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June 11: The Whippersnappers

The 2009-2010 Charlotte Folk Society Gathering season concludes on Friday, June 11th, with a concert by The Whippersnappers. Join us at 7:30 PM in the Great Aunt Stella Center, 926 Elizabeth Avenue in downtown Charlotte, for an evening of bluegrass, gospel, and folk music by Emmy, Casey, Avery, and David McGuirt. Monthly Gatherings are family-friendly, open to the public, and free. Donations, which support the series in part, are greatly appreciated.

The front doors of the Stella Center open at 7 PM. Handicapped access is available through the ground-floor door on the right side of the building. Refreshments, a song circle, slow and fast jams, and a Charlotte Appalachian Dulcimer Club session follow the hour-long concert. Listeners, as well as pickers and singers, are welcomed. Free surface parking is available adjacent to the Stella Center, as well as in a parking deck nearby. Exit the deck without charge after 8 PM.

Folk Society members have delighted in watching Emmy, Casey, and Avery McGuirt, now ages 13, 14, and 16, respectively, grow musically and become teenagers. Avery first played on our Festival in the Park Folk Stage in September 2003. Two months later, Avery (then age nine) and his sisters, Emmy (age six) and Casey (age seven), performed with their dad, David, during our Young Talent Showcase.

Musical performance came early for The Whippersnappers. Avery caught the music bug from pre-school classmate Bryan Beasley, who brought his violin to school and played Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star for "show and tell." So Avery, and then Casey and Emmy, in turn, began taking violin lessons while in pre-school. Today, the three continue classical violin study, but each has also branched out in other musical directions. Avery studies bluegrass fiddle, while Casey and Emmy take lessons on mandolin, upright bass, and flute. The girls love to sing tight sister harmony and they enjoy working out their own vocal arrangements to songs The Whippersnappers choose to learn. David backs them up on guitar and vocals. Their mom, Patty, is chief organizer and van driver for the band.

In 2008, Casey and Emmy won a shared scholarship from the Swannanoa Gathering to attend Traditional Song/Fiddle Week. Avery received Charlotte’s Community School of the Arts Andrew Bradford scholarship for music study in 2006-2007 and again for 2008-2009. He won the Charlotte Folk Society's Marilyn Meacham Price scholarship to attend Fiddle Week at the Swannanoa Gathering in the summer of 2006. Avery recently was inducted into the Tri-M Music Honor Society and he traveled to Limoges, France in December to perform with an international youth orchestra. All three siblings have competed and brought home ribbons from well-known regional fiddler's festivals.

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The Whippersnappers gain new fans wherever they play -- at Festival in the Park, Tosco Music Party, Singing Christmas Tree, Gospel Shout, First Night Charlotte, and churches, festivals, and special events throughout the region.

The McGuirt family took music lessons together at the Community School of the Arts, and, instead of discovering just a hobby, they uncovered a treasure trove of talent. The Whippersnappers are fast becoming one of Charlotte's treasures . . . in demand at shows and festivals. They are one of Charlotte Center City Partners', and my personal, favorite groups. It's a privilege to hear them every time they play.
-- Moira Quinn, Senior Vice President of Communications/Chief Operating Officer, Charlotte Center City Partners.

The band recently completed a self-titled CD, recorded in Tom Eure's Simple Tune Studio. Visit The Whippersnapper's website here.

Charlotte Folk Society Gatherings are made possible, in part, with funding from the Arts & Science Council and the North Carolina Arts Council, an agency of the Department of Cultural Resources, and the National Endowment for the Arts, which believes that a great nation deserves great art.