Monday, February 13, 2012

Banjo Weekend

We spent the weekend at the Annual Allenberry Banjo Massacre in Boiling Springs, PA.  It's one of many banjo conventions that go on throughout the year and all over the country.  It's one of the few that we've attended with regularity over the past 5 years or so.

Here's one of my favorite shots from the whole weekend.  They were practicing in the room and my camera suddenly screamed out to me (only after I was done sorting out and discarding the brown M&M's, of course).

It's fun to watch as the boys progress in their banjo playing with an event like this as a metric. From the time they first picked up the banjo, they've been invited on the stage at this event with the hosting banjo band.

It's clear that they're at the point where they're there not only to show some progress, but also to entertain.  Nico started taking the mic at this event last year, but, said as little as possible. This year he's a bit more confident and I think with a bit more forethought and practice will really be improving even more in the coming months and years.  He even managed a joke.  Here's a link to the video.

They have a terrific time the whole weekend, seeing familiar faces and meeting new ones.  They get lots of feedback and praise for their efforts.  And, they look forward to performing, but breathe a sigh of relief when it's over, then sit back to watch the rest of the show.  Here they are with a few of the banjo-world celebrities: (notice the catch-lights... wheeeee!)

With Steve DiBonaventura, an absolute marvel on the banjo and just fun and friendly guy. We've met him a few times now and he's always encouraging to the boys and excited to see them progress and gain interest in the banjo since he's got littles at home.

The Chiodi Trio with Charlie Tagawa, band leader of the Peninsula Banjo Band in San Francisco, and the weekend's headliner.  A great entertainer and just a real character.  He was especially impressed when Nico asked for his autograph.

The Chiodi's with Nori Tagawa, Charlie's son. A violinist by trade, this guys is an amazing player and as his smile reveals, just a joy to watch and all-around nice guy. He had lots of advice for the boys on everything from finger exercises to dealing with life as a musician. So happy to have met him.

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