Walter “Fiddler” Van Orden

Walter “Fiddler” Van Orden

Walter Van Orden was born in Newfoundland, NJ in 1880.  He had three brothers and four sisters and had to quit school in the 4th grade to go to work.


As a young man , he married Elizabeth and moved to New York City.  After 14 months, they moved back to New Jersey for the country life.  He and his houses started working for the Newark Water Shed.  Nine houses were built by Newark Water Shed employees in New City, a section of Newfoundland.  Eight were for housing for employees and one was designated as a school house for their children.  Walter and his family lived there his entire adult life.  They had a son Leroy and two daughters, Hazel and Evalyn.


He had a cow  and his horses.  In the fall he would take children on hay rides with his horse and wagon.  In the winter, he would attach a large sled on the back of the wagon for sleigh riding.


His true love was music.  He played in the Butler Band and the band played in New York City when the Statue of Liberty was brought over from France.  On Saturday nights, Walter and Elizabeth went to barn dances.  He played his fiddle and she played the piano for their neighbors and friends.  He earned the nickname “Fiddler “.  A musical family, their two daughters played the piano and their son played many instruments.


Walter was an inventor.  Before go carts were thought of, he had made a small car for his grandson to ride in.  After Joe Louis fought Billy Conn, he made a boxing ring complete with a mat and their figurines.  There were hand controls on each side for two people to play the game.  He loved working with his hands.  He made a windmill carved out of wood of a hunter with a rifle and his dog by his side and his prey behind him.


Fiddler spent three years working his favorite creation.  It was his “Dancing Machine”.  It consisted of a fiddle attached to a three foot long base.  One third of it was for the three piece band, their dog and the dance floor. The fiddle plays Turkey in the Straw, the band members tap their feet, the dog moves his head from side to side and there are four couples spinning around to the music.  Upon its completion, Fiddler would put his Dancing Machine in the trunk of his car and drive around and show his neighbors his invention.  Years ago in Butler, they held contests for new inventions and creations and Walter won many times.


Walter “Fiddler “ Van Orden died in 1954 at the age of seventy-f our.  His three children produced fourteen grandchildren, thirty-three great grandchildren and many great great grandchildren.  This information was provided by Fiddler’s eighty –nine year old daughter, Evalyn.  the dancing machine resides in her home in Butler.



Art Oswald


Danny Paisley and the STILL Southern Grass : Bluegrass Today

| September 30, 2011 | 1 Comment

Wednesday’s final showcase performance put the exclamation point on an evening that was decidedly bluegrass. Danny Paisley took the stage with the current version of Southern Grass, and the resulting show was everything the enthusiastic crowd was expecting. Opening with Margie, Paisley’s group let fly with the one-mic, three part harmony that is a bluegrass staple, accompanied by ferocious picking.

The appreciative audience received a special treat during the very next number, when Danny’s 11-year old son Ryan elbowed his way to the front to knock out a killer break on Rose of Old Kentucky. The instrumental interlude was punctuated by the “I told you so” facial expressions of the young man, bringing a round of laughter from the crowd and a smile from prideful poppa. 30-year bass player and uncle, Michael Paisley, obviously approved as well.

In the commotion, reigning mandolin player Spencer Mobley was encouraging to young Ryan while demonstrating why he’s still the band’s regular mando-picker with solid playing and superb harmony accompaniment to Paisley’s lead.

Not to be outdone, fiddler Doug Meek played a solid show and brought murmurs of excitement from the fans when he ripped through Red Apple Rag. Banjo phenom Mark Delaney was the perfect foil for Meek’s contribution, alternating the lead on the instrumental in what appeared to be effortless performance. Delaney’s efficiency of movement can lull the observer into believing he’s actually bored, as if he’s using only half his talent while the other half of his mind works on his next mind-numbing performance.

As if to make sure his point was well-made, Ryan stepped up again to tear through Rawhide, which he played with a fervor that would have made the Father of Bluegrass proud. The band featured Ryan again on its closing piece, Alcatraz, earning a standing ovation from the grateful crowd.

Backstage, Paisley’s comments were as pride-filled as his eyes. He discussed the comfort of knowing that the family’s bluegrass tradition is safe for another generation. “We love what we do,” he acknowledged.

Wednesday night at the IBMA showcase, the crowd loved what they do, too.

AFBA Windgap, PA BLUEGRASS Shindigs


Hey_——-Shin Digs–AT– The Beethoven in Hellertown, Pa — Oct–09—Come on out and  join the fun.. Every month thereafter till April       Opens at 12 noon.   See Ya

    Shin Digs at the Elks in East Stroudsburg Pa.  Every 1st Sunday of the month.

   Bluegrass Nights-  Kempton,Pa.   Good Shows—  Good Friends Good Bluegrass——-Good eats and reasonable too.    Come one come all every 4th. Saturday of the month.   3-1opm.