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Guest of Honor Index

Guests of Honor

Mike and Terry Williams


Terry Williams comes from a musical family of six children. Terry and a younger sister are the only ones who play instruments. She was born and raised in Hamilton, Montana where her parents organized the family into a singing group at early ages. The family would entertain at various activities in the Bitterroot Valley until the children grew older and moved away from home.

Terry took piano lessons from a local jazz musician, Jean Roble. and became quite skilled on the keyboard. While attending Carroll College in Helena, Montana she began to play the fiddle and guitar and jammed with many local musicians, most notably the Helena Parlour Pickers.

During the 1980's she began entering fiddle contests and won a number of them. She then began to organize fiddle contests in western Montana as well as playing with local string bands for dances and an occasional bar gig.

She and Mike Williams were married in 1989 and continue to play together on a regular basis in a variety of string bands in the area.

Mike Williams
Mike Williams’ earliest exposure to live music was strolling string musicians on the beach in St. Petersburg, Florida where he grew up. The other early influence was the record collection of his mother’s sister in Albany, Georgia. He played drums in several groups while in high school and during service in the Navy. He began to play the mandolin in 1964 during the “ Folk Revival.“ He ultimately became proficient on guitar, five-string banjo, and fiddle, all of which he presently teaches.
During his college years he played with various bluegrass and old-time bands in Georgia and North Carolina. After moving to Colorado in 1972, he was a co-founder of the Colorado Bluegrass Music Society. He was instrumental in organizing the Rocky Mountain Bluegrass Festival, as well as serving as editor and contributor to the organization’s newsletter.
Mike moved to Helena, Montana in 1975, where he has continued to teach music and organize concerts and fiddle contests. He was a co-founder of the Helena Folklore Society (1984-87). He is a charter member of the Greater Helena Parlour Picking Society, which is still active after 28 years. Mike has produced several recordings by the Helena Parlour Pickers and the Montana State Old Time Fiddlers Association. He was instrumental in organizing the first MSOTFA fiddle camp, which he remains active with, serving as a director and teacher.

In the year 2000, Mike received a grant from the Montana Arts Council for an apprenticeship in old-time dance fiddling. He was a Guest of Honor, with Terry Williams, at the 1989 Florida Old Time Music Championship and will be returning, along with Gainesville’s Cherrill Heaton, in 2004. Mike presently teaches music and repairs stringed instruments, and plays country dances with the Parlour Pickers and the Schnell Brothers.


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