Woldumar Nature Center monthly jam in Lansing

Lydia Rogers, Dominic Bloomfield, Henson Preace, and Belinda Henry at Woldumar – photo © Bill Warren

The Woldumar Nature Center in Lansing, Michigan presents a bluegrass and folk jam once a month from September through May. They also host band performances. Leroy Harvey coordinates these activities.

This past Sunday featured special shows by the scholarship students of the Southeast Michigan Bluegrass Music Association, along with two bands.

Marcia Bailey brought the Association’s instrument petting zoo to the Center. A lot of younger kids (20 or so) had the chance to “pet” all of the instruments under the watchful eye of Pam Warren and several parents. Craig Pryce, Dave Dowling, Matt Merta, and Marcia spent time before the kids arrived tuning all of the instruments. Many hands make light work! GHS Strings and Paige Capo keep the petting zoo stocked and both are much appreciated.

The jammers gathered on the lower level of the center while the stage performers entertained on the second level.

The first band up was Askin’ for Trouble. They presented the old time sound of string bands with more modern tunes.

Then it was the youngsters’ turn. Dave Dowling is one of the Association teachers and coordinated with the students and their families to prepare for the performance.

Dominic Bloomfield is an eleven year old fiddler. He is studying with Brittany Hass through ArtistWorks. Dave was his accompanist. 

Henson Preace is a thirteen year old banjo player. His teacher is Davey Jones. He was accompanied by his grandfather, Mike Lange.

Belinda Henry is also an eleven year old fiddler. Her teacher is Keala Venama who also accompanied Belinda.

Lydia Rogers is a fourteen year old banjo player studying under Dave Dowling. She was accompanied by Dave and her Uncle Danny.

The four students and their accompanists/teachers all joined together to give rousing renditions of Will the Circle be Unbroken and I’ll Fly Away. The audience joined them in singing the choruses.

Elderly Instruments provided a gift certificate to each of the students as part of their involvement of the bluegrass community.

The Next Paige closed out the show. Bryan and Lisa Paige are the owners of Paige Capo. They were joined on stage by Lisa’s stepdad, Mark (Foose) Zickafoose on guitar and vocals, Wes Pettinger, promoter of the Charlotte Bluegrass Festival, on banjo and vocals, and Jimmy Clark on mandolin. They gave a set of hard driving bluegrass music.

I, as president of the Association, wish to thank all of the people who made this performance possible. Youngsters like these four are the future of bluegrass music. We, as an association, are proud to support them in their musical journeys.

Support your local music venues.