Fiddlers can rosin their bows and guitar players should get their fingers warmed up. The fourth annual Sumner County Bluegrass Jamboree is coming to Volunteer State Community College on Saturday, April 11 and everyone is invited to compete or enjoy the free performances. The event is hosted by Vol State as part of the Bluegrass Music degree emphasis at the college.
“Although Bluegrass was born in the Northeast corner of Tennessee, I think you can argue that Middle Tennessee, specifically Music City, has the highest concentration of great pickers and fiddlers of all ages anywhere in the world,” said Vol State assistant professor Ben Graves, who organizes the event and runs the Bluegrass Program. “And for every gig that comes available there’s a line around the corner of qualified people waiting for the opportunity. This competition is always great fun.”
The competition starts at noon. Categories include: Bluegrass Band, Beginner Fiddle (ages15 and under), Junior Fiddle (16-39), Senior Fiddle (40 and up), Beginner Guitar (15 and under), Guitar (16 and up), Beginner Mandolin (15 and under), Mandolin (16 and up), Beginner Banjo (15 and under), Banjo (16 and up), Beginner Dobro (15 and under) and Dobro (16 and up).
The prizes will be comprised of the registration fees from the registrants in each category. Sign-up will be held the day of the event starting at 10 a.m., but competitors are encouraged to visit www.volstate.edu/jamboree to download the registration forms, scan them and return them to Benjamin.firstname.lastname@example.org. Competitors may also pre-register by calling (615) 452-8600, ext. 2936. Registration fees will be due the day of the event.
Judges will include legendary Bluegrass mandolinist/guitarist Roland White and “Fiddlestar” Megan Chowning, both of whom will be offering free instructional master classes, as well as banjo virtuoso Mark Barnett and ace mandolinist Mel Matthews. Vol State’s own Bluegrass Ablaze is set to perform and feature the guest artists, along with the Vintage Mandolin Ensemble, and many other special guests. The public is invited to watch the competitions and the performances, and take part in the free instructional master classes.
The Sumner County Bluegrass Jamboree will be held from 10 a.m. until 6 p.m. at Caudill Hall on the Vol State campus at 1480 Nashville Pike in Gallatin. There is plenty of free parking. For more information visit www.volstate.edu/bluegrass. To register in advance call 615-452-8600, extension 2936.