Breeding Your "Own Strain"
by Gary Tom
First published in the Pacific American Singer newsletter, volume 4, number 3, July 1997.
Contrary to what has been printed nationally, I believe each and everyfancier over the years will develop their own strain from thefoundation stock they initially purchased. With an addition ofmid-west or east coast blood, a swap or two or purchase locally andperhaps an out cross to Roller, Border, Waterslager or Timbrado.(Yes, there I said it! It is the unspoken truth!) Each and everyoneof us has different likes and dislikes. Lower, higher, faster,slower, more rolls, more exotic notes, or wild bird notes. Perhapsit's a penchant for a particular color (some of us do have favorites)or a sentimentality about a certain bird for some reason. All thesefactors combine to create our "own strain," a look, a sound. Theywon't all be cookie cutter looking or sounding for a few years, buteventually with diligent culling, you will arrive at your own strain.
I defy those who feel you must create your own strain from"scratch." No longer are there Seifert Rollers or the Borders of60 years ago. Would you use then Fifes? Were these truly the Borderof yesteryear?
It's really quite exciting here on the West Coast because from my fewyears in American Singers, no one here has yet achieved a sound orlook for themselves. Everyone is still scratching around looking forthe elements of a sound or else trying to blend and replicate.
The West Coast sound is embryonic and unlimited. I look forward tothe passing of a few years so I can look back at this writing andsmile with a great sense of knowing where we went.
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