By Travis Miller
June 6, 2014. Every summer, Baird’s Creek Presbyterian Church hosts Vintage Valle Music, a free musical get-together done in the spirit of old-fashioned community gatherings. Several local musicians will perform, playing an eclectic mix of folk, gospel, country, bluegrass, americana, traditional and original songs while encouraging sing-alongs and jams.
The event will be held indoors every third Sunday of each summer month from 4 to 6 p.m. at Baird’s Creek Presbyterian Church in Vilas.
Organizers also encourage attendees to bring non-perishable food items to donate to the Hunger Coalition.
The schedule for the event is as follows:
June 15: Amantha Mill, Folk & Dagger, and Sarah & Mark McGuire
July 20: Damascus, Carolina Crossing and Tommy Brown performing Jack Tales
Aug. 17: Pineola Bell Ringers, Turkey Tracks Trio and Kraut Creek Ramblers
The upcoming June 15 show offers a mix of returning acts and groups new to the series.
Amantha Mill will return for the third time. The band, which takes their name from the small community mill along Cove Creek that was washed away in the flood of 1940, reflects their cultural heritage in their music. They play traditional, bluegrass, swing, cowboy and country, making use of tight harmonies and explosive energy.
New to the series is Folk & Dagger, comprised of Doris Brazzini-Crothers, Colin Crothers, Colleen Utter and Allan Duncan. The band is characterized by their soulful harmonization and distinctive acoustic lead, which has likened the band to “Indigo Girls meet The Beatles.” The group has 3 CDs to their credit, including 2009’s Half Full and 2011’s Got Wine.
A highlight of the music program each summer is singer-songwriter Sarah McGuire. Accompanied by her father, Mark, Sarah will perform a mix of country and pop, playing familiar and original songs that will appeal to a wide audience.
The show on July 20 will feature both music and storytelling.
Carolina Crossing is a local bluegrass band, performing with a gambit of musical stylings from hard-driving arrangements to soft ballads. The band is comprised of Dennis Isaacs on lead and rhythm guitar, Gary Trivette on vocals and bass, Curtis Main on vocals and banjo, Tyler Thompson on lead and rhythm guitar and Robby Norris on mandolin.
Tommy Brown will add more variety to July’s event by performing Jack Tales, regional folk stories famous throughout Appalachia. Jack Tales have their origins in English folk tales and legends that feature Jack, a carefree, sly anti-hero. They have since been shared by generations of mountain-folk and have come into their own, now reflecting a distinct local heritage.
Damascus is a large, multiple generation family ensemble whose members have been playing together since childhood. They play guitar and fiddle, with a primary emphasis on bluegrass music.
The final show on Aug. 17 will end the series strong.
Turkey Tracks Trio, an all-female musical trio will perform with their signature style that blends mountain music with storytelling. Members include Jennifer Gillenwater, Mary Mays and Linda Miller. The group has released one CD, Real Live Dolls, that features 18 original songs written by Gillenwater, many of which are based upon her intimate experiences growing up in the region.
Hailing from Pineola Presbyterian Church is the Pineola Bell Ringers. The group is unique to other members of the lineup for their use of the handbell.
The Kraut Creek Ramblers is a recently formed group from Ashe County. They primarily play classical hymns, patriotic music and Americana on their dulcimers and banjos.
Jinx Miller, a member of Baird’s Creek Presbyterian church, has organized the event since its inception.
“The idea came about during lunch when we were having a party for something,” Miller said.
“What happened was a group of musicians would come and were over in the corner playing. [Then someone else] came up and sang with them. One of the teens said ‘wouldn’t it be fun if we could do this more often?'”
She emphasizes that Vintage Valle Music is an event for all in the community and is not tied to a religious service.
“The idea was just being friendly, neighborly and hospitable. It’s just a way to reach out to the community,” Miller said.
“I have this mental image back in the old days before movies and NASCAR. [People] would walk down to the neighbor’s house and sit on the porch. Someone would play music and they’d have iced tea. They’d just sit and pick. We don’t have a porch, but we can just invite the neighbors to come in and listen to music for awhile.”
For more information, contact Baird’s Creek Presbyterian Church at 828-297-4089.