Blue Highway fans win IBMA prize pack

Jill Geary from San Diego, CA is the winner of the Grand Prize in the 2010 World Of Bluegrass Sweepstakes. This annual contest offers a number of winners to travel to the IBMA convention in Nashville and attend free of charge.

She receives 2 passes for the IBMA Fan Fest, accommodations for 2 at the Hilton Hotel, and 2 complementary tickets to the Awards Show, all courtesy of IBMA. There is also a $500 travel allowance to help cover airfare, and a bunch of cool IBMA logo merch.

As you might expect, Jill is quite pleased to have this opportunity to join the bluegrass world in Nashville next week.

“This is definitely my first time to the Awards Ceremony and Fan Fest. Of course I know of the IBMA and the World of Bluegrass but I never thought I’d be able to get to Nashville to enjoy it! I primarily play the mandolin these days in a Scottish Ceilidh band as well as leading worship (hymns and Gospel) for a local nursing home, and I do get out to the Tuesday evening bluegrass jams in San Diego regularly – but like many I’m very much a closet picker.

When you saturate yourself listening to great singers and pickers like Blue Highway, then you go home and pull out your instrument and stutter a few vocals, well, it’s so hard to measure up! But I’m getting better at playing out a little more – trying to get up the courage, enjoy the great tunes, the fellowship, and the fun of bluegrass music! I do still play the dobro which I love (and have my eye on a Weissenborn as well) – but it’s been hard trying to teach myself and, after I left the wonderful support of the group in the Bay area (the San Francisco Dobro Club), I felt pretty directionless regarding my dobro playing. I also enjoy playing the double bass, but I haven’t made the time for it lately at all! I love playing jazz standards on the ‘ukulele.

Oh, and I study Early Music with Janet Beazley using my viola da gamba…. I’m a medically retired airline pilot (retired from the Boeing 737, based in Pittsburgh) so I try to use my free time volunteering for our church and community and playing music!”

Since the winning entry was submitted through the Blue Highway web site, the band gets to offer a matching prize to one of their fans, and they chose Angie Hall, a weekend radio host with WMMT in Whitesburg, KY. Wayne Taylor, who sings and plays bass with the group, says that they were happy to share this prize with her.

“Angie has been a friend to the band for a lot of years; in fact, she’s responsible for the fact that there is an annual Blue Highway Day in Whitesburg, Kentucky. This was a great way to be able to say thank you to someone who had put for a lot of effort to help us over the years.”

And Angie was floored and delighted with the news.

“Thank you so much for your gift to me. As great as all the prizes are, the best gift is your friendship, your thoughts of me. For many years I have worked hard to promote and support the music I believe in and love so much. My job is volunteer and I have never expected anything in return but to pass the music to the listener.  But, the Lord has blessed me with the friends I have made along the way. Your music and friendship surpasses all, and is the true gift.”

Congratulations to Jill and Angie – and to Blue Highway for having such great followers!

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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.