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Marshall fiddling at Archives series event

Marshall fiddling at Archives series event

January 10th, 2018 by Jenny Gray in Local News

Howard Marshall and company performed last June in Fulton. The group included, from left, Bill Foley, of Ashland, on banjo; Margot McMillen, of northern Callaway County, on cello; Marshall and Kathy Gordon, of Columbia, on upright bass; and Henrich Leonhard, of Columbia, on guitar.

Photo by Jenny Gray /News Tribune.

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. — Callaway County fiddler Howard Marshall will present at next week's Thursday evening speaker series program examining 20th century Missouri fiddle music.

The event, which begins at 7 p.m. Jan. 18, will feature Marshall performing with his fiddle and speaking about his book, "Fiddler's Dream: Old-Time, Swing, and Bluegrass in Twentieth-Century Missouri."

The program will be in the interpretive center of the James C. Kirkpatrick State Information Center, Missouri State Archives.

"I've done this a couple times in past years," Marshall said. "It's kind of a special place to perform; it's a nice auditorium."

He also will perform at 6:30 p.m. Jan. 30 at the Callaway County public library on Court Street in downtown Fulton.

Marshall was born in 1944 in Moberly, and his family pioneered from Virginia, North Carolina and Kentucky. He dropped out of college to serve in the Marine Corps in the 1960s, and then returned to school earning degrees along the way. His PhD in Folklore and Anthropology came from Indiana University — Bloomington. He worked at museums, consulted for the Smithsonian, and established the Missouri Cultural Heritage Center at the University of Missouri, a school where he also taught.

Marshall has authored 11 books, and sometimes performs with his wife, Margot McMillen, who plays the cello. Marshall also plays mandolin, guitar and banjo, and has been known to sing. Since the '60s, he's performed for dances, school programs and festivals. He competes in and judges fiddlers' contests.

His grandfather, Wiley Marshall, inspired him to play.

In "Fiddler's Dream," Marshall uses oral history, archival research, photographs and song transcriptions to trace the evolution of traditional fiddle music in Missouri from the early 1920s through the turbulent 1960s. The book focuses on such topics as radio performers, fiddling contests, the growth in popularity of opries and Show-Me State fiddlers that migrated to the West Coast, along with the influence of traditional fiddle music on swing, jazz and bluegrass.

During the Jan. 18 program, Marshall will discuss these themes and perform on the fiddle with an accompanying ensemble of traditional musicians from central Missouri.

"That'll be a nice time with some discussion," he added.

The Missouri State Archives, at 600 W. Main St. in Jefferson City, is the official repository for state documents of permanent historic value. All programs at the Archives are free and open to the public, with seating available on a first-come, first-served basis.

For more information on this and other programming at the Archives, contact Brian Rogers at 573-526-1981 or brian.rogers@sos.mo.gov.