2012 Houston Caldwell Scholarship recipient at ResoSummit

The 6th annual ResoSummit was held this past weekend in Nashville, bringing together 100 resonator guitarists from around the world for three days of instruction and camaraderie with an all star faculty. Students traveled to Tennesse from across the US, as well as Denmark, Australia, Ireland, Switzerland, and Canada.

Conducting classes and seminars were Rob Ickes, who hosts the event, along with Randy Kohrs, Michael Witcher, Sally Van Meter, Fred Travers, Phil Leadbetter, Orville Johnson, and Greg Booth. Reso-luthiers Paul Beard and Tim Scheerhorn were also on hand.

In 2011, Rob decided to donate a scholarship to ResoSummit for a deserving young dobro player age 18 or under. The scholarship is named in honor of Houston Caldwell, a promising young bluegrass musician who died tragically in 2010.

This year’s recipient, Michael Kilby, not only received registration donated by Rob, but also received full airfare, lodging and meals due to donations by other ResoSummit participants.

Betty Wheeler, Rob’s ResoSummit co-producer, shared a copy of the note she received from Michael upon learning he would be attending on scholarship.

“I am 14 years old and I live in Squamish B.C. Canada. I have been playing music for five years and Dobro for three of them. I currently play Fiddle, Mandolin, claw hammer Banjo, Guitar and of course Dobro.

I started playing the dobro when I was 11 because my Grandpa thought I could and should learn how to play it. I love how the dobro can growl, sing, or even sound like a steel pedal. It is a very versatile instrument. My Grandpa has even taught me how to drive and double clutch his 1928 Model A Ford pickup. My Grandmother does a lot of volunteer work with the SPCA and I recently helped her at a fundraiser by serving burgers and having a busking booth and donating the money to the SPCA.

I mostly try to find lessons on the internet. I have been lucky enough to have been able to jam with two great players, Orville Johnson and Chad Graves, at the Rayco booth at Winter Grass, yaaaa I spend a lot of time there. I also got to take two internet lessons with Mike Witcher and hope to take some more soon. I had fiddle lessons with Andy Leftwich in Mission, BC at a music camp in July and I have been to NimbleFingers Bluegrass camp twice in Sorrento, BC.

I am excited about learning more, pickin’ and jamming at ResoSummit. I look forward to having total dobro overload.”

Shaw TV, community access television for Canadian cable provider Shaw Communications, produced this piece about Michael last Spring.


This talented young man may have a bright future in bluegrass.

Ickes also shared a few words about the event, one so popular that it sells out each year within hours of the opening of enrollment.

“We had a great year at ResoSummit — a great mix of new participants and people who have attended many years (some have attended all six!), and apeople from all over the U.S. and the world. We had an excellent group of teen players that make it clear the dobro is safe for at least the next generation!

It’s very rewarding to see people come back from prior years who have made such strides in their musicianship. Our goals are education and inspiration, and it is very satisfying to feel like we met those goals this year. We definitely believe our participants left Nashville with Total Dobro Overload!”

Find more details about ResoSummit online.

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About the Author

John Lawless

John had served as primary author and editor for The Bluegrass Blog from its launch in 2006 until being folded into Bluegrass Today in September of 2011. He continues in that capacity here, managing a strong team of columnists and correspondents.