Greg and Janet Deering with Stan Werbin and Cynthia Bridge and Deering’s 100,000th banjo.
The fund was established in 1987 as a means of offering assistance to bluegrass artists and industry professionals in need. During times of illness, death, natural disasters or financial hardship, it makes donations to help tide over bluegrass folks and their families. All of their work is done in the background and the recipients and amounts are kept secret, but more than $600,000 have been disbursed in this way since 1993.
The fund receives the bulk of its operating capital from the annual Wide Open Bluegrass festival, held each year in conjunction with the organization’s World of Bluegrass Convention. Performers accept reduced fees in order to support the work of the trust, but other donations are always welcome.
The instrument to be auctioned is Deering’s 100,000th banjo, a highly-ornate Sierra model with custom engraving and chrome plating.
It was built in 2014,was presented as a gift to Stan Werbin at Elderly, who has been a Deering dealer for 40 years. There it has been on display ever since, until Greg Deering and Stan came up with the plan to give everyone a chance to obtain it.
As Werbin put it…
“This special banjo is too nice of an instrument to sit any longer in our display case, so we think it is time to make it available to the general public. Because it is the 100,000th banjo made by Deering we felt it only right to give everyone a fair chance at it. And what better to do with the proceeds than to donate the money to the IBMA Trust?”
Here’s longtime Deering endorser Jens Kruger demonstrating the banjo at Elderly.
To enter a bid in the auction, check out the banjo on eBay. The auction will be open until May 19 and the banjo will be shipped to the winner immediately after it closes. It will come in a hard shell case with an engraved maple certificate of authenticity.