Keeping The Action On Track

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Photo courtesy of Town of Payson

Ruth Gilpin is treasurer of the Arizona Old Time Fiddlers Association. The association is a nonprofit organization whose objective is to preserve, promote and perpetuate the art of old-time fiddling, to encourage all people, young and old, to develop their musical talents and afford them opportunities to perform in public, to hold jam sessions and other musical events, for the members’ own enjoyment and to educate the public on the values of old-time fiddling. The association was formed September 1975 in Payson.

Bill Breen of Tucson will serve as master of ceremonies for the 40th Anniversary Vertilee Floyd Arizona State Fiddle Championship Sept. 25 and 26.

He and his wife Lynn are active in the Desert Bluegrass Association. He is a banjo player and Lynn plays bass. Both have performed in southern Arizona.

Breen has worked the Payson festival several times and is also a fixture at the Wickenburg Bluegrass Festival, serving as its master of ceremonies for 20 of its 31 years. He has also been the frequent emcee at the Tucson Bluegrass Festival.

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Photo courtesy of Town of Payson

Accompanists, such as Katherine Messer’s grandfather (above) make the fiddle performances at the Payson championships great entertainment.

Breen retired from the Arizona Department of Public Safety as a lieutenant. He served 28 years in law enforcement. When not serving as a master of ceremonies he teaches flying, does casino consulting work and is a magician and expert on gambling.

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