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.
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
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.
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 mothers 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 organizations
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 Gainesvilles Cherrill Heaton,
in 2004. Mike presently teaches music and repairs stringed instruments,
and plays country dances with the Parlour Pickers and the Schnell Brothers.