Click and Read our — Values and Goals
The Fiddle Orchestra of Western Massachusetts is an ensemble of musicians of varying abilities, from the novice to the more seasoned player. Even though we call ourselves a “fiddle orchestra”, our group includes other musical instruments that lend a balanced sound to our performances. We are under the guidance of professional musicians who help us improve our playing skills, develop musicianship, nourish camaraderie and share our enjoyment of traditional music with communities throughout western Massachusetts.
We play tunes from the New England, American South, Celtic, Quebecois, and Scandinavian heritages, along with original compositions by contemporary musicians. To learn more, contact us at fiddlewestermass.com. FOWM invites all to join in the fun!
The orchestra is directed by Annika Amstutz and Mia Friedman .
Members and Instruments
The Fiddle Orchestra of Western Massachusetts is open to adults and teens.
- Fiddle/violin, viola, cello, bass
- Guitar, mandolin, banjo, ukelele, accordion, flute, penny whistle…and more…what do you play?
- A limited number of percussionists to provide extra rhythm!
- The director will encourage orchestra members to try harmonies and rhythms throughout the season to spur our confidence and stretch our skills with the goal of creating a cohesive, nice-sounding whole.
The orchestra plays tunes from the New England, American South, Celtic, Quebecois, and Scandinavian heritages, along with original compositions by contemporary musicians.
• 3 seasons a year — Fall, Winter, Spring/Summer. Members pick and choose to join any or all seasons. We play indoors and outdoors!
Two friends, Becky Shannon and Alice Yang, had been playing fiddle together for several years. They heard about a fiddle orchestra for amateurs in Vermont and thought, “Why not here in our own Western Mass?” They organized volunteers, hired two solid-gold professional fiddlers – David Kaynor and Annika Amstutz – as directors, found rehearsal space, and on Thursday, September 14, 2017, FOWM was born. The orchestra and the world lost our beloved David Kaynor in June of 2021.
In 2021, Mia Friedman joined Annika as co-director.
Here is a quote from David summing up his approach to music, from an interview in the Greenfield Recorder printed on his death —
“We didn’t just perform music and dance, we shared it. There are times and places for performing, but sharing can happen so much more often, and it’s good for us all. Maybe it’s even good for the world.”
Here are photos from some of our previous seasons
It was all I expected, plus. I got to pick exactly what I wanted to work on in my own process, and felt no pressure to do anything different from what I wanted.
It far exceeded my expectations. I didn’t know David nor was I aware of his unique ways of developing and presenting a course of study and concert. It all unfolded easily and pleasantly. I also appreciate how receptive he was to suggestions by others when developing the program.
I can’t wait to start again……
I had a great time! This is the perfect group for me. I’ve never done anything like this before and was somewhat apprehensive about joining because I didn’t know what to expect. What I found was a welcoming, supportive group of people in a non-judgmental setting; there was no pressure to do anything other than make the experience personal and make the most of it given your skill level. I really appreciated the support and the mission of the orchestra… I felt right at home from day one.
I felt a pride in myself and our group. Proud of what we had accomplished during our 10 sessions
It was great to get to know new people, learn new tunes and styles, and play so close to home