Virginia Squires reunion in August

A reunion of the influential 1980s bluegrass band, The Virginia Squires, has been scheduled for August 24 in Fredricksburg, VA. The all-day event, which will also include a golf outing, is a benefit for bluegrass veteran Mark Newton.

We had reported last month that Newton was taken ill in Virginia during the Graves Mountain Festival of Music near Charlottesville, VA, a show he has assisted in managing for the past 20 years. The sudden onset of gastrointestinal illness found Mark hospitalized at the UVA hospital for a few days, leaving his family with an unexpected round of medical expenses.

Though living now in Nashville, Newton grew up in Fredericksburg, where a pair of his childhood friends, Barry Surles and Mike Loving, have organized this fundraiser. As Surles explains:

“Mark has been supporter of our community by organizing fundraisers for others, such as the Mark Newton Homecoming Pickin’ Party in 2009. We all understand the extensive costs incurred by the Newton family can threaten to financially ruin ones lives by exceeding family resources and health insurance coverage. So we organized this event to help cover the uninsured portion of these extreme medical expenses.”

The show and golf tournament is sponsored by the Spotsylvania Fraternal Order of Eagles (FOE #4391), and will be held at Lee’s Hill Golf Club in Fredricksburg. In addition to the Squires reunion, with original members Sammy Shelor, Newton, and Rickie and Ronnie Simpkins, the show will feature a performance by Carl Jackson, and Mark Newton & Steve Thomas and the Still House Band. Gary Ferguson, Mark’s former bandmate with The Knoxville Grass, will also appear.

Mark shared a few details about the show in a recent interview with Terry Herd.


Of the August 24 events, Mark says…

“I am extremely humbled that my friends have stepped in to help with our medical costs. I’ve always been able to count on my childhood friends from Virginia, and this is a testament to that friendship and bond that lasts a lifetime.

Most importantly, I am out of the hospital, feeling better, and back on the road touring with my new band and partner Steve Thomas. The support and caring from the music community, friends, and family has been overwhelming and I hope to see many of those people at this event so I can say thank you personally.

Plus, we get to play a little golf and make some music at the event too!”

Arrangements have been made with a nearby Hampton Inn to provide special room rates for any friends of Mark, or the Virginia Squires, who want to travel for the big day.

Anyone who is unable to attend, but would like to make a contribution, can send a check to:

Spotsylvania Eagles FOE # 391
5100 Jake McWhirt Lane
Fredericksburg, VA 22408

More details can be obtained online, or by calling Barry Surles at 540-295-7720.

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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.