The Sunny Mountain Serenaders will spend Sunday, Nov. 13, at the Jones House Cultural and Community Center presenting afternoon master classes in old-time country fiddle, banjo, and guitar, followed by an evening house concert performance.
Old-time trio, The Sunny Mountain Serenaders, brings together three of southwest Virginia’s most notable players and historians of the old-time country music of the region, particularly from the 1920s and 1930s. The band includes fiddler Mark Campbell, banjo and harmonica player Mac Traynham, and guitar player John Schwab.
Campbell has dedicated his life to preserving and passing down old Appalachian fiddle and banjo styles. Since his childhood in the Shenandoah Valley of Virginia, he traveled around the region, collecting and playing the old style of music. He learned bowing and picking styles from some of the giants of the previous generation from North Carolina, Virginia, and West Virginia.
In 2008, Campbell was named the Virginia Foundation for the Humanities’s Master fiddler. He has won the prestigious Appalachian String Band Festival in Clifftop, West Virginia, and he has twice won the State Fair of Virginia fiddle contest. He travels and performs with The Campbell Family Band, and numerous other string bands, in addition to the Sunny Mountain Serenaders.
Mac Traynham is a well-versed musician and a master wood worker, who specializes in furniture, cabinets, and instruments. Traynham has made Southwest Virginia his home since the 1970s, where he has developed a solid reputation for his high quality cabinets and banjos, and also for his fine musicianship and teaching. His interest in Southwest Virginia’s old-time banjo playing traditions and in rare tone woods has led him to become a master maker of beautiful open-back banjos. He performs and records as a duet with his wife Jenny, when he is not playing banjo and harmonica with the Sunny Mountain Serenaders.
John Schwab is a musician, teacher, historian, and author, having written one of the definitive instructional books on old-time backup guitar. With more than four decades of experience playing guitar with loads of different fiddlers and banjo players, Schwab has a reputation as one of the best in the business. Over the last couple of decades, Schwab has anchored the rhythm sections of the Mostly Mountain Boys, the Hoover Uprights, and now the Sunny Mountain Serenaders.
“These guys are all great musicians and experienced teachers,” says event organizer, Mark Freed. “We are really excited to have them here for the workshops and the concert.”
Workshops are geared towards intermediate through advanced fiddlers, banjo players, and guitar players. The workshops will be separate, but will all begin at 4:00 p.m., so participants will have to choose between the different instruments. The workshops are free for participants of the Jones House music lessons and anyone attending the evening concert. If others are interested in participating in the workshops, please contact Mark Freed at firstname.lastname@example.org or 828.268.6282.
The concert will begin at 7:30 p.m. on Sunday evening in the Mazie Jones Gallery of the Jones House. Tickets for the concert are $20 per person. The venue can seat 40 people, and due to the limited seating, advanced reservations are recommended. All open seats will be available at the door, which opens at 7:00 p.m. on the night of the concert.