Arizona Shultz grant:  

The production of a CD of live music performed at World of Bluegrass 2021 by the Fair Black Rose Band from the Jam Pak Band program in Chandler, Arizona was funded by a 2022 Arnold Shultz Grant. Anni Beach, founder and band leader of Jam Pak Blues ‘N’ Grass Neighborhood Band, writes: The CD of Fair Black Rose was created and produced exactly as planned. With the physical CD we have already been given many opportunities to promote the idea that “Bluegrass is for Everyone.” The first presentation was on April 9 for the Phoenix Musicians’ Fund. Fair Black Rose was the headliner for the night and sold their first CDs, autographs and all – an exciting moment for this young band.

On May 21 Fair Black Rose played a set for the Ukraine Fundraiser which was sponsored by Jam Pak and Root to Fruit which brought in $4500 to send to our beloved country of Ukraine. Again, the CD was presented. On June 24-26 Fair Black Rose was a featured band for the Prescott Bluegrass Festival and presented their CD.

Finally, the big moment arrived: The Fair Black Rose CD Release Party held at the Beach House Review. It was a wonderful celebration, and they entertained the crowd with two full sets. Dinner was served. Admission to the event was free to the public. The heat is pretty terrible this time of year in our area of Arizona. A company with a big heart brought in 10 outdoor coolers and set them up so we had some cool air for the evening. Many CDs left in the happy hands of the fans.

Fair Black Rose has #1 fans who have hired them for special house parties. The CD is being sold for a $10 donation, with proceeds going back to the Jam Pak Band fund to help with expenses.

The Arizona Bluegrass Association Beacon editor interviewed all six band members during a one hour session on Zoom. The You Tube link for the presentation of the evening at the CD Release Party is at this link:

The cost of the project ended up to be about $950. We are ever so grateful for the wonderful fund of Arnold Shultz. And it even has greater meaning now that our beloved supporter James Reams has died. He called me after the fund was established and encouraged me to apply for a grant. I did, and Banjam was off and running. So, thank you so much for your help. It’s so important!

North Carolina project grant:

Mary Beth Martin, executive director of the Earl Scruggs Center in Shelby, NC writes: I’d like to express my appreciation to the IBMA Foundation for your support of our Roots and Strings project. During the last week of April, the Bluegrass Ambassadors, the nonprofit arm of the Henhouse Prowlers, came to Shelby to give educational programs to all Cleveland County 4th graders. Over four days, they taught over 1,000 students during 12 interactive programs about the roots of bluegrass and other regional music that is so important to our regional culture and history.

The Henhouse Prowlers are exceptional musicians and dedicated ambassadors for bluegrass music who expertly shared their knowledge with the school children. It was a powerful thing to see how their passion for the material captured the attention of the children and by teaching them about the diverse influences, inspired each one of them to make a connection with the music. In addition, the Bluegrass Ambassadors were able to communicate to the children just how important and influential the contributions of Cleveland County musicians, such as Earl Scruggs and Sonny Terry, are to American music.

Upon completion of the project, we immediately received feedback from Cleveland County Schools about how much the students enjoyed the programs and comments from teachers about the positive impact of this experience. We are currently working with the school district to annually bring the Bluegrass Ambassadors to Cleveland County. Thank you, again, for making this opportunity possible for Cleveland County children.

Tennessee project grant:

Toni Doman, grants coordinator for the Birthplace of Country Music, writes: The Birthplace of Country Music’s (BCM) Pick Along 2022 Summer Camp program was funded in part by the IBMA Foundation’s project grant program. BCM had originally submitted a project grant application in December of 2020 and was graciously awarded a project grant in February 2021. Due to COVID-19, BCM had to cancel summer camps in 2020 and 2021. The IBMA Foundation has graciously allowed BCM to allocate this funding to support camps in 2022. BCM has eagerly welcomed the return of this enriching camp program. This grant funding assisted in supporting two camp weeks held June 20- 24, 2022 for beginner campers, and July 11-15, 2022 for intermediate campers, held at the Birthplace of Country Music Museum.

Camps deliver music and museum education through engaging sessions aimed at beginner and intermediate musicians ages 8—14. During this camp program, children receive expert instruction from qualified musicians and educators on stringed instruments, including fiddle, banjo and guitar. Camps take place inside The Birthplace of Country Music Museum so that campers are immersed in the history of traditional music as they learn about the roots and branches of country music, including bluegrass and old-time music. Beginner campers started the week on day one with an instrument petting zoo activity, in which they are able to choose which instrument they want to learn during the camp week; intermediate campers come to camps with knowledge and experience with their focused instrument. With additional activities throughout the week, campers are able to explore Bristol’s important role in country music history and its lasting influence on the music of today.

During the two camp weeks, 27 campers participated in a variety of camp activities including: a tour of the museum, multiple daily instrument sessions, learning and singing songs from the camp song book, a tour of the community radio station WBCM-LP Radio Bristol (including an activity in which campers wrote and recorded their own radio show and jingle and being on the air with a Radio Bristol DJ), various “showtime on the stage” camp sessions where campers are invited to share their experiences and what they’re learned with the camp group, a square dance with special guest instructor Tyler Hughes, a ukulele info session with Kelly Jolly, a Banjo Bingo activity, performing and busking at downtown businesses, and a final performance of songs and activities campers learned during the week in front of a live audience of family and friends.

BCM’s pick along summer camp programs have now reached over 165 campers. The program continues to grow in participation each year and the BCM staff continues to develop the program through creation of fresh, new and engaging activities for repeat campers.

Oregon project grant:

Crista Munro, executive director of the Sister Folk Festival, writes: The Sisters Folk Festival, Inc. (SFF) received IBMA Foundation Project Grant funding to help further its mission by supporting its brand-new bluegrass-focused programming initiative, the Sisters Folk Festival Bluegrass Jam Camp. The event took place June 23-26, 2022 in Sisters, Oregon.

Funding from the IBMA Foundation Project Grant supported offering registration fees on a “pay what you can” model to expand equity and access to the programming and eliminate financial barriers for all participants. Thanks to this grant, we were able to provide partial funding for 12 of the 35 attendees:

Two campers opted for a full scholarship, and ten others received partial scholarships. The 35 Jam Camp participants came from California, Hawaii, Oregon, and Washington state. Oregon attendees came from central Oregon, the Portland area, the Willamette Valley, the Oregon Coast, and other regions. Participants included 21 women and 14 men.

The Instructors, FY5 and Eli West, were very well-received and students reported getting a lot out of their time spent at camp. In their post camp feedback, campers reported the following highlights:

“Getting to know the teachers and the campers in a very nurturing/community building environment was wonderful. I loved the focus on singing and moving outside our comfort zones. The one-on-one time with the instructors was really amazing and rare in my experience.”

“FY5 and Eli were awesome to work with! So positive and supportive. The one-on-one with my instrument instructor, Rich was very useful! He gave me so much to work on, and I’m seeing changes! Coaching for our band scramble was great. Loved the big group singing and playing – just made me feel so good to finally sing and pick with so many people again! Loved the jamming around the camp sites!” 

“Everyone was so friendly, supportive and helpful. A great set of instructors with fun personalities and very talented musicians. SFF support staff were there for us!”

The free public concert by FY5 and Eli West took place on Saturday, June 25 at Fir Street Park in downtown Sisters. Some 300 people attended from ages 1 to 91, and a good time was had by all, helping to expand the influence and popularity of bluegrass music in the Central Oregon community.

SFF has already begun to plan for next year’s Jam Camp and the inaugural acoustic, bluegrass and roots-based festival that will take place June 23-25, 2023. Our organization looks forward to growing and nurturing the community of players and pickers that took root at the 2022 SFF Bluegrass Jam Camp while providing additional performance opportunities for bluegrass bands from around Oregon and the nation. Thank you for your belief in our vision and the financial support that allowed pickers a chance to learn, to build community and to jam regardless of their financial means.

RETURN to the August 2022 issue of The Cornerstone.