Ninth Tommy Jarrell Festival this weekend
by Nelda Brown
MOUNT AIRY Join the Surry Arts Council and Old-Time Music enthusiasts in Mount Airy as they celebrate Tommy Jarrell and his music during the ninth annual Tommy Jarrell Festival. Featuring renowned old-time musicians and dancers Wayne Jarrell, Ira Bernstein, Benton Flippen, Willard Gayheart, Richard Bowman, Robert Dotson, Kirk Sutphin, Riley Baugus and more, the festival includes jam sessions, lectures, music, film, dancing, instrument makers, youth talent and tours of Mount Airy.
The Tommy Jarrell Festival commences on Thursday with free fiddle and guitar workshops for youth at 5:30 p.m. in the Old-Time Music Heritage Hall. There is also a free jam session at 7 p.m. in the Old-Time Music Heritage Hall.
The Tommy Jarrell Festival continues on Friday with a special screening of Sprout Wings and Fly at the Downtown Cinema Theatre, 142 N. Main St., at 1 p.m. That evening, there is a dance in the Old-Time Music Heritage Hall, 218 Rockford St., at 7 p.m. Benton Flippen and the Slate Mountain Ramblers will play the old-time music that has its roots in Surry County. Wayne Jarrell, Tommys son, will be on hand to call the dance.
Festival events for Saturday include an old-time fiddle demonstration by Kirk Sutphin; an old-time dance workshop with Ira Bernstein and Riley Baugus; a screening of the new documentary Why Old Time?; and a Youth Old-Time Talent Competition. From 11 a.m. to 4 p.m., local luthiers and artists will have their handiwork on display and for sale in the Old-Time Music Heritage Hall.
A special Tommy Jarrell Birthday Concert will be held on Saturday at 7 p.m. at the Andy Griffith Playhouse, 218 Rockford St. Join apprentices of Tommy Jarrell as they celebrate Tommys birthday and ensure that his music is preserved in his hometown. Kirk Sutphin, Ira Bernstein and Riley Baugus, the Slate Mountain Ramblers, Benton Flippen and the Smokey Valley Boys, Back-Step, and others join in this celebration hosted by Lew Bode. Tickets for this event are $10.
Friday, Appalachian Roots In-School Program The Surry Arts Council presents Appalachian Roots as part of its School Cultural Program. Appalachian Roots is an entertaining, educational performance/lecture of traditional music and dancing from the Southern Appalachian region of the United States. Written and performed by Ira Bernstein and Riley Baugus, the show takes the audience on an historical, musical and dancing tour of the origins of these beautiful, American traditions, all in a relaxed and playful manner. Appalachian Roots is presented in conjunction with the 9th Annual Tommy Jarrell festival and will be presented to Jones and Copeland Elementary Schools.
Friday, Sprout Wings and Fly - Les Blanks 1984 film Sprout Wings and Fly will be shown in the Downtown Cinema Theatre,142 North Main Street. This film focuses on Tommy Jarrell and his lasting contribution to old-time music. The movie will be shown at 1p.m. Admission is free.
For more information on all festival events, contact the Surry Arts Council at 786-7998 or visit www.surryarts.org.
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