The Virtual Strangers would like to send a “thank you” for your generous funding of our Vista Library presentation in Vista, California, last August 2, 2023. Your support has helped us share with many thers the value of bluegrass music as a part of our shared American history. We especially want to reach out to people in areas that may not have access to hearing bluegrass or learning about its rich history.

This year we presented to children, parents, and seniors much like we did last year, and we drew an audience that was a bit larger than last summer. Some newcomers shared that they had heard about our performance last year and decided to attend this year. Our program was titled, “Why you need to know about bluegrass music!’ and it piqued much interest in Vista as we fielded some inquiries prior to the performance. Vista is a blue-collar community with many Hispanic families, and the many library programs reflect that demographic. The community does have a performing arts school with a music program geared toward classical instruction and Latino music. We gave away bluegrass coloring books, and we had an after-show petting zoo where many came up to see and touch the instruments, ask questions, etc., which was quite popular. Our performance generated interest from parents and children in our Kids Camp, which was planned two weeks later at the Summergrass festival.

We have enjoyed educating and performing for all our library appearances, and it seems like a great fit for us. Many audience members praised the music as both entertaining and educational, and they hoped to attend the festival. It’s important to note that we did advertise that our performance was “a free bluegrass music concert.” With the slow economic recovery still affecting many families here, we believe a free concert attracted some people who wanted entertainment/education that fit their budgets. This is another reason Virtual Strangers wants to say, “thank you!” for supporting us with the BGIS grant, and for helping us over the years with outreaches like this one where we can connect with many who don’t know about bluegrass. Kudos to the IBMA Foundation! Bluegrass brings happy smiles!


Yvonne and Mike Tatar, Jim Blakemore, and Dan Sankey

Return to the November 2023 issue of The Cornerstone.