Tuesday, December 28, 2010

IBMM's Centennial Celebration to feature all living Bluegrass Hall of Fame members!

More than 15 members of the Bluegrass Hall of Fame will perform at the International Bluegrass Music Museum’s Bill Monroe Centennial Celebration, September 12, 13 & 14, 2011, at RiverPark Center located next door to the museum in Owensboro, Ky. The event celebrates the life and 100th birthday of Bill Monroe, popularly known as the Father of Bluegrass Music, who was born in nearby Rosine, Ky., on September 13, 1911.

Performers include Jesse McReynolds, Earl Scruggs, Ralph Stanley, Mac Wiseman, Doc Watson, J. D. Crowe, Bobby Osborne, Eddie Adcock, Tom Gray, Kenny Baker, Curly Seckler, Everett Lilly, The Lewis Family, Bill Clifton, Rodney Dillard, Melvin Goins, Paul Williams. Other Pioneers and Blue Grass Boys will be performing, as well.

Tickets to the Centennial Celebration are limited to just 1,500 and sold in advance by reservation only. Ticket prices are tiered for the three days filled with exclusive events, concerts, exhibits, interviews and field trips. Three-day passes range from $175 for orchestra level seating to $100 for second balcony. Call 270-926-7891 to purchase tickets to this once-in-a-lifetime event.

The Centennial Celebration will feature all of the living members of the Bluegrass Hall of Fame with their bands in concert, as well as reunions of museum honorees The Pioneers of Bluegrass—musicians who began working before 1960—and the Blue Grass Boys, veterans of Bill Monroe’s band over the years. The Pioneers and Blue Grass Boys will perform on stage and interact informally during jams, discussions and as audience members.

During the Centennial Celebration, the museum will premier a documentary film featuring the story of Bill Monroe as told by the Blue Grass Boys’ remembrances through the decades. An exhibit of their artifacts will open, as well. The museum will also premier an original musical based on Bill Monroe’s life.

The Bill Monroe Centennial Celebration will take place immediately following the 6th annual Monroe-Style Mandolin Camp, a one of a kind camp devoted to the mandolin performance style of Bill Monroe, taking place September 9-11, 2011 at the International Bluegrass Music Museum.

For more information about coordinated Centennial Celebration events throughout Kentucky, see the dedicated Web site at http://www.billmonroe100birthday.com created by the Owensboro Daviess County Convention & Visitor’s Bureau.

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

IBMM's Monroe-Style Mandolin All-Star Faculty Concert to be broadcast on WNIN-FM!

The Monroe-Style Mandolin All-Star Faculty Concert will air on Saturday, December 11 at 8pm CST on WNIN-FM, with a repeat on Wednesday, December 15 at 7pm central time. WNIN is based in Evansville, Indiana, and can be heard throughout the Tri-State area (including southern Indiana, western Kentucky and southeastern Illinois). The broadcast will also be streamed on the Internet at http://www.wnin.org.

The concert was recorded live at the International Bluegrass Music Museum in Owensboro, Kentucky, on September 10, 2010, featuring camp director Mike Compton (Nashville Bluegrass Band, Elvis Costello & The Sugarcanes), associate director Dr. Richard Brown (The Reunion Band), Hall of Fame member Bobby Osborne (Bobby Osborne & The Rocky Top X-Press), Gibson master luthier David Harvey, Skip Gorman, David Peterson (David Peterson & 1946), IBMM education director Randy Lanham and co-director David Morris, and others.

Production and broadcast of the Monroe-Style Mandolin All-Star Faculty Concert is a partnership between WNIN Tri-State Public Media and the International Bluegrass Music Museum. The Monroe-Style Mandolin All-Star Faculty Concert is the highlight of the Monroe-Style Mandolin Camps held the second week of each September at the museum. For more information go to http://www.bluegrassmuseum.org.

Friday, November 19, 2010

World Progress Report Video

In September 2010, World Progress Report with Joan Lunden (a program that appears on PBS stations) came to Owensboro to tape a segment about the International Bluegrass Music Museum. They visited us during our Bill Monroe Style Mandolin Camp and All-Star Faculty Concert, which resulted in some great performance and workshop footage.

Here's the video! It's a wonderful introduction to the Museum for anyone who hasn't been here yet. And it's also a good introduction to bluegrass music in general for your friends who aren't yet "in the know." Hope you like it!

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Bill Monroe Exhibit to Include Rare Artifacts

Uncle Pen’s fiddle and Monroe’s famous mandolin headstock spotlighted

The International Bluegrass Music Museum will open its Bill Monroe Exhibit as part of the worldwide Bill Monroe Centennial Celebration on September 10, 2010, just three days prior to what would have been Mr. Monroe’s 99th birthday. The opening will begin at 6:00 p.m. (CST) at the IBMM, 217 Daviess Street, Owensboro, KY 42303, and will include a reception with food and drink, as well as an all-star bluegrass concert, with faculty from the Monroe-Style Mandolin Camp performing.

Tickets to the Exhibit Opening & Reception are $10. Tickets to the concert only are $20 and are limited to 125, so reservations are recommended. Tickets for persons attending both the Exhibit Opening & Reception and the All-Star Faculty Concert are $25. Call 270-926-7891 for tickets.

Featured in the Bill Monroe Exhibit are many of Monroe’s personal artifacts and clothing, records and other items, illustrating the impact of his long and eventful career, which spanned nearly seven decades and resulted in the creation and global propagation of one of America’s scant original musical genres. Showcased in this exhibit will be two major artifacts never before displayed in a museum setting: Uncle Pen’s fiddle and the famous headstock veneer from Bill Monroe’s mandolin.

Bluegrass musicians and fans know that this fiddle and its owner, Pendleton Vandiver, were enormously influential in Bill Monroe’s life. After the death of his parents, Bill, then age 16, lived with his Uncle Pen, who taught him mountain and Celtic fiddle tunes which Bill transposed onto the mandolin, making him one of the first to play the mandolin in this manner.

Uncle Pen’s fiddle was acquired by one of the most instrumental people in establishing the IBMM, Terry Woodward of Owensboro, Kentucky, who has gifted the instrument to the museum for the duration of the centennial celebration. This fiddle has been used in recent recording sessions by fiddlers Ricky Skaggs, Stuart Duncan, Fletcher Bright and Tim O’Brien to record a soundtrack for a motion picture being made of Bill Monroe’s life starring Golden Globe-nominated actor Peter Sarsgaard.

The other major artifact, the original headstock veneer from Bill Monroe’s world-famous Gibson 1923 F-5 Lloyd Loar mandolin, is part of a legend well-known to fans and it is considered by some to be the quintessential bluegrass relic. After a disagreement with Gibson, Monroe removed the company’s name from the headstock with a pocketknife, leaving only the word “The.” He performed with the mandolin in that condition from around 1951 until 1980 when Gibson replaced it along with completing several other repairs. It was thought to have been lost or scrapped until recently.

The veneer was auctioned at Christie’s in New York City in December of 2009. The IBMM’s executive director, Gabrielle Gray, made the trip from Owensboro hoping to be the top bidder and acquire the artifact for the museum. She was outbid by Laura Weber Cash, an accomplished vocalist and award-winning fiddler, who has agreed to place it on loan to the museum.

Laura Weber Cash, an accomplished musician with an impressive vocal resume, won the highly coveted first place award in the National Fiddle Championship both as a 17-year-old in the Junior Division and 20 years later in the Adult Division. She is married to John Carter Cash, grandson of Maybelle Carter and the only child of June Carter Cash and Johnny Cash. John is carrying on the family tradition as a singer, songwriter and record producer. Laura and John graciously agreed to loan their newly acquired artifact to the museum for the duration of the centennial celebration.

Coinciding with the Bill Monroe Exhibit opening will be the 5th annual Bill Monroe-Style Mandolin Camp, which draws campers from around the world to learn the legendary, virtuosic, idiosyncratic mandolin style that Monroe created and perfected over many decades. Campers are treated to an annual concert—essentially heaven for mandolin players—with some of the best instrumentalists in the world playing music in the manner Bill Monroe made famous.

The All-Star Faculty Concert begins at 8:00 p.m., also in the RiverPark Center Complex, and is open to the public. The concert features mandolin camp faculty members, including Camp Director Mike Compton, Associate Director Dr. Richard “Richie” Brown, Bluegrass Hall of Fame member Bobby Osborne, Skip Gorman and David Harvey, as well as special guests Danny Jones (former Blue Grass Boy), Dave Peterson (band leader), luthiers Will Kimble and Paul Duff, and others yet to be announced.

The Bill Monroe Exhibit is the second of three special shows that will be open during the two-year Bill Monroe Centennial Celebration. The Bill Monroe Centennial Art Exhibit is the first exhibit in the set, which opened to an overflowing crowd at the museum on opening day of ROMP, the museum’s summer cultural festival.

The art exhibit is comprised of visual artwork by dozens of artists inspired by the music of Bill Monroe. The various forms of art depict specific songs or lyrics. The songs play in the exhibit hall and lyrics are posted beside the art. This exhibit will remain at the museum throughout the centennial celebration period. All works are for sale, with the museum receiving 40% of the proceeds.

The third Bill Monroe Centennial exhibit will open September 13, 2011, his 100th birthday, and will feature the artifacts of The Blue Grass Boys—the legendary members of Bill Monroe’s band over many decades—as well as expand upon the Bill Monroe Exhibit.

The International Bluegrass Music Museum is located in downtown Owensboro in the RiverPark Center Complex, 217 Daviess Street. Hours are Tuesday through Saturday 10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m., and Sunday 1:00 p.m. until 4:00 p.m. For information call 270-926-7891 or visit the museum’s website: http://www.bluegrassmuseum.org.

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

IBMM's Bill Monroe-Style Mandolin Camp 2010

Our Bill Monroe-Style Mandolin Camp will be held at the IBMM in Owensboro, September 10-12.

From Camp Director Mike Compton:

This year's Monroe Mandolin Camp at the IBMM will feature what we think is a bit more adventurous and varied schedule than in years past. We have returning instructors Richie Brown and Skip Gorman and myself from last year. Joining us will be bluegrass legend Bobby Osborne for his second time.

We are looking to Bobby for his memories of days working in close contact with Monroe and hope to include a storytelling class along these lines relating tales of working with Bill backstage at the Opry, working the road, etc .

In addition to that, I have suggested that Bobby teach a couple classes on bluegrass style singing, and he is of a mind this is a good idea, so this is of special interest for those who are fans of authentic bluegrass style singing. Also, he will bring his own unique mandolin style to the table.

We have on staff this year, Dave Harvey and are proud to get him. I think that he is one of the most gifted technicians to ever play a mandolin. Dave's father was an outstanding Monroe style player as well, so Dave gets his influence in that area honestly. He is also very adept at playing in more contemporary stylings, so I think this is an opportunity to learn from him how to step outside the box a bit, to give the old ideas a new twist.

We also are including this year a general help desk for those whose questions are not being answered elsewhere. Each of us will man the desk during the weekend, so be watching for that. Bring questions and come sit a spell.

We are fortunate to have luthiers Will Kimble and Paul Duff with us this year. They have a very informative lineup of topics regarding the history of the F5 mandolin, construction, finishes, self-maintenance, how to install frets, etc.

This is not to be missed for those who are interested in not only playing the mandolin, but possibly building their own. I know that in years past we've had students who were interested in this area, so here's your chance to get your feet wet.

Finally, we will still have the instructor concert as well as the all-night jam at Gabrielle's house. I think this year's event will be better than ever, so tell about 20 of your closest friends and come on to Owensboro this September!

Registration is limited, so don't wait! Click here for more details.

Friday, April 30, 2010

Pioneers of Bluegrass Exhibit

Pioneers of Bluegrass Exhibit
By Forrest Roberts

The Pioneers of Bluegrass Exhibit highlights over sixty first generation bluegrass musicians. Artists from across the country contributed artifacts and then gathered at ROMP 2009 to tour the exhibit, reminisce, renew old friendships and perform.

The exhibit includes historic and contemporary photographs ranging from the Original Blue River Boys and Tony Ellis with Reno and Smiley and the Tennessee Cutups in the 1940’s to more contemporary pictures of the Osborne Brothers, Jim and Jesse McReynolds and J.D. Crowe.

One section is devoted to instruments, including those owned by Curly Seckler, Ramona Jones, Pete Goble and others. Posters, performance clothes and album covers can also be viewed in the collection, along with more unique items, such as the first edition of Bluegrass Unlimited produced on a mimeograph machine; a piece of wood carved by Bill Monroe with the names of the Blue Grass Boys at the time; and some of Monroe’s smoking pipes, which presumably only had Prince Albert tobacco in them.

The Exhibit will continue on display until September of this year.

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Recent Donations Add to Museum's Exhibits

Acquisitions Update
by Forrest Roberts

Ronald Stuckey
Ronald Stuckey is a retired professor of botany from Ohio State University. In addition to aquatic and wetlands plants, Dr. Stuckey loves bluegrass music and for years photographed his favorite artists at bluegrass festivals and concerts. He then exchanged his photographs for the artists’ CDs and tapes. Dr. Stuckey also collected programs, articles, flyers and other bluegrass memorabilia. Dr. Stuckey made his first donation to the International Bluegrass Music Museum in 1995 with the donation of a 1947 souvenir program from the Grand Old Opry. In 2009 Stuckey donated the rest of his collection which included hundreds of photographs, tapes, CDs and other items.

Benny Cain
Benny Cain and his wife, Vallie, for many years performed as a bluegrass duet in the Washington, D.C., area. In his later years Mr. Cain gave much of his professional memorabilia to his friend and fellow musician, Andrew Acosta. In 2009 Mr. Acosta donated this collection to the IBMM. The collection includes sheet music, song books, tapes of live performances, historic photographs, music publications and much more.

Henry “Red” Horrocks

Longtime Museum supporter Henry “Red” Horrocks has made several donations of bluegrass memorabilia over the years. His latest donation includes bluegrass related books; discographies; song and photo souvenir albums; newsletters and journals; autographed photographs, vintage albums and other miscellaneous items.

Owen Lawson
Owens Lawson owns an antique store in Owensboro. He had collected historic photographs and newspaper clippings, vintage song books, song folios, magazines and souvenir booklets with the intent to sell them. When it was suggested that such a unique and valuable collection should be donated to the Museum, he readily agreed.

Don Sherburne
Don Sherburne has been sending portions of his extensive record collection to the Museum for years. His most recent shipment included a gift of 62 vintage albums, including 10 of Bill Monroe’s releases.

The IBMM appreciates very much all the donations it receives and thanks all donors, both those appearing above and others, not mentioned here, who will be highlighted in future blogs.

Friday, March 19, 2010

IBMM Announces new concert series in Owensboro

The International Bluegrass Music Museum is pleased to announce a new benefit concert series to be held at the Museum in Owensboro, Kentucky and beginning this month. ‘Musicians for the Bluegrass Music Museum’ was conceived and organized by Ernie Evans, guitarist for Valerie Smith and Liberty Pike, a longtime supporter of the Museum and its programs.

The series will begin on Friday, March 26th with a performance by the James King Band. More concerts will follow in April, featuring Summertown Road and Kenny & Amanda Smith. There are more musicians who have expressed interest, according to Evans, such as Blue Moon Rising, Brand New Strings and Jeff & Vida.

Evans says he got the idea for a concert series after donating a show with Liberty Pike back in December. “Based on the enthusiasm of a sold out crowd, it occurred to me that if other bands were to follow suit, that a series of concert could have a huge impact that would benefit the museum,” Evans says.

“I realize that funding is difficult for any non profit organization today and after visiting the museum it became obvious to me that it is costly to maintain a first class facility like IBMM.”

Evans himself will take part in the concert series with a performance later this spring with Liberty Pike celebrating the release of their new CD, Blame it on the Bluegrass, recorded at the Museum during their Bluegrass in the Schools residency in January.

Evans is busy recruiting more bands to the cause through his personal connections and through social networking. He created a group on Facebook called ‘Musicians for the Bluegrass Music Museum’ to spread the word throughout the bluegrass community.

Any bluegrass bands are welcome to help, Evans says. “Most artists that are touring nationally will, at some point in time, travel through or close to Owensboro,” he says. “We are flexible on what day of the week concerts can be held. So it can be convenient to the artist’s itinerary.”

Even if bands don’t travel to Kentucky, Evans says they can still assist by helping to spread the word. Bands can also become members and can donate proceeds from special shows.

The price for the ‘Musicians for the Bluegrass Music Museum’ series will be $10 per ticket. All performances will take place at the Museum at 7 PM. For more information on tickets and specific dates, see www.bluegrassmuseum.org or call 888-MY-BANJO.


Fri, March 26th-James King Band

Thurs, April 1st-Jack Hicks and Summertown Road
Thurs, April 15th-Kenny & Amanda Smith

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Pete Wernick’s world-famous Jam Camp comes to ROMP

For the first time ever, the Bluegrass Museum’s ROMP activities will include a music camp. Pete Wernick’s Jam Camps have inspired “closet pickers” all over the country and will make a stop in Owensboro during ROMP, June 21st-24th. The camp will be held at the Museum from 9:00 AM to 5:00 PM Monday through Wednesday, and 9:00 AM until 11:00 AM on Thursday. Pete plans to include special guests and top bluegrass talent to help teach at the camp.

Bluegrass jam camps were first conceived by Pete to help encourage novice fans to participate in the bluegrass community. “A jam camp is to help closet players or people getting into bluegrass—or even more experienced musicians—develop their ensemble skills,” Pete says. “A lot of people are learning to play bluegrass, but are rarely taught the skills involved in playing as part of a group.”

Pete uses a variety of teaching methods, including traditional classroom workshops, large group lessons and small group ensemble in a fun, low-pressure environment. “In a few days, everyone gets the hang of the process. Even if they can't lead a song or take a solo, they can be a ‘follower-alonger’ as we say.”

Using multiple teaching strategies ensures that everyone is included in the learning process, Pete says. “People learn all sorts of ways, but one thing we try to make clear is that bluegrass is not about reading chord changes or solos from a piece of paper or only being able to play what you've memorized,” he continues. “We show how to follow along by watching and hearing the basic chord changes, which is the key to making it all work. We even teach how to solo convincingly when you barely know the song, but are just going from the chord pattern.”

Soloing isn’t a requirement nor is it the main focus of the camp, according to Pete. All that is required of potential Jam Campers is the ability to tune their instruments and change smoothly between G, C, D and A, nothing more. “We especially like to welcome people who have been struggling with trying to play instrumental solos as a way of starting to play bluegrass,” Pete says. “We tell them to never mind that, it's more about following chords, keeping rhythm and hopefully doing some singing. It's often news to them that singing is more fundamental than instrumental soloing, and that we don't expect people to play at fast tempos.”

Pete, who was a long-term president of IBMA, says he’s especially pleased at the success of the Bluegrass Museum and is looking forward to seeing old friends and returning to the Riverpark Center. “This building and the IBMM are living monuments to the dedication of people worldwide to the beauty and power of bluegrass music,” Pete says. “As a native of New York City, I understand if people are surprised at my lifelong commitment to bluegrass, but it feels as natural as can be, and returning to Owensboro and the Museum are going to be among my highlights of 2010.”

For Jam Camp information and registration, point your browser to DrBanjo.com.