Natalie Babbitt wrote in Tuck Everlasting: “The first week of August hangs at the very top of summer, the top of the live-long year, like the highest seat of a Ferris wheel when it pauses in its turning. The weeks that come before are only a climb from balmy spring, and those that follow a drop to the chill of autumn, but the first week of August is motionless, and hot. It is curiously silent, too, with blank white dawns and glaring noons, and sunsets smeared with too much color.”

That’s about right, isn’t it? I’m sure many of us, perched at the top of the Ferris wheel of summer, are looking forward with anticipation to the coming of fall and World of Bluegrass events in Raleigh. If it weren’t for homegrown tomatoes, fresh corn, blackberry bushes and a profusion of flowers like the ones posted on Ruth McLain’s Facebook page, one would be tempted to tear off the calendar month of August every year and skip it entirely.

We’re happy to share news with you this month about scholarship and award recipients, along with the Bluegrass College Band Showcase schedule and a report from one of our Shultz Fund grant recipients.

I was honored last month (and still a bit surprised) to hear that I’ll be one of the five recipients of IBMA’s Distinguished Achievement Award for contributions to bluegrass music. Dating back to my first paying gig as a teenager in 1975 when I walked onstage with my Dad and sister, Susan, at Silver Dollar City in Branson, Missouri, through the years of freelance writing for music magazines beginning in college, helping to run a concert series and a lutherie shop in the ‘80s, the 1994-2014 tenure on staff at IBMA, the past five years with the IBMA Foundation, and miles of music with a few dozen bands performing locally and internationally, somehow 47 years of working in the music industry have passed. I’ve been blessed to work with some amazing teams and learn from several kind mentors along the way. And of course, there’s still work to be done. I appreciate every one of you who have shared your music and stories with me, and especially those of you with a passion for sharing bluegrass music with the next generation. It’s so important, to our present and future.

Let’s take another ride around that Ferris wheel!

–Nancy Cardwell

Return to the August 2021 issue of The Cornerstone.