Sample this new ‘jam’ at River Falls farmer’s market
For years River Falls residents have gone to the Farmer’s Market on Second and Locust streets for a taste of locally grown produce.
Lately that market is producing more than just tasty food.
Starting last year, a group of ever-changing, local musicians has gathered every Saturday morning to treat Farmer’s Market-goers to some tunes.
“It’s a great community event,” said Ben Toppel, one of the musicians. “Put that with the Farmer’s Market which is... and you’ve got just a great community event happening every Saturday morning.”
While the group has several core members that like to show up and play “Old Time Music,” Toppel said it’s an open jam, so anyone can play along -- whether a master musician or a beginner.
All a person needs is an instrument and a chair to sit on. Or just a pair of kitchen spoons.
“There’s free lessons online,” Toppel said. “I just looked it up, found a teacher I liked, took a couple lessons and brought them to the jam.”
Toppel also plays banjo and guitar.
Toppel said usually between five and nine musicians show up. They bring a variety of instruments: Fiddles, guitars, banjos, upright bass, mountain dulcimer, mandolins, tenor banjo, harmonica, accordions, ukuleles, washboard, and kitchen spoons.
But those with no instruments can also join in.
“There’s a lot of singing,” Toppel said. “It fluctuates between tunes -- which are just songs that area played instrumentally -- and we have... a lot of people will sing on the songs.”
“Old time music” includes waltzes, and reels -- the type of music one might hear at a barn dance, Toppel said.
The Farmer’s Market is open 8 a.m. to noon Saturdays, but the musicians don’t start until 9 a.m. Toppel said anyone is welcome to drop by with an instrument and play.
For the complete story, please see the July 10 print edition of the River Falls Journal.