Mary Finch doesn't talk much about herself as she goes about her work each day, helping to put out the Deseret News.
Low-key describes her personal style. In more than 13 years as a reporter and editor at the paper, she has done whatever needed to be done, from covering the medical and religion beats to being an assistant city editor - efficiently and quietly.So it was a surprise even to City Editor Rick Hall, who has worked with her for years, when one of the paper's photographers brought in a picture he'd taken Saturday at the State Fair - of Finch on stage. She was playing fiddle in a program put on by the Utah Oldtime Fiddlers.
She had played violin in her junior high school orchestra in China Lake, Calif., but then let it drop for many years.
She was a longtime fan of bluegrass, Texas-style and old-time tunes, though. Her brother had a bluegrass band. So two and a half years ago she decided to start fiddle lessons. She plays with the Salt Lake group of the Utah Oldtime Fiddlers in their monthly jam sessions and in concerts for nursing home residents and other audiences.
This August she entered the Salt Lake County Fiddle Contest, her first competition. How did she do?
"Terrible. It was more for the experience," she said self-deprecatingly. "Just don't make it sound like I'm a great fiddle player, because all the people that know how I play are going to laugh."
When she's not fiddling around, Finch is often out hiking the mountains or deserts of Utah with her son Curtis and their black Labrador. The family cat chooses to stay at home.
In the winter, she and Curtis ski - downhill only, thank you - and she says Curtis, who's 9, is getting good enough he'll soon be passing up Mom.
Finch also works with stained glass, although not as much lately as awhile back. There comes a point where the house fills up and there's no more space to put anything.
The house itself was built in 1891, and, while it has plenty of character, it also needed plenty of work when she first moved in. Now, however, she is able to spend more time on other things - her fiddling, skiing, hiking and backpacking. "I just like to go out and explore the state," she said.