The 52nd Annual Grand Master Fiddler Championship was held on Saturday September 2nd and Sunday September 3rd, 2023 (Labor Day Weekend), in Nashville, Tennessee, at the McAfee Concert Hall on the campus of Belmont University. Contestants from all over the world will be competing for the Champion titles in Youth, Traditional, and Open categories. The contest is Free to attend and will also be livestreamed (see Schedule of Events page). There is no entry fee and parking is free.
RESULTS ARE NOW POSTED - Click here
The Grand Master Fiddler Championship Inc. is organized as a Tennessee nonprofit and U.S. IRS 501(c)(3) charitable corporation, formed to educate about and perpetuate fiddling as an art form and cultural treasure. The corporation's primary focus is holding the annual Grand Master Fiddler Championship competition - an event that has started many young musicians on their way to a career in music. As a 501(c)(3) entity, all donations are tax deductible, and we welcome your support to promote and educate about fiddling. Fund-raising efforts are being planned in order to expand the competition, enhance our educational efforts, and to further the awareness of fiddling around the globe.
Fiddling laid the foundation of the WSM Grand Ole Opry and remains important to country and bluegrass music today. For a quarter-century, the contest was sponsored by WSM, the Grand Ole Opry, the Country Music Association, and later by Gaylord Entertainment. When financially able, the GMFC makes donations to such charities as the Grand Ole Opry Trust Fund and the Bluegrass Trust Fund which benefit musicians in need. We do this in honor of the contributions of the pioneers to country, bluegrass and traditional music. Many of these pioneers such as Roy Acuff, Porter Wagoner, "Uncle Jimmy" Thompson, Bill Monroe, Howdy Forrester and Tommy Jackson played the fiddle or were very involved with fiddling. We have also donated fiddles/violins to the W. O. Smith Community Music School in Nashville.
Please tell all your fiddle music friends, websites, discussion lists and other music sites about this web page! Let us hear from you and we will add you to the GMFC email list.
2023 Dr. Perry F. Harris Distinguished Fiddler Award Recipient
Mike Snider was born and raised in north west Tennessee and has been playing music most of his life. He began playing old-time banjo at age 16 after hearing a Flatt & Scruggs album. In short order he became the Tennessee State Bluegrass Banjo Champion, then won the Mid-South Banjo Playing Contest.
At age 23 he won the National Bluegrass Banjo Champion, at the Walnut Valley Festival, in Winfield, Kansas. Shortly after that, he first appeared on the Grand Ole Opry as a guest artist. He was also regularly performed on The Nashville Network’s “Nashville Now” alongside Ralph Emery.
Mike is known as an American banjo player and humorist. He specialized in "old-time" mountain music which is a stylistic that can be traced back to the core beginnings of country music.
His musical talent, quick wit, humor and down-home ways soon led to his being inducted as a member of the Grand Ole Opry in 1990, by fellow country comedian Minnie Pearl. Mike was also a cast member of “Hee Haw” from 1990 to –1996 and performed regularly at the Opryland USA Theme Park. Along the way, Mike also developed accomplished skills on the fiddle and harmonica.
Although he is well known for comedic routine. Much of his comedy is based on stories about his wife, Sabrina, referred to as “Sweetie”.
Mike and “Sweetie” live in Mike’s hometown of Gleason, Tennessee, with their children Katie Lynn and Blake.
Mike still performs regularly on the Grand Ole Opry. When he and his old-time string band take the stage of the Grand Ole Opry, they bring a combination of musical excellence and rural comedy that always leaves a delighted audience cheering. Mike and company play serious music. The band consists of topnotch musicians; and together they play the kind of tight, seamless and timeless old-time mountain music that lays the groundwork for today’s bluegrass.
Mike’s blend of irreverent humor and utter reverence for the old-time music tradition makes him a perennial favorite of Opry audiences and a much-respected member of the bluegrass music community.
A showman to the core, Mike’s pronounced (and genuine) Tennessee drawl incites laughter the moment he opens his mouth. He regales the audience with tales featuring his wife Sweetie and an endless supply of jokes about country life.
“It don’t seem like I’ve been at the Grand Ole Opry no 20 years in one way, and then it seems like I’ve been here my whole life,” Mike says. “I remember the first night I walked out on the stage, I felt like I was at home.”
Mike has been a lifetime supporter of fiddling and traditional music and has performed countless times for the Grand Master Fiddler Championship, always for free and always with a smile. We are proud to honor him for his love and support for fiddle music with this award. Dr. Perry Harris would be very pleased we think!
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