This past weekend, the Roanoke Bluegrass Weekend welcomed its first set of recipients of their annual Gibson/Roanoke Bluegrass Weekend Scholarship program. The three recipients were selected based on demonstrated ability from a pool of very capable applicants aged 13-24, which were received from all over the United States. Not only were these three exceptional young people able to attend the weekend’s instructional seminars and stay on site at the hotel at no cost to themselves, they were also featured on a song during the Saturday evening Faculty Jam Concert.
This year’s recipients (photos below) were Aaron Williams (mandolin) age 14 from Blacksburg, VA, Christian Ward (fiddle) age 13 from Hesperia, CA, and Haley Stiltner (banjo) age 17 from Windsor, VA. All three were interviewed by Roanoke TV station WSLS, but the video does not seem to be available online.
These scholarships for young bluegrass musicians are made possible through the generosity of Gibson Original Acoustic Instruments, whose donation each year of a professional quality bluegrass instrument to be offered in a raffle funds the scholarship. This year’s raffle was for a new Earl Scruggs banjo, which was won by Sam Kniffen of Vermillion, SD.
The photos below were taken by Dave Roye, and more from RBW can be found on Haley Stiltner’s web site. There is even a video clip of this remarkable young lady jamming with the other terrific RBW scholarship winners on her site.