Tobias WhitakerNow I know that for some folks when they hear the word, “banjo,” they immediately think of the movie Deliverance. For me personally, that is the furthest thing from my mind when I hear the melody of a five string banjo.

There are a number of well-known banjo players; some are even considered virtuosos. The great Earl Scruggs, Pete Seeger or June Carter all come to mind. Bela Fleck, Gillian Welch and Tony Trischka all know the pleasure a banjo brings. Though I have sincere respect for their contributions to the world of music, in general, what fascinates me most is the role the banjo continues to play in rural music for average musicians and their neighbors.

Few things are as enjoyable as a warm summer evening in which the crickets are singing along with a banjo. The cold winter months seem a little more bearable when the entire family can sing and dance to a little live music. In an age in which technology strives to rule there is still a simple and profound pleasure within the ability to pick up an instrument and play a few tunes on your front porch.

with my banjo 

In our neck of the woods we have the Vorshtein Music Festival, heading into its ninth year. Family and friends gather for a day of music and fun. It’s free to the public. Grandparents, parents and children all enjoy the wide open space of Mother Nature and listen to local musicians. If they are lucky enough they catch a little banjo as well.

Vorshtein Music Festival 

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