IBMA and IBMA Trust Fund pass resolution honoring Sonny Osborne

Sonny Osborne at the Darrington Bluegrass Festival in 1987 – photo by Barry Bower

The Boards of Directors of both the International Bluegrass Music Association and the IBMA Trust Fund have adopted a joint resolution honoring the late Sonny Osborne. A giant in bluegrass music, Sonny was instrumental in the establishment of the Association in the 1980s, as well as the Trust Fund to benefit bluegrass music professionals in time of need in 1987.

Professionalism in all things was a hallmark of Sonny’s many contributions to our music, which he demonstrated during his years performing with his brother, Bobby, as The Osborne Brothers, something he aggressively urged the bluegrass community at large to adopt. His insistence on the highest standards were often voiced emphatically, and even at times in very direct terms, but no one ever doubted his sincerity, his love of the music, or his wish to see bluegrass survive and thrive.

On December 8, the two Boards unanimously voted to pass the following resolution:

The Board of Directors of the International Bluegrass Music Association and the IBMA Trust Fund Board of Trustees hereby jointly adopt the following resolution:


1. Sonny Osborne, who passed away in 2021, participated in the envisioning and founding of the International Bluegrass Music Association in 1985, and;

2. Mr. Osborne espoused the need for such an organization even before IBMA began, and;

3. Mr. Osborne spearheaded the idea of a Bluegrass Trust Fund to help members of the bluegrass community in emergency need, and;

4. Mr. Osborne’s efforts produced the establishment of The IBMA Trust Fund in 1987 as a 501(c)(3) non-profit charitable institution governed by an autonomous five-person board of trustees appointed by the IBMA to offer financial assistance to bluegrass music professionals in time of emergency need. The IBMA Trust Fund has given nearly $1 million in direct aid to professionals in emergency need, and;

5. Mr. Osborne’s contributions greatly strengthened the IBMA Trust Fund and worked to promote charitable giving in bluegrass music worldwide, and;

6. Mr. Osborne advocated for high standards in bluegrass and respect for the founding pioneers, who struggled with little reward to create an art form and industry with worldwide impact

7. Mr. Osborne, along with his brother, Bobby, was inducted into the Bluegrass Music Hall of Fame in 1994, for their many musical contributions which included starting the evolution of modern bluegrass with their pathbreaking vocal arrangements and use of new song compositions, and;

8. Mr. Osborne was the youngest member of Bill Monroe and The Blue Grass Boys, and served as a bridge among all the generations of bluegrass artists;

9. Mr. Osborne worked to promote bluegrass music, helped assist artists in need, exposed the music to mainstream audiences, and expanded the repertoire which increased the awareness of the music and IBMA globally, and;

10. The Board of Directors of the IBMA and the IBMA Trust Fund, staff, and members of IBMA wish to recognize Mr. Osborne for his foresight, dedication, and willingness to contribute;

11. THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED, that Sonny Osborne be jointly recognized for making a huge difference in the lives of bluegrass musicians through the IBMA Trust Fund, contributing all that he had to further the popularity of bluegrass music and that he will be greatly missed and long remembered by those that knew and worked with him in these pursuits.

Adopted Unanimously on December 8, 2021.

Share this:

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.