Music fans gather for Fiddler's Convention

Published 12:00 am Monday, October 3, 2011

By Karissa Minn
GRANITE QUARRY — The 45th annual Granite Quarry Fiddler’s Convention showcased both veteran and up-and-coming musicians Saturday night at East Rowan High School.
In addition, Matthew Weaver of Salisbury was honored for his outstanding and dedicated service in the field of old time and bluegrass music.
Saturday’s event featured 106 performers, who took to the stage hoping to win some of the $1,700 in cash prizes, trophies and ribbons offered in a number of categories.
Judges selected Carrie Webster of Faith as champion fiddler. The Fifth String and Co. of Gold Hill presented Webster a miniature fiddle in memory of their father, Ralph Pennington, who spent most of his life playing and promoting bluegrass and old time music.
Last year’s champion fiddler, Thomasville resident John Hofmann, returned this year with Destination Bluegrass Band.
“We started this band for the Fiddler’s Convention last year, and now we’re a full-time band,” he said.
Hofmann has joined up with string bassist Jeffrey Grubb of Rockwell, guitarist Keith Souther of Mocksville, banjo player Chuck Ward of Albemarle and mandolin player John Marler of Yadkinville.
The group was named first runner-up this year, and Hofmann was the first runner-up fiddler at the convention.
“I love it,” said Grubb, who has been playing the bass for 42 years. “This is kind of the last fiddler’s convention of the year.”
The event also brought out some new talent. It was the first competition for the Hinson Girls, a bluegrass band of four sisters from Lancaster, S.C.
Kristin Hinson, 16, Melissa Hinson, 13, Allison Hinson, 13, and Katelyn Hinson, 11, have been playing together two years and have only played bluegrass for 11 months. But their skillful solos drew cheers from the audience.
“I’m shaking,” Allison said when she left the stage, excited and smiling. “I usually don’t get nervous, but I did up there.”
Phillip Willard of Yadkinville served as Master of Ceremonies. Pete Corum, Andy Williams and Luther Chandler served as judges. Lynn Hill served as scorekeeper. Barry Hill is the Granite Quarry Civitan President.
The convention raised $6,000 for the Civitan Club, according to club member Don Livengood. The event is the club’s biggest fundraiser of the year.
Members use the money raised from admissions and the sale of food to support community projects including Boy Scouts, Junior Civitan, Good Citizen Awards, Scholarships, Special Olympics, Victory Junction Gang Camp, and East Rowan High, Erwin Middle and Granite Quarry Elementary schools.
“This was one of the better conventions as far as the number of entries,” Livengood said. “Also, attendance was better this year than it has been in past years.”
The top bands, individual winners and most promising talent were:
Bands: 52 South of Winston-Salem, led by Winford Hunt, winner; Destination Blue Grass Band of Mocksville, led by Keith Souther, first runner-up; South Deep Grass of Yadkinville, led by Rodney Gordon, second runner-up; Sons of the South of Claremont, led by Tommy Killian, third runner-up.
Fiddler: Carrie Webster of Faith, champion; John Hofman of Mocksville, first runner-up; Ervin Hatley of Locust, second runner-up.
Banjo: Danny Bowers of Winston-Salem, Champion; Jimmy Paschal of Yadkinville, first runner-up; Chuck Ward of Mocksville, second runner-up.
Guitar: Ben Watlington of Mocksville, champion; Danny Casstevens of Mocksville, first runner-up; C. H. Lineberry of Star, second runner-up.
Mandolin: Conner Lambert of Claremont, champion; John Wolfe of Winston-Salem, first runner-up; Randy Willard of Yadkinville, second runner-up.
Bass: Rodney Gordon of Yadkinville, champion; Jim Conard of Winston-Salem, first runner-up; Jimmy Damron of Star, second runner-up.
Dobro: Danny Harqis of Huntersville, champion; Sandy Hatley of Stanfield, first runner-up; Wayne A. Williams, Sr. of Mocksville, second runner-up.
Vocal: Kyndra Munn of Monroe, champion; Destination Bluegrass of Mocksville, first runner-up; Passin Thru of Star, second runner-up.
Most Promising Talent, age 11 and under: Madeline Baucom of Monroe, champion; Carson Hill of Wadesboro, first runner-up; Anna Haigler of Indian Trail, second runner-up.
Most Promising Talent, ages 12-16: Ruth Shumway of Charlotte, champion; Shaylee Kirkman of Salisbury, first runner-up; Abby Hockette of Concord, second runner-up.
Contact reporter Karissa Minn at 704-797-4222.