Tryon Fine Arts Center will host a benefit concert for the Junior Appalachian Musician program on Thursday, July 24 at 7 p.m. on the Veh Stage. The concert, featuring Virginia Luthiers Gerald Anderson and Spencer Strickland, will raise money to provide scholarships for area students to participate in Pacolet JAM, scheduled to begin in September. Prior to the concert, there will be a silent auction as well as a display of instruments built by headliners Gerald Anderson and Spencer Strickland, who will be in town teaching a guitar building class at Tryon Arts and Crafts.
Anderson began making mandolins 31 years ago in Wayne Henderson’s shop and has since crafted more than 200 instruments. After he graduated from college, Anderson spent considerable time in the famous guitar maker’s busy workshop in Rugby, Va. observing and playing music with Henderson. Soon he developed an interest in making his own fine-quality instruments and set out to reproduce the sounds of the classic Gibson-Loar mandolins of the 1920s. He shared a workspace with Henderson until recently when Anderson moved his tools and instruments into the bottom level of his home. Over the past 30 years, Anderson has built over 110 guitars and 160 mandolins. Recently, he has completed instruments for Mumford and Sons, Carl Jackson (who used his new guitar on the recent Bristol Sessions project), and Dolly Parton.