Liam Purcell, 10, of Deep Gap and Kinsey Green, 14, of Boone are both multi-instrumentalists, immersed in bluegrass through families who value this tradition. Wernick says, “It’s good to see local kids learning the local music, and we’re very glad to be able offer them this additional opportunity.”
Purcell says that he takes bluegrass and old time music lessons and regularly attends jams with musicians of the “older generation,” as well as pickers of his own age. He plays mandolin, guitar, banjo and fiddle. He and a friend recently formed a band, performing at barn dances, showcases and college events. In his scholarship application, Purcell wrote, “I think it would be a good experience to be surrounded by bluegrass for days at a time. It is fun to know how something like a banjo or a song can be passed down for generations and generations”.
Kinsey Greene plays guitar, fiddle and bass, and enjoys singing. She and her sister have their own band, Greene Grass (naturally!). Greene hopes to major in bluegrass and nursing in college in order to become a music therapist for special needs children. She recognizes the vital support her parents have given her, even in tough financial times.
The scholarships are provided courtesy of R. B. Powell and Bridget Allen, owners of Nittany Mountain Trail Rides, who promote bluegrass scholarships for young musicians.
Pete Wernick’s 15th Annual Merlefest Jam Camp for pickers of all bluegrass instruments takes place Monday-Thursday April 22-25, immediately prior to the festival.
The program welcomes novices and provides a separate track for experienced jammers.
Camp Harrison YMCA Camp at Herring Ridge is 10 miles from Wilkesboro, NC. More information is available here.