Fancy fiddlin’ and foot stomping fun in Granite Quarry
By Vivian Hopkins
For the Salisbury Post
Saturday’s rainy weather failed to dampen the spirits of the fiddlers and other musicians who gathered at East Rowan High School to compete in the 49th annual Granite Quarry Civitan Fiddlers Convention. North Carolina Civitan West governor, Dr. Mark Beymer of Salisbury, greeted the audience and commented on the importance of traditional bluegrass music in North Carolina’s culture. He also commended the Granite Quarry Club for its role in promoting and preserving the music to be passed on to younger generations.
Fruits of that labor were evident Saturday evening, with as many youngsters as adults competing for $1,700 in cash prizes and rosettes. The youth competition in the most promising talent categories began at 6:30 p.m. and soon had the audience in the near-capacity auditorium cheering and clapping in amazement. Given the option to compete in the youth or adult categories, many of the talented youngsters were so proficient on their particular instruments that they gave the adult competitors a run for the money.
Each year the Civitan Club honors an individual who has been a large influence in the promotion of bluegrass music in the community and surrounding region. Connie Edwards was this year’s honoree. Edwards and her husband, Dale, live in Salisbury. She is a self-taught musician and singer/song-writer and the mother of four who perform as The Edwards Family. The presentation was made during a break in the competition, followed by a performance by The Edwards Family Band.
The event is the Civitan Club’s largest yearly fundraiser, with money from admission and sale of food helping to support local charities including Boys Scouts, Junior Civitan, Good Citizen Awards, Scholarships, Special Olympics, Special Needs Children and Adults, Victory Junction Gang Camp, Boys and Girls Home, East Rowan High, Erwin Middle and Granite Quarry Elementary Schools, Local Youth Activities, plus numerous other local and District Civitan Projects. This year’s event raised an estimated $6,000 for Civitan charities.
Don Livengood, who chairs the convention, stated, “Without the Fiddlers’ Convention and the food that the club sells at the music festival, we wouldn’t be able to support all the different projects we do. We are extremely fortunate to be able to continue the rich tradition of bluegrass music. The Convention has evolved into a celebration, with many of these fine musicians retuning year after year.”
The club presented $1,700 in cash and rosettes to winners in 10 categories. Champion fiddler Rick Lowe was presented the John Ralph Pennington Memorial Award and miniature fiddle. Pennington spent his life playing and promoting bluegrass and traditional music and was a luthier of fine string instruments. The award was presented by Pennington’s daughter, Vivian Hopkins, who also works with the Civitan Club to coordinate the event.
The Fiddler’s Convention director is Donald Livengood, assisted by Norman Ribelin. T.R. Lassiter of West End served as master of ceremonies. Judges were Butch Barker of Lansing, Karen Krider of Union Grove and Boyd Hulin of Asheboro. Mary Wagner of Rockwell served as scorekeeper. Lanny Merrell is the Granite Quarry Civitan president.
The event registered 44 total entries, including 17 youth individual entries and seven bands.
Top bands and individual winners were:
Champion: Sons of the South, Statesville
First runner-up: Parlor House Band, Stanfield
Second runner-up: Moving On Bluegrass, Concord
Third runner-up: Tendergrass, Mt. Ulla
Champion: Rick Lowe
First runner-up: Sarah Lemond
Second runner-up: Tori Jones
Champion: Tanner Carrick
First runner-up: Ronnie Hatley
Second runner-up: Michael Souther
Champion: Ian Wright
First runner-up: Jimmy Burris
Second runner-up: Gary Hatley
Champion: Daniel Threalkill
First runner-up: Danny Casstevens
Second runner-up: Gary Isenhour
Champion: Pammy Davis
First runner-up: Sandy Hatley
Second runner-up: Rob Ellis
Champion: Matt Love
First runner-up: Rick Blackwelder
Second runner-up: Franklin Rash
Champion: Anna Haigler
First runner-up: Madeleine Baucom
Second runner-up: Courtney Perry
Most Promising Talent Ages 11 & under
Champion: Jonah Chaney
First runner-up: Jake Goforth
Second runner-up: Ethan Tarlton
Most Promising Talent Ages 12-16
Champion: Ruth Shumway
First runner-up: Samantha Gabrielle
Second runner-up: The Guinn Sisters