October Heritage Series at Blue Ridge Music Center – Banjos of the Blue Ridge

Brien Fain at Blue Ridge Music Center

Brien Fain will perform at the Blue Ridge Music Center

Galax, Va. – The Blue Ridge Music Center October Heritage Series begins October 9 with a performance-talk that will showcase different banjos styles in the Blue Ridge from clawhammer, to two and three finger picking styles. Four banjo players from the region: Trish Fore, Bobby Patterson, Jeff Michaels and Brien Fain will perform and talk about their music and style. Folklorist, Gregg Kimball will moderate. This event will take place indoors in the Blue Ridge Music Center small theater, an intimate setting with superb acoustics. Seating is limited so advance reservations are recommended.

Brien Fain is a seventh generation mountain musician from Patrick County who grew up steeped in music from both his mother and father’s sides of the family. While he mostly plays music at home and at informal music sessions he is well known for his traditional style and as a tough competitor. Brien has likely won more blue ribbons for his banjo playing at old-time contests across the country than any other player.

Trish Kilby Fore, born and raised in Ashe County, North Carolina, plays a hard-driving mountain style influenced by Emily Spencer, Harold B. Hausenfluck, Enoch Rutherford, Larry Pennington, and Ola Belle Reed. She has played in many bands including the Fox Creek Ramblers, the Blue Ridge Mountain Ramblers, and the Mount Rogers Ramblers. A regular at area fiddlers’ conventions, Trish won first place in the old-time banjo contest at the 2008 Galax Old Fiddlers’ Convention

Jeff Michaels hails from Wilkes county and doesn’t consider himself an old-time or bluegrass banjo picker. He just likes to play the melody. Jeff is often heard playing or singing with Big Country Bluegrass and the Elkville Stringband. He plays drop-thumb, clawhammer, two and three finger banjo styles.

Bobby Patterson has played banjo for over fifty years. He learned to play from his uncle Tyra Cook, Charles Hawks and other musicians who lived in the Coal Creek area. Presently, Bobby plays banjo, guitar and sings with Willard Gayheart and Sugar Creek band. In 2009, Bobby received the Virginia Heritage Award for his lifetime playing, recording and preserving music from the Blue Ridge.

The Banjos of the Blue Ridge performance-talk will take place Sunday, October 9th at 2pm. Seating opens at 1:45pm. Free admission. Phone (276) 236-5309 x112 to reserve seating. Those with reserved seats must show up 15 minutes prior to the start of each event. At start-time remaining seats are given to drop-in visitors.

Upcoming October Heritage showcases in the BRMC indoor theater
(reserve in advance):

October 16 at 2pm. – Film: The Mountain Music Project (A film that compares old-time music from the southern US with the traditional music of Nepal). Free.

October 16 at 4pm – The Reed Island Rounders showcase. Free.

October 23 at 2 pm – Ballads and Songs of the Blue Ridge featuring: Sheila K. Adams, Bobby McMillon, Martha Spencer & Jackson Cunningham. Free.

All of the October Heritage Events are free thanks to support from Friends of the Blue Ridge Parkway and the National Council for the Traditional Arts.

The Blue Ridge Music Center is located at milepost 213 on the Blue Ridge Parkway. The Blue Ridge Music Center is open 9-5 seven days a week through October 30. Come see the new Roots of American Music exhibition and sit awhile in our covered breezeway and listen to Mid-Day Mountain Music from 12-4pm daily. There is no fee for Visitor Center activities.


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