Bluegrass Heritage sends a kid to camp

Liam Purcell at Five String Fest 2014Young Liam Purcell was the recipient of a music scholarship from the Bluegrass Heritage Foundation’s Play It Forward program, allowing him to attend the Smoky Mountain Banjo Academy during last weekend’s Five String Fest in North Carolina.

Liam lives in nearby Deep Gap, not far from Doc Watson’s hometown, but had figured he wouldn’t be able to attend the three day banjo camp owing to the expense. So he applied for a scholarship though the Foundation, which he was awarded to study with top pros like J.D. Crowe, Terry Baucom, Kristin Benson, Ned Luberecki, Ron Stewart and more.

In a note to his benefactors, the 11 year old showed that he understand the nature of how folk traditions are conveyed.

Liam Purcell with J.D. Crowe at Smoky Mountain Banjo Academy 2014“I would like to thank the Bluegrass Heritage Foundation and every person who helped to make it possible for me to attend the Smoky Mountain Banjo Academy. I am grateful to be given this opportunity. I like to go to festivals and attend workshops and jams wherever I can. I enjoy teaching banjo and guitar to beginners, so by helping me, you help others to learn as well.”

The Bluegrass Foundation also has an instrument lending program to get decent, student-quality instruments into the hands of young people eager to learn to play bluegrass. They depend on donations to keep going, and are always interested in hearing from folks who would like to help out.

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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.