Traditional Arts in Upstate New York. Traditional Arts of Upstate New York
53 Main Street
Canton, NY 13617
(315) 386-4289

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TAUNY (Traditional Arts in Upstate New York) invites members of communities around Northern New York to attend documentation events focusing on the making and keeping of folk instruments (such as fiddles, guitars, and other instruments that are part of regional, community, or family musical traditions). These documentation days are a part of TAUNY’s next research project and exhibit, “Instrumental Stories: North Country Folk Instrument Making and Collecting.”

The documentation events will be:

Tuesday, July 18th, 11:00am-3:00pm at Brick and Mortar Music in Potsdam, NY

Thursday, July 20th, 10:00am-4:00pm at The TAUNY Center in Canton, NY

Wednesday, August 23, 11:00am-3:00pm at the Mennonite Heritage Farm in Croghan, NY

Wednesday, August 30, 4:00-7:00pm at BluSeed Studios in Saranac Lake, NY

Further dates will be listed at

Whether or not they play music themselves, many North Country residents connect to musical traditions through instruments. Over the coming months, in preparation for a spring 2018 exhibit, TAUNY is documenting makers, keepers, and collectors of folk instruments and the stories that go with those instruments, their creation, and their use. For this project, instrument-makers might include anyone from a professional luthier who supplies a whole community to someone who just wanted to try making an instrument and improvised one from materials on hand. Instruments people keep might be an uncle’s fiddle or guitar, a piano their grandmother played for kitchen dances, or a classical instrument that was used to play in a folk tradition. These instruments might be home-made, hand-made, or factory-made, originally from the North Country or brought here from other regions or countries. Some people might have one treasured family instrument, while others might have whole collections built over the years. The project also seeks to document the making and keeping of instrument accessories (such as cases and covers), as well as instrument repair resources (or strategies when professional repairs aren’t an option).

If any of the above applies to you, TAUNY invites you to participate in an upcoming documentation event near you. Interested participants should bring the instrument if possible (or a representative instrument if part of a collection) and be prepared to fill out a questionnaire about their instrument(s) and related stories. The form will also be available ahead of time online at Appointments during the documentation hours are encouraged. Documentation events will be led by Camilla Ammirati, TAUNY Director of Research and Programs. Please contact Camilla at or 315-386-4289 to make an appointment, with any questions, or if you can’t attend a documentation event but have an instrument and story to share. 

More information about this research project is available at Additional information can also be found in the following interview with Camilla Ammirati and NCPR’s Todd Moe which aired 7/12/17: .

Research project activity will include:

Documenting North Country folk instrument makers (from improvisation to mastery), folk instrument collections/collectors, and smaller-scale instrument holdings (such as single keepsake items) and their stories.

Documenting makers of related instrument accessories (such as instrument covers and cases, spare parts, etc.).

Examining the spatial and social contexts of folk instruments’ making, use, and enjoyment (such as luthiers’ studios, household settings, public music and dance venues; instrument and music equipment exchange networks, jams, repair networks, etc.).

Research in regional archives for historical material related to instrument making and collecting.

Developing an exhibit and related programming for Spring-Fall 2018 presenting North Country folk instruments and their stories.

Research will continue through December 2017.

This project is funded by the New York State Council on the Arts with the support of Governor Andrew M. Cuomo and the New York State Legislature.

The TAUNY Center is located at 53 Main Street, downtown Canton, NY. TAUNY  is a non-profit organization dedicated to helping people understand and appreciate the folk traditions and local culture of everyday life—present and past—in the North Country. To do so, TAUNY seeks to research and preserve a record of diverse groups, customs and traditions; to recognize and empower traditional arts and artists; to identify and promote regional identity; and to provide opportunities for people of all ages to learn about folklore and culture. More information is available at



Dale Streeter of the Adirondack Playboys shows a guitar he made working with luthier Tracy Cox, 2016.

“Those instruments carry the stories with them, and of course, we’re interested in the people and the stories, ultimately, but the instruments are sometimes a way that people hold on to those things and focus and locate them.” —Camilla Ammirati, TAUNY Director of Research and Programs

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