Three award-winning fiddlers will commence at the Jones House on April Fools Day (April 1), continuing the indoor house-concert series. Local old-time fiddler, Cecil Gurganus, Watauga High graduate and bluegrass fiddler, Meade Richter, and celebrated old-time fiddler, Emily Schaad will each perform a set during the concert, which will end with some collaborative fiddling.
“I am especially excited for this concert, since these are all fiddlers who are or have been part of the Jones House old-time jam scene,” says concert organizer, Mark Freed. “It will be fun to get to hear them perform; hear what they choose to play when they are not in a room full of other players.”
Cecil Gurganus teaches music lessons at the Jones House and is a regular attendee of the weekly Thursday night old-time jam session at the Jones House. Gurganus moved to the High Country in the 1970s, and he has been a fixture in the old-time music scene, leading The Laurel Creek String Band, a favorite local square dance band. The Laurel Creek String Band has also been a staple at many of the regional fiddlers conventions, accumulating a fair number of prize ribbons over the years. Gurganus has won many ribbons as a solo fiddler as well, including the coveted blue ribbon at the annual Fiddlers Grove festival in Union Grove. In addition to teaching and playing at the Jones House, Gurganus, along with his wife, Julie, help keep traditional called dancing alive in the High Country with a monthly dance at the Todd Mercantile and helping organize numerous other local square and contra dances.
“Cecil has been a mentor for many local musicians, some who have moved on, but many still in Boone,” Freed adds. “He really plays a big role in keeping the local traditional music scene alive and well.”
Meade Richter is one of the students that worked with Gurganus when he was first starting out as a fiddler.
“Meade spent nearly all of his free time ‘wood shedding’ on the fiddle,” Freed says, “And it wasn’t long before Cecil and Meade were peer fiddlers instead of in a teacher-student musical relationship.” In fact, Richter too went on to win the blue ribbon at the Fiddler Grove festival, in both the adult old-time and bluegrass categories. Richter is in his last year of the bluegrass studies program at Eastern Tennessee State University, where he studies bluegrass fiddle. He played with Sons of Bluegrass for his first several years in college and is now in a band called The Honey Chasers, with longtime friend Cameron Owens.
“Meade is a great musician, who really enjoys pushing boundaries and reinterpreting traditional music for the next generation,” Freed says.
Emily Schaad is another fiddler playing a big role on the next generation of fiddlers and violinists. Schaad is finishing up a doctorate in music education, and she leads a youth orchestra in her home state of New York. In addition to being a coveted teacher of both violin and fiddle styles, Schaad is a celebrated performer. She won the old-time fiddle competition at the annual Clifftop Festival in West Virginia, which is known for a high level of old-time musicianship. Schaad last performed in Boone with Old Buck, a band that includes North Carolina’s Riley Baugus. This performance will give her a chance to showcase her fiddling in a smaller configuration and setting.
“The Mazie Jones Gallery is a great setting for a concert like this,” Freed says. “There is no need for amplification; it sounds good; and the audience hears the natural and beautiful tones directly from the instruments.”
Seats are $20 per person, which includes light refreshments at the set break, when audience members will have a chance to meet the artists. Doors open at7:00 p.m., and the concert will begin at 7:30 p.m.
For reservations and a complete list of the 2015 Winter/Spring series, please call 828.268.6280 or visit www.joneshouse.org