Tulsa’s Shelby Eicher is joining Jim “Texas Shorty” Chancellor and Scotty Stoneman in the National Fiddler Hall of Fame. A special recognition award will go to Jody Naifeh, founder of Tulsa Honors Orchestra.
The 2019 class of inductees was announced Thursday. The induction gala is scheduled Friday, Sept. 27, at the Oklahoma Jazz Hall of Fame in downtown Tulsa.
“It is an honor and a privilege to induct these talented musicians who are the very essence of what the NFHoF represents,” said Bob Fjeldsted, president of the Tulsa-based National Fiddler Hall of Fame.
Eicher, a master fiddler, composer, teacher and recording artist, grew up in northern Ohio playing square dances with his parents and grandmother. The band consisted of his grandmother and the Fulton County Sand Shifters.
As a member of Roy Clark’s band for 15 years, Eicher recorded five albums with the Tulsa-based music artist and appeared numerous times on “The Tonight Show” and “Hee Haw.” Eicher is a member of the Tulsa Playboys and Western swing band Sycamore Swing. He performs 20 times per month and teaches fiddle, mandolin and guitar to 30 students.
Chancellor, a renowned Texas fiddler, started his career at the age of 7, when his father brought home a mandolin. By age 9, he was playing mandolin on KTER radio with his brother, Allen, and became “Shorty” of “The Texas Al and Shorty Show.” As a teen, he heard the Texas fiddling of world champion fiddler Benny Thomasson, causing him to put away his mandolin and begin to learn fiddle under Thomasson’s tutelage.
Stoneman, a five-time national fiddle champion who died in 1973, is being inducted posthumously. He learned to play from his maternal grandfather, Bill Frost, a traditional fiddler from southwest Virginia.
Growing up in the Maryland suburbs, Stoneman played in an early incarnation of the Stoneman Family band called Pop Stoneman and the Little Pebbles and then formed the Bluegrass Champs, which included his sisters, Roni and Donna, and his brothers, Jimmy and Van. Roni will perform at the Sept. 27 event.
Naifeh began learning to play the violin/fiddle at 7 from her sister, Jean Moore. Naifeh resides in the Tulsa area and is the founder of Tulsa Honors Orchestra. She played with the Tulsa Philharmonic for eight years in the 1950s.
VIP tickets for the induction gala are $500 per table (seats eight) and $65 for individuals. VIP seating includes dinner and a pre-show. Regular seating is $25 in advance or $30 at the door the night of the show. Tickets are available at Eventbrite. The gala will begin at 7:30 p.m. with a VIP pre-show and dinner at 6:30 p.m. Headlining the event will be bluegrass trio Cherokee Maidens, along with Eicher’s band Sycamore Swing.
For more information: nationalfiddlerhalloffame.org.
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