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Tuesday, April 4, 2017

WCC Monthly Bluegrass and Old Time Jamboree Set for April 15

Wytheville Community College is sponsoring its free monthly Bluegrass and Old-Time Jamboree, this time featuring ShadowGrass and the Zephyr Lightning Bolts on Saturday, April 15, from 7-9 p.m. The Jamboree will be held in the William F. Snyder Auditorium on the WCC campus, located at 1000 East Main Street in Wytheville.

Although they have their own style, ShadowGrass is honored to be playing in the shadow of great bluegrass legends. Holding to their bluegrass roots, fast picking, and fresh arrangements have earned the band numerous awards in youth and adult competitions across the region. In 2016, they placed fifth in the adult bluegrass band category at the Galax Fiddler’s Convention. ShadowGrass has had the privilege of playing at exciting venues, including Heartwood, The Blue Ridge Music Center, The Lincoln Theatre, The Historic Earle Theatre, and at festivals such as the National Folk Festival, MerleFest, HoustonFest, and the Richmond Folk Festival. ShadowGrass is looking forward to contributing to the heritage of bluegrass music for years to come.

Kitty Aramal, age 14, began playing the fiddle and singing at age six. Kitty also plays in the roots music band, Kitty & the Stray Cats. By age 12, Presley Barker has been playing acoustic guitar for five years, and 17 year old Luke Morris began playing the mandolin at age 12. Clay Russell, age 16, received his first banjo when he was four years old and learned to pick out song melodies using his thumb. Kyser George, age 12, received his first instrument, a mandolin, at the age of six. He discovered his love of bass at age nine.

The Zephyr Lightning Bolts is an old-time band from Zephyr, N.C. The group plays at local square dances and street festivals in the Piedmont area. They also placed several years running at the world famous Galax Fiddler's Convention. The Bowen family lived in the Zephyr community in Surry County, N.C. for nearly 30 years, but in 2005 they moved across the Mitchell River into the community of Pleasant Ridge in eastern Wilkes County.

Steve Bowen is the bass player and one of the lead singers of the band. A native of Wilkes County, N.C., he has been involved in bluegrass and old time music for nearly 40 years.  Diane Bowen, married to Steve, plays the clawhammer banjo and helps Steve with the band’s vocals. Both Steve and Diane are retired school teachers. Jacob Bowen, Steve and Diane’ son, is the fiddler of the band, and like both his parents, is a graduate of Appalachian State University. Chester McMillian is the guitarist for the band and has played old time music for several decades.

ShadowGrass will perform from 7p.m.-8 p.m., and the Zephyr Lightning Bolts will perform from 8 p.m.-9 p.m. The doors will be open at the Snyder Auditorium beginning at 6 p.m. Seating is on a first-come, first-served basis. The event is free and open to the public. Donations will be accepted to help defray the travel expenses of the bands.

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