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Summer, Charles

Summer playing at the SC State House, 2005
Summer playing at the SC State House, 2005

Mr. Charles Summer was from a small cotton mill town in Union County. His father was a master fiddler and, consequently, Charles did not even recall the first time he heard the fiddle being played. It was always there. Summer recalled that one of the first tunes he learned was “In the Sweet Bye and Bye” and stated, “It took me almost three years to learn that one, and after that, I could play just about anything.”

By the mid-1930s, Mr. Summer was performing on WSPA radio in Spartanburg with notable old time country acts. Like most of his generation, Summer’s performing career was interrupted by service in World War II. Afterwards, Summer spent his time working in the mills and making television and radio appearances in South Carolina and throughout the South. He won a number of regional fiddling contests.

Nick Hallman, a fellow fiddler from the Upstate, states simply, “Mr. Summer is what a fiddler should be – he loves the music and the people he plays it for. He respects the old tunes and the old styles and is more than willing to share what he knows with others. Without these characteristics in many fiddlers over the years, the music would not have lasted. Mr. Summer continues the tradition of sharing and helping perpetuate the traditions.” Charles SUmmer passed away in 2011. Summer received the Jean Laney Harris Folk Heritage Award in 2005.

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