T.C. Foster Photos | Digital Traditions

T.C. Foster learned the ways of the fiddle at a very young age, often listening to his father play on the front porch for hours at a time. Sneaking around with his father’s fiddle at first, by the age of 17, T.C. was a natural with the instrument and loved to perform the fiddle “how Pa would play it.” In the 1930s, Mr. Foster found himself working in the cotton mill in Greenville, having little time to play and losing his only fiddle in an accident in the late 1930s. T.C. worked hard and was able to save up for another fiddle within a decade. His short bow style of play imitated the techniques of many piedmont and mountain fiddlers at the turn of the twentieth century.

Aside from the short bow style, T.C. had a passion for performing for a simple long bow on “sacred music” tunes. Though never having performed on the professional stage, Mr. Foster and his fiddle performed with a number of well-known local musicians in the Upstate counties. These musicians have admired his desire to keep with the traditional styles of fiddling taught to him by his father. Even at an advanced age, T.C. was always been willing to teach others the art of his music and became a master fiddler to many who have been graced with his performances. Mr. Foster long influenced the sounds of the fiddle in South Carolina and was one of the last surviving “old time” fiddlers in the state. Foster passed away the summer of 2009. Foster received the Jean Laney Harris Folk Heritage Award in 2006.