News Stories & Columns
Old fiddlers at Cliffside
From the Shelby Highlander, circa 1908
Over 600 paid admission at 25 and 35 cents. Over 1000 auditors present. 20 contestants from three states.
THE JUDGES: Dr. J.F. Whisnant of Henrietta, Dr. Holland and W.W. Pool, of Caroleen, W. A. Martin of Mooresbobo, and C. V. Fowles of Forest City.
THE WINNERS: Best fiddler, M. B. Hines, prize $7.00; 2nd best, J.P. Davis, prize $5.00; 3rd fiddler M. L. White, prize $3.00. Best orchestra, the Hicks orchestra, prize $7.00; best banjo picker, John Little, nine years old, prize $5.00, best late music orchestra, Miss Lela Ballenger, piano, Mr. West Harris and Mr. Eleck Wingo, fiddlers, prize $6.00.
“Mr. R. R. Haynes presented each musician with a nice souvenir of the occasion which they highly prized, coming as it did, unexpected. At the close of the exercises the thirty musicians lined up on the stage and played ‘The Downfall of Paris,’ which almost created a sensation. The large building seemed to heave and the roof rise from the walls. The audience seemed as transfixed, and as the last cord died away a shout burst from a thousand tongues, and the first Fiddlers Convention of Rutherfordton County came to triumphant close.” —Rutherfordton Sun
A fine review of the great contest comes from the pen of Corn Cracker in the Forest City Herald:
“From the domain of the Old North State came the Hicks orchestra, the Davis orchestra, the Hines aggregation, old man Hill, a surpassingly sweet sawer on sonorous metal, the Barringer trio, who evoked thrilling melody from a piano and violins. Other stars of much magnitude were on the firing line from the two Carolinas; while the blind fiddler from Sunny Tennessee with the young prodigy as an artist on the banjo both were welcome features. Also, a discordant cuss from Kentucky was numbered among the prophets, making delegations from the sister Carolinas; Tennessee, the daughter of North Carolina; and the state where
‘Pistol hands are quickest,
Pistol pockets thickest,
And cylinders turn slickest-
“Over one thousand heard the music, which was, according to performer, mild, weird, fast and furious or else awaking martial andor or evoking ‘love’s young dream.’”
Clipping provided by Tommy Forney