Sarah Grace Larkey plays the mandolin. Contributed photo.
ROGERSVILLE — It’s almost time for the region’s best young musicians to resin their bows and get into tune for the 11th annual East Tennessee Young Bluegrass Musician’s Contest next month in Rogersville.
The Ball Sisters Band and the Rogersville Heritage Association will host the event on Feb. 22 beginning at 4:30 p.m. at the Hawkins Elementary School gymnasium.
Contestants 18 and younger will compete for trophies and cash in 11 different age/instrument categories, including fiddle, guitar, mandolin, banjo and vocals.
RHA Director Angie Proffitt said about 50 musicians participate every year, and they always put on a great show.
“Obviously some of the younger children aren’t as advanced, but they’re so adorable and it’s really a delight to watch,” Proffitt said. “But this has become a prestigious contest to win, and we’re attracting not only the best young musicians from our region, but across the state. When you sit in the warm-up room and listen to them jamming together before they go on stage, that’s like a show within a show, and you realize you’re in the presence of some really talented young people.”
There are three competition age groups for the fiddle category, including 6 and under, 7-12 and 13-18.
The guitar, banjo, mandolin and vocal categories have two competitive age groups each, including 12 and under and 13-18.
The “best overall performer” will receive additional cash and prizes.
Winners are invited to play on the main stage during Heritage Days and during the Holston Electric Cooperative annual meeting.
Entry fee for contestants is $1 per category per participant.
Each contestant may perform either one or two songs in the competition and may be accompanied by an instructor.
Doors will open and student registration will begin at 4 p.m.
General admission for the event is $5 for adults and $3 for students. Children under 6 years of age are admitted free.
The event is a fundraiser for the Rogersville Heritage Association’s Heritage Lites Leadership Program Scholarship Fund; a partnership of the Heritage Association of Rogersville and The Chamber of Commerce.
Pre-registration isn’t required, but anyone who has questions can call Randy or Donna Ball at (423) 272-6139 or (423) 358-3614.
You can also email questions to firstname.lastname@example.org or visit www.rogersvillefiddle.com.