COLUMBIA — Fiddles, mandolins, an upright bass, a guitar and a banjo or two are the usual instruments at the Old-Time Fiddlers Jam Session at the Boone County Fair. The musicians wander in and out of the group from time to time, but they make sure everyone feels welcome.
Most of the "regulars" are older men from Boone County, but some younger fiddle students join in here and there with their teacher, John White, who also organizes the fair's jam sessions.
Age isn’t a factor when playing, and everyone bounces their leg or taps their feet to the beat. The old-time, Missouri-style music is common for square dancing, unlike Texas-style fiddling, mandolin player Phil Vinyard said.
There are quite a few accomplished musicians among them, Vinyard said. "John's a real treasure. He's full of all sorts of tunes."
Vinyard played classical cello for years before switching gears. "My kids call it 'Dad's bluegrass phase,'" he said.
But it seems to have stuck, because he continues to play with old-time groups in the area. Sometimes they'll get together for a "slow jam" to learn new songs, and there's another monthly jam session in Hallsville.
Most know each other from those groups, but welcome newcomers as they play daily around 5:30 p.m. at the fair.