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Michael York & The Big Cigar Band created a sensation on the Charlotte Folk Society Stage at Festival in the Park in 2012 and brought the same high energy to our stage at the Bearden Park opening celebration last fall. Now, we welcome them to our Great Aunt Stella Center (926 Elizabeth Avenue, in the edge of Uptown Charlotte) for our next Gathering on Friday, March 14th. Michael York promises our audience "bluegrass with bounce - fast movin', flat-out pickin' and grinning!" Connect up with the Big Cigar Band at their Facebook Page!
The music gets underway at 7:30 PM. When the doors open at 7 PM, enjoy a special pre-concert by the Myers Park High School Bluegrass Band.
Free parking is available in a deck adjacent to the Stella Center. Note: due to continuing street repairs on Elizabeth Avenue, enter parking deck from 4th Street, between Kings Drive and McDowell Street. Exit the back of the deck to the Stella Center parking lot.
Accessible entry and an elevator are available through the ground floor door on the parking lot side of the building. Drivers with passengers needing accessible entry should drop them off by the ground floor door, where a volunteer will assist them inside.
Monthly second-Friday Charlotte Folk Society Gatherings are family-friendly and free; donations are appreciated and essential to holding Gatherings in the Great Aunt Stella Center. Refreshments, a song circle, jam sessions (including a slow old-time jam), and an Appalachian dulcimer group follow the hour-long concert. Visitors are welcome to join in or simply listen.
Michael York & The Big Cigar Band is a regional "superband" - a group of five accomplished musicians who enjoy coming together to play the music they all love. Each one plays with other projects, as well.
Michael York can be seen in his "One Man Banjo" performances around Charlotte venues and has even taken his banjo show as far away as Caesars Palace in Las Vegas. Michael's shows are largely tributes to such banjo stars as Earl Scruggs, Bela Fleck, and Steve Martin, as well as traditional bluegrass with some original tunes mixed in. Visit his website at www.OneManBanjo.com.
Glen Alexander is a three-time winner of the bluegrass fiddle first-place ribbon at the Old Fiddler's Convention in Galax, Virginia. He's also captured the prestigious title of "Fiddler of the Festival" at Union Grove. Glen is co-owner of The Violin Shoppe, where he passes on his bluesy fiddle style to the next generation of bluegrass wizards. He can be heard at the Pizza Peel on Randolph Road three times each month - second and fourth Thursdays with The Testostertones and on third Thursdays playing swing music with David McGuirt and.Scot Caviness.
David Woodie brings along his "big fiddle" to add bass runs and backing vocals to The Big Cigar Band. David is a long-time bluegrass aficionado and can name about any tune in three notes. He has spent many years on the festival trail and makes his home just north of Charlotte.
Michael Burgess provides the six-string excitement and lead vocals in classic Bluegrass style, weaving his way through tried and true favorites to some original tunes with a Big Cigar twist. He comes to us from his home in Lincolnton, North Carolina.
"Rounding out the line-up is Jamie Harper and his hard-driving mandolin. Jamie is from nearby Mocksville, North Carolina and joined the band in the summer of 2013.
The Myers Park High School Bluegrass Club has been delighting audiences with their vocal and instrumental skills for several years. Its talented members include fiddlers Sarah Lemonds and Kate Aberman; Angel Paez on guitar, fiddle, and mandolin; singer/songwriter Mason Schmitt plays guitar and is lead vocalist. Classical guitarist Lando Pieroni turns his musical skills to the banjo. Rounding out the band are Andrew Sun on mandolin, and Myers Park Bluegrass Club president and jazz pianist Grant Davidson on contrabass. Club sponsors are CFS member Greg Clarke, recently retired from teaching, and MPHS Spanish teacher Andrew Majar.
Several of these talented young people will be familiar to you - fiddlers Sarah and Kate are students of Glen Alexander who performed at our January Gathering. Lando Pieroni attended the Swannanoa Gathering last summer as our Marilyn Meacham Price Youth scholarship recipient. Mason Schmitt is going to Swannanoa this summer as a CFS youth scholar. This promises to be a special evening!
CFS 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.