams and concerts, and contests), to foster a sense of community in this shared musical treasure, and to preserve a truly American art form.” The Ely Stage Stop has proven to be the perfect venue to foster the Association’s mission and to get our local community involved.
The Fiddlers’ Jam runs at the museum on the first Sunday of each month from noon through 2 p.m. The next jam is this Sunday, June 7. Musicians of all ages with all sorts of instruments will descend upon the barn for the round robin style jam session.
Donations made during the jam benefit both the Ely Stage Stop, helping to fund the construction of the blacksmith complex, and the Old Time Fiddlers Association District 10, who uses it to partially fund their scholarship programs.
Come early to picnic and check out the latest museum acquisitions and displays. This free, family friendly event can be enjoyed by all, young and old alike. Enjoy the music with beverages and tasty treats. Bring your own wine and sip it in Ely Stage Stop wine glasses that are available for purchase. Come ready to clap your hands, tap your toes or get up and dance!
There will be the regular monthly raffle near the end of the jam and more chances to purchase raffle tickets for the “Barns, Birds and Quilts” raffle that will celebrate a winner later in the year. Those items will be on display during the jam. Remaining tickets to Ely’s June 13 Picnic on the Porch fundraiser can also be purchased during the day.
Home to the Lake County Historical Society, the stage stop is located at 9921 State Hwy 281 (Soda Bay Road) in Kelseyville, near Clearlake Riviera, just north of Hwy 29-Kit’s Corner. Current hours of operation are 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. each Saturday and Sunday. Fiddlers’ Jams occur the first Sunday of every month from noon until 2 p.m. Living History events featuring local historians are held on the fourth Saturday of every month, again, from noon to 2 p.m.