By Anni Beach (Chandler, AZ)

Gieselle Tambe-Ebot won a seat at the table with 25 other folks from around the world to attend Leadership Bluegrass 2023, the three-day intensive training in bluegrass music. The Jam Pak Blues ‘N’ Bluegrass Neighborhood Band sponsored her expenses, but she also received a $1,000 grant from the IBMA Foundation’s Arnold Shultz Fund. That amount covered most of her expenses, which were kept to the bare bones. Here is what Gieselle has written about her experience at Leadership Bluegrass on March 5-7 in Nashville:

“I was most encouraged and inspired by our class focus to widen the tent to ensure the sustainability of bluegrass. Many break-out sessions ended with key acknowledgments that for bluegrass to survive, we must attract young ones to the music. We were tasked with taking actionable steps beyond lip service, and I committed to working with local community leaders towards the development of a bluegrass summer program for kids. We must be proactive in bringing young ones into the fold, including those who learn to play, learn to listen, and who are happy to say that bluegrass is not just fun but is also cool!

“I also particularly enjoyed the initiative by Annie Savage to tell the true history of bluegrass and disseminate a Bluegrass in Schools resource book for the education of young people. As a result of attending Leadership Bluegrass, I was given the opportunity to present the pamphlet to the LBG and IBMA communities at the LBG Alumni Association monthly zoom cast on April 12.

“Overall, one of the most powerful take-aways from the class was a useful nugget from class facilitator and presenter Jeff Westerinen called WAIT ‘Why Am I Talking?’ I am now more aware about what I say and the purpose behind why I am saying it, and I believe this will serve me well in efforts to build the bluegrass community and help ensure the sustainability of this music we all love.”

By Trisha Duncan (Roxboro, NC)

The youth bluegrass band, The Loblollies, presented an educational bluegrass program for students at the Person County Schools Virtual Academy in Roxboro, NC, on March 8.

The Loblollies visit was a great success! They ended up doing two school workshops/performances since other schools wanted to learn more about them when they heard they were coming into town to visit the home-schooled students. They also hosted a free community concert at the Kirby Theater that evening. The IBMA Foundation Bluegrass in the Schools Mini-grant certainly multiplied their opportunities for sharing bluegrass with children and adults in our community!

I’ve linked some photos and a video here. The PCSVA workshop had 30+ attendees, the Kirby school workshop had 50+ attendees, and the evening community performance had 85+ attendees! 

We are grateful for the opportunity to host these young musicians!

Return to the April, 2023 issue of The Cornerstone.

Photo above: Gieselle Tambe-Ebot (center) with her classmates in Leadership Bluegrass 2023

Our apologies for mis-identifying Ms. Tambe-Ebot in the photo previously.