In 2012, participants at the Old Fiddlers’ Convention in Galax broke the Guinness Book of World Records for the most mandolin players in one place – 389. Previously the record was held in Germany. The sheer popularity of the versatile instrument in both old-time and bluegrass music in the mountains continues to grow.

On Sunday, October 6, 2013, at 2pm the Blue Ridge Music Center will feature four outstanding mandolinists and one luthier in a performance/ “talk about” regarding the instrument’s construction and playing styles in the Blue Ridge. Performers include: Scott Freeman, David Long, Carl Jones and Gerald Anderson. Gerald Anderson began making mandolins over 30 years ago in Wayne Henderson’s guitar shop. Soon he developed an interest in making his own fine-quality instruments and opened up his own shop in Troutdale, Virginia.

Over the past 30 years, Anderson has made over 60 guitars and 140 mandolins. Gerald also plays old-time and bluegrass music with success and has won over 200 ribbons including 1st place guitar at the Old Fiddlers’ Convention in Galax in 2003.

Scott Freeman grew up in a musical family in Mount Airy, North Carolina. He and his three brothers all learned to play bluegrass and gospel. Scott plays guitar and fiddle too but he has always favored the mandolin. Early on David Grisman was one of his influences along with traditional players so Scott is as comfortable with swing or jazz as he is with bluegrass. He plays in numerous bands. Scott is also one of the most popular teachers in the region with over sixty students who are keeping Blue Ridge music alive.

Carl Jones is a Georgia-born mandolin player and multi-instrumentalist who lives in Galax, Virginia. He has played with James Bryan, Norman and Nancy Blake and performed or taught across North America and Europe. The Nashville Bluegrass Band, Kate Campbell and Rickie Simpkins with Tony Rice have recorded his original tunes and songs. Carl was also one of the main musicians featured in a recent article about old-time mandolin in Old-time Herald Magazine.

David Long is often considered a next generation player with strong roots in bluegrass. His exceptional skill on the mandolin has kept him very much in demand performing and recording. David has played with Karl Shiflett and his Big Country Show, in a duo with grammy-winning musician Mike Compton, and currently plays with singer Dori Freeman. He has recently moved to Woodlawn, Virginia from Nashville, Tennessee and we are glad to have him!

The Mandolins of the Blue Ridge performance-talk starts at 2pm on Sunday, October 6th, 2013. Reservations are highly recommended as seating is limited. Admission is free. To reserve your seats call (276) 236-5309(276) 236-5309 x112 and please show up by 1:45pm to keep your reservation. At 2pm any open seats are given to drop-in visitors.

The Fall Heritage Series takes place in the indoor theater at the Blue Ridge Music Center on Sunday afternoons through October 13th. Check the website for a complete schedule. Visitors can also enjoy free Mid Day Mountain Music 12-4pm daily and the free Roots of American Music museum open 10am-5pm daily through October 27th when the center closes for the season.

The Fall Heritage series is made possible with the support of the Blue Ridge Parkway Foundation, National Park Service, and Eastern National. The Blue Ridge Music Center is located at milepost 213 on the Blue Ridge Parkway only 10 miles from Galax, Virginia.

The Blue Ridge Music Center celebrates the music and musicians of the Blue Ridge. Established by the U.S. Congress in 1985, the site includes an outdoor amphitheater, indoor theater, visitor center, gift store and the Roots of American Music museum used to highlight an important strand of American musical culture, which is still alive and thriving in the region.

The site is operated through a partnership between the National Park Service and the Blue Ridge Parkway Foundation. The center and museum are open 10:00 am-5:00 pm daily through October 27th. Admission to Visitor’s Center and the Roots of American Music museum is free. Mid-day Mountain Music is offered free every day in the Blue Ridge Music Center breezeway from 12-4 pm.

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