Category Archives: Blue Ridge Music Center

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.


Weekly Blue Ridge Parkway Activities


Summer is still not over and below are a few weekly activities sponsored by the National park Service on the Blue Ridge Parkway.

Rocky Knob Campground, Blue Ridge Parkway Milepost 167
Evening campfire ranger talks on Fridays and Saturdays at 7:30 p.m. Call (540) 745- 9662 for info. Non-campers are welcome!

Rocky Knob Visitor Center, Blue Ridge Parkway Milepost 169
Open daily from 9 a.m. until 5 p.m. with maps, information, hiking trails, and a picnic area. Call (540) 745-9662 for more information.

Mabry Mill, Blue Ridge Parkway Milepost 176
Provides daily demonstrations of early 20th century Blue Ridge life. Activities include a variety of traditional Appalachian crafts including spinning, weaving, basket weaving, and blacksmithing.  Talks of the mill are led at 11 a.m., 1 p.m. and 3 p.m. on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays. Additionally, Sundays feature traditional mountain music and dancing.

Blue Ridge Music Center, Blue Ridge Parkway Milepost 213
The Blue Ridge Music Center is open from 9 a.m. until 5 p.m. seven days a week through October 30. The Roots of American Music exhibit and Mid-Day Mountain Music (12-4pm) are free everyday!  The center features visitor information, hiking, gift shop, and museum. Call  (276) 236-5309 for more information.

Blue Ridge Music Center Presents: Fall Heritage Series

The Blue Ridge Music Center presents its ‘2010 Fall Heritage Series’ showcase in the center’s intimate indoor theater. Seating is limited for the Fall Heritage Programs. Advance reservation recommended by calling (276) 236-5309 x112. The Music Center also has free afternoon performances each day through Oct.

Sunday, October 10 from 2pm-3pm

Concert: Pilot Mountain Bobcats, Free Admission

The Pilot Mountain Bobcats have been entertaining dancers and festival goers with their infectious brand of old time stringband music since 1989. This Surry County-based ban has played for many regional and national events and include Nancy Sluys on fiddle, Jacki Spector on fretless banjo, Allin Cottrell on guitar and Bill Sluys on bass.

Sunday, October 17 at 2pm

Concert: Slate Mountain Ramblers; Free admission

The Slate Mountain Ramblers are a renowned family stringband from Ararat, Va. that is one of the most popular in the region for their traditional sound and great dance music.

Sunday, October 24 at 2pm

Performance-talk: Eastern Kentucky History Through Song; Free admission

Rich Kirby will lead a tour through eastern Kentucky’s history as reflected in its traditional music, from the pioneer days through the Civil War, the coal mining era, and the challenges of the present. In particular, he will feature songs from his grandmother, ballad singer, Addie Graham.