082805connor.jpg 082805connor2.jpgArthur Connor (above right) of Copper Hill has been making fiddles for as long as anyone can remember. The legendary fiddlemaker turned 81 last week and Floyd bluesman Scott Perry threw a party for Connor at his Pickin’ Porch shop on Willis Street. While Perry cooked hot dogs, area musicians jammed and the sounds of music filled the dirt-lined street in front of the Pickin’ Porch.

"I see the camera you’re using is a Canon," Connor said as I took his picture. "Did you know that Paganini had a violin called a Canon?" I didn’t know that and one doesn’t often expect to hear historical lore about an classical composer from a fiddle-maker but Connor’s knowledge of all things music is vast and listening to him tell his stories is like a college-course in musical history. Connor’s detailed hand-made fiddles often feature elaborate carving like this Ram’s Head (right) but the decoration is just an addition to the sweet sound of his instruments.

Other long-time musicians and instrument makers like Stanley Lorton joined Connor to celebrate a life dedicated not only to making music but also to making the instruments that let others make music.