TOTFA Stories

Skye Hall and her Best Friend

The 2001 Convention at Burleson in September of last year occurred just a few days after the 9-11 incident, and it was only appropriate that the Convention be convened with tribute to all who were directly affected by that fateful disaster. To fulfill this, the daughter of Ms. Kerrie Sue Johnston-Hall, Skye, agreed to grace the event with an appropriate opening and began the Convention with a violin solo of our National Anthem, "The Star Spangled Banner." A year later, it is the first anniversary of this terrible and evil desecration and lest we forget, it might be appropriate to include in this edition of the newsletter, an article that features the young lady who opened the event last year, Miss Skye Hall. The substance of the brief to follow is courtesy of Skye's Mother, Ms Johnston-Hall and is entitled, Skye Hall and her "Charlies."

Skye Hall is ten years old, resides on Possum Kingdom Lake south of Palo Pinto, and has been playing the fiddle for about five years under the guidance of Valerie O'Brien. Skye maintains that her fiddle is her best friend. It has taken her to many places and enabled her to meet many people and make new friends. This is supported by the fact that her first instrument and the one she now owns are each covered with autographs of those with whom she has become acquainted by virtue of her musical peregrinations. Among those who have autographed her fiddle are names quite familiar to Texas fiddlers and include such names as; Johnny Gimble, Leon Rausch, Mark O'Conner, Clay Walker, Rosetta and Lorene Wills, Brady Bowen, Bob Boatwright, the Franklin Brothers, Royce and Ray, Rich and Valerie O'Brien, and Loise Rowe just to mention a few.

There are two other signatures that appear on one or the other of her fiddles that she particularly favors and they include the autographs of Charlie Daniels and Congressman Charles Stenholm. Skye has received complimentary tickets for the last four years to hear Charlie Daniels at Billy Bob's in Ft. Worth. The first year she had front row-center stage tickets and Daniels threw her a kiss and a fiddle bow. After the show she was invited backstage to play some tunes for him. This year Skye was Daniel's special guest and was given first choice of seating ON THE STAGE RIGHT UP THERE WITH OLE CHARLIE HISSELF where she almost dropped off to sleep and had to be awakened by HISSELF and was she embarrassed! But another kiss and a fiddle bow offset this. Skye and Mr. Daniels keep in touch via email and he calls her his "Little Fiddlin' Buddy." Charlie Daniels is a vocalist more than a fiddle player. But to Skye he is a real person, a Christian, and a good friend.

In July, 2000, Skye entered a contest in Stamford, Texas where the MC was the Honorable Charles Stenholm, U. S. Congressman, 17th District. There were no age divisions in this particular contest and Skye won 3rd place. In addition, the contest recognized an "Oldest Fiddler" award, which was a time-honored tradition and had never recognized any award for the youngest fiddler. Because Skye was a winner and the youngest by some 50 years, she was singled out for special consideration by Congressman Stenholm and gave Skye Congressional Recognition for the youngest fiddler ever to participate in the Stamford contest. Then in August, Skye received a call from the Congressman's secretary inviting her to be a featured performer at a festival in Ericksdahl, Texas, that was hosted by the Congressman. Skye performed before an audience of more than a thousand and even sang a song. She also won a bet with her "Poppa" that her shyness would not prevent her from using a microphone and spoke freely to the crowd (with some support from her Mom). At this performance, Skye was attired in the same skirt that was worn by Valerie O'Brien at a performance on the stage at the Ryman Auditorium in Nashville.

Even though Congressman Stenholm is not a fiddler, he too is a real person, a Christian, and a good friend. In Summary, Skye is very proud to have these two Charlies as her friends. But, of course, it is her fiddle that will always be her BEST friend.

Charles Gardner