Thanks to all who purchased a Pisgah Banjo raffle ticket during the month of February to benefit the Arnold Shultz Fund, established by the IBMA Foundation to encourage participation in bluegrass music by people of color. More than 1,000 raffle tickets had been sold by press time.

Tune in to at noon Eastern on Monday, March 8, to see the live-stream drawing for the banjo.

The Prize: A custom-built Pisgah Banjo made from 200+ year-old heart pine salvaged from Pleasant Retreat, a historical plantation located near Appomattox, VA. The plantation where this wood was salvaged is located a half mile from where Joel Walker Sweeney grew up. Sweeney, a banjoist and minstrel performer, is known for popularizing the banjo in White culture in the early to mid-1800s and credited learning how to play banjo from slaves on a nearby plantation (very likely Pleasant Retreat). Pisgah Banjos chose to benefit the Arnold Shultz Fund as a way to help reappropriate the history of the banjo. We hope this encourages the banjo community and beyond to discover the early American history of the banjo and folk music born on slave plantations and influenced heavily by early American Black culture. The heart pine was donated by Craig DuBose and was salvaged from the roof structure of the main living quarters at Pleasant Retreat. A notarized letter will be provided to authenticate that the wood came from Pleasant Retreat.

The IBMA Foundation established the Arnold Shultz Fund in 2020 to support activities increasing participation of people of color in bluegrass music. Arnold Shultz (1886–1931) was an African American musician from western Kentucky who had a profound influence on Bill Monroe and the development of bluegrass. You can read more about Arnold Shultz and the Fund at

Go back to the March 2021 issue of The Cornerstone.