Youth heritage music is a high priority for The Crooked Road and Junior Appalachian Musicians. So, the two organizations are teaming up this week to raise funds to help keep music going for the next generation.
The fundraiser, featuring the New River JAM Band, will be live-streamed on The Crooked Road’s Facebook page from the Rex Theatre in Galax beginning at 6 p.m., Thursday, Oct. 8. An option to donate will be available via the Facebook page.
The New River JAM Band is a premier performing group of Junior Appalachian Musicians. This group of advanced pickers represents six JAM programs in the New River Valley region of Virginia and North Carolina where each member learned to play traditional old time and bluegrass music.
The New River JAM Band features Karlee Hamm on guitar and vocals, Cheyenne Grantham on fiddle, Logan Thompson on bass and banjo, Sophia Puckett on banjo and mandolin, Colin Sprinkle on six string banjo and vocals, Gavin Woodruff on guitar and bass, and Ashlyn Montgomery on guitar.
The band has played at Merlefest, Floydfest, Houstonfest, WDVX’s Blue Plate Special, the West Virginia Strawberry Festival, Valle Crucis Country Fair, and many other festivals and events since its inception in 2018.
Brett Morris, executive director of Junior Appalachian Musicians, says, “During such a challenging time, we want to do whatever we can to keep our Junior Appalachian Musicians engaged. I know the kids in the New River JAM Band are super excited to play some music again. Here at JAM, we are very grateful to be able to continue our collaboration with The Crooked Road and share some good music with the region and the world.”
The Crooked Road has been an active partner of Junior Appalachian Musicians for many years, as part of TCR’s Traditional Music Education Program initiatives. Making sure next generation performers have access to various music education opportunities and performance experiences has always been a cornerstone of The Crooked Road.
Junior Appalachian Musicians provides affordable after-school access for children in grades 4 and beyond in the Southwest Virginia and Western North Carolina region to instruction on common Appalachian instruments such fiddle, banjo and guitar. Participants learn how to play and dance to traditional old time and bluegrass music through small group lessons, tools and support. This provides crucial connections to legacy of heritage music as children actively learn and experience performing.
“TCR realizes the importance of partnering with JAM on this fundraiser. Because programming is being adjusted during these times, support for youth music is critical,” said Carrie Beck, executive director of The Crooked Road.
“We want to see JAM programs maintained in current areas as well as provide support for expanding into new communities,” she added.