Thursday, December 17, 2009
Valerie Smith and Liberty Pike to bring even more bluegrass music into Kentucky elementary classrooms!
Valerie Smith and Liberty Pike will perform concerts in 21 Owensboro, Ky.-area elementary schools during the month of January. The All-School Bluegrass Assemblies are a part of the International Bluegrass Music Museum’s Bluegrass in the School Program (BITS).
The January dates mark Valerie Smith and Liberty Pike’s second term as the featured artists for this presentation. They were the very first assembly program presenters in Owensboro in 2004 and their overwhelming popularity created a successful foundation for a program that is now in its seventh year of implementation.
“Our presentation is about 45 minutes and covers the basics about how and where bluegrass was formed,” says Liberty Pike’s Becky Buller. “Valerie is a former junior high music teacher and has a knack for putting together a program that keeps the students engaged 'til the last,” she adds.
The in-school concerts by national acts are a much-anticipated annual event in the Owensboro area, taking place as part of the Museum’s ongoing educational outreach efforts. Schoolchildren, faculty and administrators, as well as parents who take in the concerts during the school day, often report back that they are the best programs they’ve ever seen in the schools.
“The students seemed to have a lot of fun and were really open-minded to learning about this uniquely American music,” Buller agrees. “I would encourage other bands to look for ways to reach out to students in their own communities with this kind of program. Who knows? They may catch the attention of a kid who will grow up to be one of the next icons of our music!”
The Museum’s BITS program is designed to interest elementary-age schoolchildren in bluegrass music. If—after receiving an eight day, in-depth introduction to fiddle, guitar, mandolin and banjo in their classrooms—they want to learn to play bluegrass, they can then sign up for group lessons at the Museum, with instruments on loan as part of the Saturday Lessons Program.
After four years, 1,711 beginning and intermediate students of all ages have taken group music lessons in this one-of-a-kind, authentic and historic setting. There’s nothing else quite like learning to play bluegrass while surrounded by the actual clothing, posters, photographs and artifacts of Bill Monroe and other greats!
"Bluegrass is one of the few truly American musical genres," Buller says. "The museum is preserving all the wonderful stories of Bluegrass' creators and innovators for not only future generations of musicians, but also for the public at large. By becoming a member, we are supporting the preservation of a national treasure," she says.
Sponsors of the Museum’s BITS program are the Michael E Horn Family Foundation, Lester E. Yeager Charitable Trust, Kentucky Arts Council and the John D’Addario Foundation for the Performing Arts. Participating school systems are Daviess County Public Schools, Owensboro Public Schools and Owensboro Catholic School System.
For more information on the Museum’s educational outreach and lessons programs, call Gabrielle Gray at 270-926-7891 or email her at Gabrielle@bluegrassmuseum.org.
Assembly schedule for Valerie Smith and Liberty Pike:
8 am Foust
10 am Newton Parrish
1 pm West Louisville
8:15 am Cravens
10 am Tamarack
1 pm Country Heights
10 am Sutton
1 pm Meadowlands
8:15 Catholic K-3 Campus
10 am Catholic 4-6 Campus
1 pm Sorgho
8 am Whitesville Elementary
1 pm East View
8 am Mary Carrico Knottsville
10 am Saint Marys of the Woods Whitesville
1 pm Deer Park
8:30 am Estes
1 pm Burns
1 pm Southern Oaks
1 pm Highland
Wednesday, December 16, 2009
Our Holiday Concert fundraiser December 10 was a resounding success. Valerie Smith & Liberty Pike were so funny and entertaining that the “sell-out crowd” (about 75 more than filled up the Bluegrass Unlimited Theater) was on their feet clapping several times.
The concert lasted nearly 3 hours and no one left before it was over, amazing for a weeknight. We made a few hundred dollars and many more friends. Now it seems everyone wants a concert date. The show was broadcast on RBI and the museum is getting offers now from other national acts to do benefit concerts in like fashion.
Up-N-Gone opened with a fine 20-minute set, staying to join in for a finale where both bands performed and the audience sang along. A frolicking good time was had by all.
Wednesday, December 9, 2009
It was "Wild and Wonderful" (yes, I drove through West Virginia!) to see all the interest in the Bill Monroe artifacts. When the headstock veneer was introduced, they made an announcement that there had been a LOT of interest in the upcoming piece. I think they were surprised at that, but I certainly wasn't.
See a picture of it here.
There were bidders in the audience (including me) and callers on the phones. The bidding went SO HIGH, SO QUICKLY it made my head spin, and suddenly it was out of reach. I was disappointed because I had driven a LONG way to be there and I wanted that artifact for the museum so that everyone all over the world could enjoy it—and the story that accompanies it—forever, but I know whoever bought it will take excellent care of it because they spent $37,500 (plus taxes & fees) to get it!
Here's what we did acquire:
It’s the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame induction award presented posthumously to Bill Monroe in 1997. It will make a great addition to our permanent Big Mon exhibit at the Museum.
Wednesday, December 2, 2009
The event is free and open to the public. Featured artists and times are:
5:00 PM Foghorn String Band (Old Time)
6:00 PM Tim O’Brien (Progressive)
7:00 PM Uncle Earl (Old Time)
8:00 PM Adrienne Young & Little Sadie (Progressive)
8:30 PM Cadillac Sky (Progressive)
This event is part of The Holiday Stroll, during which many downtown Owensboro businesses will be open and welcoming to the public, showing off their holiday decorations, exhibits, menus and merchandise. Free refreshments will be served at numerous businesses, including the Bluegrass Museum. Get into the holiday spirit with strolling carolers, live performances, and storefront decorations making this a reminder of the good old days of being downtown at Christmas. Singers, instrumentalists, dancers, storytellers and actors will perform in storefronts and outside along Second and Third streets from Daviess to St. Ann.
The Bluegrass Museum is located in the RiverPark Center Complex, 117 Daviess Street, in downtown Owensboro just under the blue bridge… over the legendary Ohio River that is the subject of so many bluegrass songs.
Monday, November 30, 2009
Your association will appoint or elect a person who is willing and enthusiastic about being an Ambassador from your association to the International Bluegrass Music Museum. This Museum Ambassador will work with the Bluegrass Museum on special projects, report news and information for our newsletter, report Museum news back to your association for members and newsletters, encourage Museum membership and donations, encourage donation of bluegrass artifacts to the Museum and attend a yearly meeting of Ambassadors at ROMP in Owensboro each year. ROMP takes place the 4th weekend of June.
Ambassadors will receive a complimentary IBMM membership, a VIP ROMP pass (which includes VIP access to all events, backstage privileges, meals with Artists/Pioneers), and an Ambassadors t-shirt. The museum will arrange low-cost lodging for your stay at ROMP, getting you in on our artists’ rates (typically $54/night + tax).
What we need from you:
Designate your official Museum Ambassador and send us the following information.
T-shirt size: S M L XL 2XL
Please mail this information to the address below or email it to email@example.com.
International Bluegrass Music Museum
Attn: Bluegrass Ambassadors
207 East Second Street
Owensboro, KY 42303
Monday, November 23, 2009
“We love spreading the joy and meaning behind the Christmas season in song,” Smith says. “We are especially grateful this holiday season for our wonderful fans; you folks have made it possible for us to continue doing what we love to do, even in this difficult economy. Thank you!”
This concert will take place in the museum's ‘Bluegrass Unlimited Theater’ and will be broadcast globally over RBI: Radio Bluegrass International, the museum's online radio station. If you can't make the concert, you can still be there virtually by going to the museum’s website, www.bluegrassmuseum.org and clicking on RBI (the radio icon on the upper left-hand corner of the home page).
“The International Bluegrass Music Museum is preserving an important part of America's musical history in a very welcoming, interactive, fun yet classy way,” Smith says. “We're proud to be part of their outreach to the community, both as part of their upcoming ‘Bluegrass In The Schools’ program in January and with our Christmas Concert on Dec. 10th, where folks can expect a mix of our regular material as well as songs of the season.”
Concert seating for Valerie Smith & Liberty Pike is quite limited—call in advance for reservations. Tickets are $10 per person, in advance or at the door. For reservations, call 888 MY BANJO (888-692-2656).
The Bluegrass Museum is located at 117 Daviess Street, in downtown Owensboro, Ky. The museum is inside the RiverPark Center Complex, a large red brick building on the right, just beside the blue bridge over the Ohio River. Directions are on the museum's website under ‘Plan A Visit.’
Tuesday, November 17, 2009
This will be the third annual reunion event, but the first to include a Blue Grass Boys gathering. To date, more than 60 “pioneers”—those musicians who were working in bluegrass before 1960—have attended the event. ROMP 2010 is scheduled for June 24-26, and museum director Gabrielle Gray says she hopes to attract as many of the 90 or so living Blue Grass Boys to the event as possible.
The Museum will also be making a documentary of the gathering, to supplement its Video Oral History Project that has recorded 175 interviews with bluegrass pioneers. In addition to the reunion events and main stage concert, ROMP features a Pioneers Recognition Ceremony, the Legends Supper, the IBMA Bluegrass Hall of Fame unveiling, a film festival and more.
For information on the reunion, call the museum at 888-MY BANJO or e-mail Gray at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Monday, October 26, 2009
The production, which presents stories from Abraham Lincoln’s life set to bluegrass music, was directed by Dr. Teresa Wills and features hundreds of area elementary schoolchildren in acting, singing and dancing roles. The students, from Newton Parrish, Country Heights, Catholic 4-6 Campus, and Foust wrote melodies, lyrics and performed the songs they had penned. Lincoln is part of the larger IBMM ‘Bluegrass in the Schools’ (BITS) program.
The Lincoln musical was the brainchild of area mail carrier Rick Miller, who had researched and written the dialogue, as well as words to half of the songs, before pitching the idea to IBMM Director Gabrielle Gray. Miller and Gray enlisted the assistance of BITS volunteer Randy Lanham to compose music for Miller’s songs and to tutor the student actors and musicians in the art of traditional bluegrass songwriting.
Lanham then coordinated with the elementary school teachers who coached their students through the final production. Dance sequences were choreographed by Barry Lanham of the dance troupe Foot Stompin’ Express, which also performed in Lincoln. Students from Foust Elementary choreographed their own dance steps for the original song they had written for the musical.
In her role as producer of the event, Gray, emphasizes that the success of Lincoln in the Land of Bluegrass underscores the importance of educational programs to the IBMM mission. “As our board and staff go steadfastly about the business of nurturing, sponsoring and growing bluegrass from our youth up, it is wonderful to get to see the results of our efforts not only appreciated but ‘limelighted’ by others,” she says.
Educational programs at the IBMM are made possible through donations, grants and sponsorship by various individuals and organizations, including the Michael E. Horn Family Foundation, Kentucky Arts Council, Lester E. Yeager Charitable Trust and D'Addario Foundation for the Performing Arts. The museum plans to mount a similar musical production on the life of Bill Monroe, to be performed at their Centennial Celebration of his birth on Sept 13, 2011.
Lincoln in the Land of Bluegrass airs on Kentucky Educational Television:
Tuesday, November 3, 8:00 p.m. CST
Wednesday, November 4, 12:00 a.m. CST
Wednesday, November 4, 12:00 p.m. CST
Friday, November 6, 11:00 p.m. CST
Saturday, November 7, 1:00 a.m. CST
Saturday, October 17, 2009
As arguably the most well-respected purveyor of Monroe’s style, it was no surprise that the Museum tapped Mike Compton to head the mandolin camp. “The primary goal of the Monroe Mandolin Camp is to preserve and further the mandolin art of Bill Monroe,” he says. “In order to achieve this goal, we have sought the most accomplished and knowledgeable practitioners of the art from coast to coast, most of whom have highly respected musical careers of their own.”
The Camp was a great success this year, Mike says. “Rave revues from this year's student body, as well as comments from the instructor staff, confirmed the progress we have made in focusing the curriculum. There were a number of students who made this year's event their fourth in a row and there is every indication that many of them will be returning next year,” he says.
“The classes were designed to offer something of value to all skill levels. Pertinent subject matter was presented using lectures, sheet music in standard notation/tab, audio samples and ‘call-and-response.’ There were also short individual sessions that offered the students a chance to address questions ‘knee-to-knee.’” Looking forward to next year, Mike plans to incorporate more multimedia to enhance the experience, as well as appeal to those with more visual learning styles. “Hopefully, we will be able to include some of the video footage available on Monroe's various bands as another angle to convey the information.”
Together with knowledgeable instructors and a strong curriculum, campers delve deeper into the Monroe sound, as well as partake in a healthy dose of jamming each night. Jamming is vital to any good camp camp, according to Compton, because “the music is the vehicle towards an end.” And the nightly jam circle means just as much to the instructors as to the campers, he says. “It is pure joy, sometimes even ecstasy, to be able to play Bill's tunes with other people that love the form as much as I do. It's just being able to interact and make the sound, to find other people who share a common interest.”
Monday, October 12, 2009
Students range in ability from beginner to intermediate, and some have been attending Saturday Lessons for several years. The group lesson format is a good way to introduce newcomers to bluegrass music, says fiddle instructor Randy Lanham. And compared with individual lessons, the program is more affordable at $30 for the fall semester. “A group lesson goes slower. It’s not quite as much information, not quite as fast, and it’s a great way to learn with the cheaper price and less time required,” says Lanham.
Beginners learn familiar bluegrass standards such as “Will the Circle Be Unbroken” and “Blue Moon of Kentucky.” More experienced students work together as in a band format and learn more advanced musical parts, says Lanham. “There are about 25 students that have been coming for years. With them, we teach not only the melody part, but the harmony part and solos. And they learn a variety of songs: a patriotic song, an Irish song, a gospel song,” he says.
The first day of lessons kicked off smoothly, according to Lanham. “Sometimes the first day can be chaotic for new students. There are broken strings, instruments are out of tune and some students show up at the wrong time. This went really well, we didn’t have a lot of those problems.”
Participants come to the Saturday Lessons program from a variety of communities and from all walks of life, with many students coming from local schools, says Lanham. “Another museum program I’m involved in is the Bluegrass in the Schools, and that generates a lot of interest in lessons, so the two programs kind of go hand in hand.”
The spring Saturday Lessons program is twice as long, classes are generally larger, and it culminates in a performance of all students in the Kentucky BlueGrass AllStars at the IBMM’s River of Music Party (ROMP). The spring semester registration fee is $60, and each additional immediate family member is only $30. Students performing at ROMP will also receive free 3-day admission to the festival as an AllStar, as well as a 3-day complimentary pass for a parent or friend. The next Saturday Lesson term begins February 20, with a registration deadline of January 30. For more information call 270-926-7891 or visit the IBMM website at www.bluegrassmuseum.com.
Monday, June 22, 2009
The Pioneers of Bluegrass Music are Gathering at ROMP, the “River of Music Party 09” in Owensboro, Kentucky, June 24-27.
Bill Monroe, known universally as The Father of Bluegrass Music, was born, grew to manhood, and is buried in
Over 60 of the iconic artists who were among the earliest practitioners of bluegrass music, a unique American art form, will be coming from coast-to-coast and as far distant as
In 2003 the museum began professionally videotaping the lives of this pioneering first generation, musicians who were professionally playing bluegrass music by the mid-20th century. To date, 170 first-person interviews and nearly half as many concert performances have been filmed, creating a priceless treasure trove -- one of the nation’s most informative and comprehensive folk archives. (For an interview with Video Oral History Project director, Joe Gray, call 502-244-9444.)
Documentary-style films of these musicians will be shown during the “Bluegrass Masters Film Festival” taking place during ROMP and the Pioneers Gathering. From Earl Scruggs to Pete Seeger to The Ozaki Brothers and dozens more, one can learn about their histories from the musicians who shaped this exhilarating, virtuostic music that has spread globally with a rapidly expanding fan base, particularly since the advent of O Brother, Where Art Thou? in 2000. An extensive exhibit of their artifacts will open on June 24 at the museum in the gallery beside the Hall of Fame.
To honor these legendary figures, the museum is hosting a Legends Supper on Thursday June 25, followed by The Legends Concert at 7 PM during which each of the pioneers will be formally introduced and honored for their contributions to bluegrass music.
Wednesday’s events begin with a full slate of performances by “regional” (i.e. within a 75-mile radius of
Thursday from 11 AM and continuing through Friday night, see the Pioneers in Performance. Those bringing bands and performing onstage include Gloria Belle, Tony Ellis, Dave Verny, Tom Gray, Les Woodie, Eddie & Martha Adcock, Jim Smoak, Jesse McReynolds, Bill Clifton, Jimmy Gaudreau, Paul Williams, Larry Sparks, Melvin Goins, Al Hawkes, Jimmy Cox, Bud Reed, Ralph Reed, David Reed, Ernest Ferguson, Homer Bailes, Roger Sprung, The McCormick Brothers, The Ozaki Brothers, Bobby Osborne, and J. D. Crowe. Many other bluegrass pioneers will be attending, including members of the Hall of Fame.
Friday June 26th and Saturday June 27th the festival will move outdoors to
ROMP ‘09 is sponsored by the
Wednesday, June 17, 2009
Not only is this year’s line-up the biggest ever, but the museum
is also hosting between 65 and 70 of Bluegrass Music’s pioneering
generation to attend. These legendary musicians are coming from as
far distant as Japan and coast-to-coast across the United States.
To our knowledge, this is the most extensive gathering
of bluegrass music’s iconic musicians ever held. We warmly
invite and encourage you to attend and help us give these
musicians the honor and recognition they so richly deserve.
Not only are the Pioneers coming to exchange
hugs and stories, they are also coming to perform! Almost all of
them will take the stage at one time or another throughout
On Thursday, plan to hear Gloria Belle & Tennessee Sunshine,
Roger Sprung & Friends (CT), The Homer Bailes Band (LA),
Eddie & Martha Adcock with Tom Gray,
Jim Smoak & The L A Honeydrippers (IN),
Jesse McReynolds & The Virginia Boys, and
Hall of Fame honoree Bill Clifton with Jimmy Gadreau.
The Pioneers of Bluegrass Gathering is not guaranteed
to be an annual event,so please take advantage of it
happening this year and come if you possibly
can. For a list of artists planning to attend,
please visit our website, www.bluegrassmuseum.org,
and click on ROMP. The Gathering is sponsored by
Chattanooga’s pre-eminent fiddler, Fletcher Bright.
Terry Woodward, the civic leader credited with founding
the International Bluegrass Music Museum and helping
IBMA become well-established in its early years in Owensboro,
is once again giving the bluegrass world a major gift.
He is hosting a “ROMP Kick-Off Concert” on
Wednesday, June 24, at 7 PM at the RiverPark Center in Owensboro
covering all the expenses and giving all the ticket sales
to the Museum to help with the preservation of the history
of bluegrass music. The ROMP Kick-Off Concert features
Mike Snider, Marty Stuart and the Fabulous Superlatives,
and The Del McCoury Band. Tickets range from $10 to $50 in advance
($20-$60 at the door) and can be purchased
by calling the museum: 270-926-7891. Please attend and
help us make the most of Terry’s gift. Performances leading
up to this concert feature six of our most excellent regional
bands: Blackberry Jam, Mountain Harmony, Grandview Junction,
County Line Bluegrass, Up-N-Gone, and King’s Highway.
The IBMA Bluegrass Hall of Fame plaques honoring
Charles Wolfe and Bill Clifton will be unveiled
and entered into the Hall of Fame on Thursday, June
25, during The Legends Supper. Tickets to the supper
are extremely limited, so please order yours now if you
plan to attend. Following The Legends Supper, Ronnie Reno
will be Master of Ceremonies for the annual Legends Concert,
featuring Larry Sparks and the Lonesome Ramblers,
Melvin Goins & Windy Mountain, and Paul Williams & The Victory Trio.
Mid-way through this concert, The Pioneers of Bluegrass Recognition
Ceremony will take place. Each Pioneer will be individually recognized
onstage in a beautiful ceremony. Along with Ronnie Reno, watch
for Valerie Smith, Becky Buller,and Josh Williams, who will be
bringing the Pioneers onstage.
The historic, first-ever Pioneers of Bluegrass Exhibit will open Thursday,
June 25. Nearly all the attending pioneers will have artifacts on display
for a year following the opening. The Phil Zimmerman photographic exhibit
memorialized by his gorgeous book, Bluegrass Time, has been extended for a
second year. All new and renewing members in 2009 will receive this book as
a membership perk, a $25 value. Museum memberships are $45.
For the four days of ROMP, our Bluegrass Masters Film Festival will be
showing documentaries this museum has produced through its Video Oral
History Project featuring 1st and 2nd generation bluegrass musicians. And,
for the first time, on Thursday, June 25, Fred Bartenstein will host an
all-day marathon of interviews with Pioneers emanating from the museum.
These interviews will be carried live on our internet radio station, RBI,
Radio Bluegrass International, which you can access from our website (top
left corner of the home page, click on the radio). Let us know how you like
our new website!
A huge line-up of ROMP performances and an impressive array of instrumental
workshops awaits festivalgoers at Yellow Creek Park, 4 miles outside of
Owensboro, on Friday and Saturday, June 26-27. Throughout much of Friday
June 26 at the park, ROMP will again be graced by rare performances by
Friday: Performances by Individual Pioneers from 10AM to noon on Friday,
followed by The McCormick Brothers, Bluegrass Authority (Les Woodie, Dave
Verny, Tony Ellis & Tom Gray), The Reunion Band, The Ozaki Brothers
(Japan), Williams & Clark Expedition, J. D. Crowe & The New South, Bobby
Osborne & The Rocky Top X-Press, Steep Canyon Rangers, and Josh Williams
Saturday: The Harringtons and The Grasstains, Cats & The Fiddler, Kentucky
BlueGrass AllStars, Bill Evans & Megan Lynch, Ronnie Reno & The Reno
Tradition, Valerie Smith & Liberty Pike, Bluegrass Parkway (Australia), The
Dixie Bee-Liners, The Special Consensus, Grasstowne, Doyle Lawson &
Quicksilver, and The Dan Tyminski Band.
Substantial discounts (50%) apply to Museum Members, Seniors, Students and
Military. Children 12 & Under are free. Camping is plentiful and free.
Advance tickets are on sale at <http://www.bluegrassmuseum.org>
www.bluegrassmuseum.org, or call the museum toll-free: 1-888-MYBANJO
Please join us here in the bluegrass state for what is certain to be an
amazing four days this June.