About the SCVFA: Who We Are
PDF version of Who We Are
The Santa Clara Valley Fiddlers Association (SCVFA) is a state and federal
non-profit, all volunteer-operated public-benefit organization dedicated to the
preservation, teaching, and enjoyment of traditional music for the fiddle and
other instruments. The SCVFA was founded in 1973 in San Jose, California.
The purpose of the organization is to carry on
activities intended to revive, study and perpetuate “that traditional music
that constitutes the cultural heritage of our forefathers”. We perform and
teach a wide variety of styles including old-time, country music, bluegrass,
western swing, Celtic, Scandinavian and other traditional styles.
Our music is played on acoustic instruments such as fiddles, guitars, banjos,
mandolins, string basses, accordions and harmonicas.
On the first Sunday of each month we hold a “jam” (see below)
that's open to all. Participants, who may play or just listen, often range
in age from under 8 to over 80.
As of 2016 we have about 180 members in 125 households, mostly in the greater
San Francisco Bay Area, ranging from San Francisco, Oakland and Livermore
to the north, to Gilroy and Santa Cruz to the south.
What We Do
As our founder Bill Wein put it, ”music self-played is happiness
self-made.” Most of our activities involve performing music,
and teaching and learning tunes and technique.
Members and guests play in small groups at the monthly jam, outside
and on our small stage.
Members also perform, by arrangement, at various community events and
at community venues such as senior centers and retirement facilities.
Payments received for such performances help fund our activities —
particularly our youth program.
Any individual interested in traditional music can join the SCVFA.
Individual memberships are $20 per year, which includes a subscription
to our monthly newsletter, the Fiddler’s Rag.
Additional members living in the same household are $2 each.
The newsletter provides articles on music history, people, instruments,
tunes, music events of interest to members,
and information on the activities of the SCVFA itself.
See elsewhere on the website for information about
of the newsletter, and upcoming
Jam Since 1973 our jam has been held in San Jose
on the first Sunday of each month, from 1 to 5pm.
Most months the jam is at Hoover Middle School,
1480 Naglee Ave. at Park Ave. in San Jose.
But in summer we often hold a couple of the jams, with free admission,
at the nearby Rose Garden Park (Naglee at Garden Dr.)
The jam offers attendees a chance to hear and play music together
in informal groups that gather outside.
When we meet at Hoover we also offer an “open mike”.
Any attendee can sign up to perform for 15 or 20 minutes on stage,
solo or as part of a group.
Seating is provided for those who just wish to sit and listen.
Two learning groups
led by experienced musicians help beginning and intermediate players learn
tunes, technique, and the ins and outs of playing together.
The admission fee for regular jams at Hoover is $6 for members or $8 for
non-members, which goes toward paying our school rent and insurance.
Children 17 and under are free.
(Occasionally well-known fiddlers perform, and we charge extra for those concerts.)
See the Events page for information
about upcoming events, and the Jam page
for general information about the jam.
Youth Program One of our goals is to encourage
young people to learn traditional tunes and musical styles.
Besides welcoming young musicians to join us, we offer periodic KidFiddle
workshops led by local fiddle instructors.
This program is primarily funded by fees for our performances in the community
and by donations to the SCVFA.
We are a registered 501(c)(3) organization, so donations are generally tax-deductible.