Ann White became interested in fiddle music and with her parents, Ralph on banjo and Martha on bass, and brother XXXXXXX on guitar formed the “Achekin’ Back String Band” She later added Jeff Derrickson on guitar, Don “Butch” Baker on vocals and guitar/mandolin and YYY Cain on autoharp.
Ann White joined the IOTFA maybe around 2005 and eventually accepted the office of Secretary. She made significant contributions to the contest and a number of related efforts to enhance the the affair and increase attendance and participation. She introduced the Saturday evening activities, first including a jam session to make folks more aware of the IOTFA and its purpose. In years past we had a problem of a suitable venue for the annual fiddle contest. Over the years it has been held in the Shelbyville High School, the Chautauqua Auditorium in Shelbyville’s Forrest Park, Rochome Gardens near Arcola ,IL, the Arthur, IL fairgrounds and perhaps other venues. She also changed the venue to the Effingham area so a larger city where more musical activities were occurring. Some will remember the contests held in the Thelma Keller Convention Center for several years. Then Ann sought out the Effingham Performance Center for the Saturday afternoon program of jamming and socializing.
Ann married Keith Crawford, moved to Terre Haute, IN and changed careers from teaching to school textbook sales. She took a much reduced role due to her living out of state but still retained an interest in the contest. As the new Secretary and Contest Committee were installed in 2018 she attended a meeting and gave support to the prospect of changing contest venues and using the EPC for the contests and other activities, especially since the EPC had no programming on Sundays. So in summary, Ann has raised the bar considerably, especially in auxiliary activities to enhance the contest. That evolved into our using the term “Fiddle Fest” to describe the entire weekend program. The Fiddle Fest and contest is still evolving with changes in the Saturday program by including paid bands, while she was still Secretary, and reaching out to judges from other states and other types of bands. Since then we have simply built upon what she and her predecessors established. Ann still helps on the weekend of the contest and plays an active part during registration and judging, while caring for her family. We sincerely thank her for that. So it is with delight that we include a synopsis of her tenure as Secretary.