Preserve and Promote Old Time Fiddling and related arts. This is the mission statement of the Washington Old Time Fiddlers Association. Founded in 1965 by a handful of dedicated musicians and devotees of old time music, WOTFA has grown to about 1200 current members.
In 1965 the average price of a gallon of regular leaded gasoline was $.31 and minimum wage was $1.25 per hour. Today the average price of a gallon of gas in Washington State, as of this article, is about $3.75, and minimum wage is $8.67 per hour. In 1965 you needed to work 15 minutes to purchase a gallon of gas at minimum wage. Today one needs to work almost 45 minutes to purchase a gallon of gas.
It should really be of no surprise to anyone that today’s economy is taking its toll on all of us. Clubs all over the world are facing major challenges in building and maintaining membership. WOTFA is no exception to this. It is becoming increasingly difficult to attract younger members into any organization. There are so many competing influences, all vying for the interest of younger people. The younger members are “our” future. They will be this organizations leaders and volunteers. Without them, the mission statement of WOTFA will not be realized and the worst possibility that the music that we all enjoy so much, will be lost to the history books.
I believe that technology is a tool. A tool that we, as an organization must learn to leverage. If we want to continue this tradition and pass it down to generations of the future, then we need to present the material and history of Old Time Music in a way that has never been available before. In 1965, it took seven days to send a letter from Spokane to Seattle. In 2011, it takes less than 10 seconds to send the same information to anywhere in the world.
It is on all of us to make this happen. The heritage of Old Time music depends on our ability to adapt and change. We must find ways to cut costs, conserve our resources, and get our message out to as many young people as we can. The purpose of the website is to provide the membership with information, news, and learning materials in a way that was not possible 10 years ago, let alone in 1965.
The website is simply a tool that helps dedicated people do their job more efficiently and use their valuable time more wisely by streamlining common processes, and centralizing information so that it is at the reach of every single member.