Bill Rogers: Master Artist

Bill Rogers: Master Artist

William Gale Rogers, known to most as "Fiddling Bill", is a master fiddler from Collins, Mississippi. Bill is a veteran instructor in the Mississippi Arts Commission's Folk Art Apprenticeship program, which pairs master performers and craftspeople with apprentices. The Folk Art Apprenticeship program helps to assure the survival, development and continued evolution of community-based traditional art forms found throughout Mississippi. The program allows master traditional artists to pass along their unique skills to promising novice artists that work in their art form. The master artist works with the apprentice on a one-on-one basis over an agreed upon period of time to teach specific aspects of the tradition.

Photos by Susan Liles and Mary Margaret White
Photos by Susan Liles and Mary Margaret White

Bill started playing the fiddle in 1981, and developed an interest in Celtic fiddle playing in the late 1990s. He has performed both Celtic and bluegrass music for many years in church and at festivals and other events.

Photos by Susan Liles and Mary Margaret White
Photos by Susan Liles and Mary Margaret White

Bill teaches his students in his family home in rural Collins. He is a patient and generous teacher who encourages his students to engage with the music, urging them to learn more and even inviting them to take home his personal CDs of his favorite fiddle tunes.  During lessons, Bill exposes his students to the elements of traditional bluegrass, sharing with them his wide range of fiddling techniques along with his rich knowledge of the history of bluegrass music. With Bill's support and encouragement, his student, Zachary-Scott Neal was able to participate in a local tradition, a weekly jam session at Wayne Wilson Trucking Company.

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Resources

Links

Bill Rogers on the Mississippi Folklife Directory http://www.arts.state.ms.us/folklife/artist.php?dirname=rogers_bill

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Molly Knight

Molly Knight

Molly is an undergraduate at Millsaps College in Jackson, Mississippi studying Communications and Religious Studies. She has previously interned at the University Press of Mississippi. Her interests include literature, especially children’s literature, music, and performing arts.