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The Charlotte Folk Society's 31st Concert Season opens spectacularly on Friday, August 10, with a concert by Wayne Henderson and Friends! The music gets underway at 7:30 PM in the Great Aunt Stella Center, 926 Elizabeth Avenue, in Uptown Charlotte. Wayne will be joined by fiddler/guitarist Helen White and guitarist/bassist Herb Key.
Doors open at 7 PM. Parking adjacent to the Stella Center and in a nearby deck is free. Accessible, ground level entry is available on the parking lot side of the building.
Charlotte Folk Society second-Friday Gatherings are family-friendly and free. Donations are appreciated and essential to presenting the concert series in the Great Aunt Stella Center. Refreshments, jams, a song circle, and the Charlotte Appalachian Dulcimer Club follow the hour-long concert.
Wayne Henderson is known worldwide for both his lightning fast "pinch picking" style and the beautiful guitars, mandolins, and banjos he crafts in his shop in Rugby, Virginia. He was honored at the White House in l995 for both his craftsmanship and playing as a recipient of the prestigious National Heritage Award. Owners of Henderson guitars include the late Doc Watson, Tommy Emmanuel, and Gillian Welch. Eric Clapton waited 10 years for Wayne to build his guitar and the process was detailed in a book authored by Allen St. John, Clapton's Guitar: Watching Wayne Henderson Build the Perfect Guitar. A virtuoso guitarist, as well as a master luthier, Wayne has won every guitar competition in the region so many times he has quit competing. In fact, he holds a record for the most first place finishes of any contestant in the history of the legendary Galax Fiddler's Convention
Wayne has toured widely in Asia, Africa, and the Middle East. In this country, he has presented his Appalachian guitar style on several "Masters of the Steel String Guitar" tours, as well traveling to promote "The Crooked Road," Virginia's Heritage Music Trail. He has played in Folk Masters series in Carnegie Hall, at Wolf Trap, and at the l997 Olympics in Atlanta.
Students at a number of traditional music camps have benefited from Wayne's instruction. He's taught at the Blue Ridge Music Program at Mars Hill College, the California Coast Music Camp in Palo Alto, the Puget Sound Guitar Workshop in Port Orchard, Washington, and the Augusta Heritage Arts Festival in Elkins, West Virginia, among others.
Wayne has numerous recordings to his credit including Rugby Guitar (Rounder), W. C. Henderson and Co. (with guest Doc Watson), Not Much Work for Saturday (with Winfield Champ Steve Kaufman), Les Pik on Hay Hollar Records, and Made and Played, a self-produced recording.
The Wayne C. Henderson Festival and Guitar Competition takes place the third Saturday of each June in the Grayson Highlands State Park in Mouth of Wilson, Virginia. The winner of the guitar competition receives a highly coveted prize, a Wayne Henderson guitar. This year's festival, which featured a tribute to Doc Watson by Wayne, The Kruger Brothers, and Charles Welch, was the 18th annual event.
Wayne's shop was one of Doc Watson's favorite hangouts, and no wonder. In addition to his other accomplishments, Wayne is well known for his storytelling. He draws on his life in Rugby, Virginia (population seven), and his work as a rural mail carrier (now retired). Between his stories and his musicianship, an evening with Wayne is highly entertaining.
Helen White is respected as an old-time fiddler and folk singer in both her current home in Southwest Virginia and her native North Carolina. She is the founder and Executive Director of the Junior Appalachian Musicians Program (JAM), which introduces mountain children to their musical heritage. Wayne and Helen have been playing as a duo and as part of stringbands together for about fifteen years.
Also a songwriter/tunesmith, Helen wrote and produced the soundtrack for a children's video documentary on draft horses (Big Horse) and the Frank Levering theatrical production Jewel of the Blue Ridge, a play celebrating the centennial of the City of Galax, Virginia. Her album of (mostly) original songs for children (Nobody Smiles Like Me: Songs for a Kinder World) was awarded "Editor's Choice" for 1999 by the American Library Association's Booklist.
Helen has won regional fiddle championships, including Twin and Senior Old-Time Fiddler in Union Grove and Johnson City, Tennessee and holds numerous "top five" finishes at Galax, Mt. Airy, Grayson County, Virginia, and other regional contests including the award for Best Overall Performer at the l997 Grayson County Fiddlers Convention. Helen has been a fiddle or beginning guitar instructor at the Festival of American Fiddle Tunes in Port Townsend, Washington; the Blue Ridge Traditional Music Program at Mars Hill College; "Fiddlekids" in El Cerrito, California; California Coast Music Camp in Palo Alto, and the Puget Sound Guitar Workshop in Port Orchard, Washington. Besides her children's recordings, Helen appears on many of Wayne's and other musicians' projects.
Herb Key grew up in a musical family in Wilkes County, North Carolina. He has played music for most of his life and has spent more than thirty years making, repairing, and restoring instruments. Luthiers Jack Williams and Wayne Henderson helped him build his first banjo and guitar, respectively.
In the 1970s, Herb, along with Larry Pennington, Raymond Pennington, Paul Gentle, Johnny Miller, and Wayne Henderson, performed as the High County Ramblers. The sextet won the Galax Fiddlers Convention in the bluegrass band category the year they formed. Herb presently performs with the Elkville String Band, as well as continuing to perform with Wayne Henderson.
Herb recorded an album with the High County Ramblers. He also made a recording with fellow guitar players Wayne Henderson and Ray Cline to highlight their individual guitar styles. He has won several ribbons in folk singing competitions at regional festivals.
Our 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.
As always, the Charlotte Folk Society presents musicians you won't hear elsewhere in town. Don't miss this special evening!