The Guitar Summit

In 2017 The Crooked Road: Virginia’s Heritage Music Trail celebrated their release of a CD: A Century of Heritage Guitar Music with a Guitar Summit held at The Henderson School in Marion, Virginia.

The success of our 2017 Summit was well received therefore The Wayne C. Henderson School of Appalachian Arts and The Crooked Road: Virginia’s Heritage Music Trail has partnered with American Evolution to celebrate the role of the guitar in Virginia’s history. Join us for two days of concerts, workshops, demonstrations and presentations.

The Guitar Summit 2019 at The Henderson will be held Saturday, November 23rd from 10:00 am to 5:00 pm and Sunday, November 24th from 12:30 pm to 3:00 pm located at 203 North Church Street in Marion, Virginia.

On Saturday, November 23 at 12:00 pm we will dedicate “The Gerald Anderson Lutherie” in honor of this beautiful soul we lost in June, 2019. To honor the recent passing of Helen White, the founder of Junior Appalachian Musicians (JAM), The Henderson will also be dedicating their Junior Appalachian Musicians room to the memory of Helen and her passion for helping students embrace their traditional musical heritage.

Also on Saturday at 12:00 pm there will be a presentation of a recent donation to The Henderson: #35, Wayne’s first walnut guitar. Perhaps with a little coaxing, we will get the Master Luthier, Wayne Henderson to play it for the crowd!

The guitar has an ancient history reaching back over 4,000 years. The familiar six string form we know today arose when European makers began adding a 6th string in the 1700’s. But it was not until the early 1900’s that the guitar began to significantly impact the musical landscape in Southwest Virginia. In A Century of Heritage Guitar Music, The Crooked Road has chronicled that impact through the musical recordings of 52 historic and current guitar players.

As an Appalachian music scholar, Ted Olson observes in the CD collection’s 40-page liner notes, “During his music collecting trips across Appalachia during World War I, English folklorist Cecil Sharp heard many traditional ballads, but encountered few guitars. By the end of the 1920’s, the guitar had transformed the sound of music across Southwest Virginia.”

At the Summit, we will celebrate A Century of Heritage Guitar Music which begins with Maybelle Carter, arguably one of the most influential guitarists in American history, certainly in the traditional music realm. Her fingerpicked version of “The Cannon-Ball” is followed by “Motherless Children” by Lesley Riddle, an African American guitarist and friend of the Carter Family that Mother Maybelle credits with teaching her the Piedmont blues style.

Jonathan Romeo, program manager for The Crooked Road, notes that “The Crooked Road invited guitarists in the region who might not have ever recorded a CD before to sit down and record themselves and send in their recording for consideration. By doing that we were able to capture some amazing guitar playing that very few people have ever heard. The original Guitar Summit was organized as a premier for the CD. This Guitar Summit 2019 celebrates the rich history of guitar in Virginia by inviting many of these musicians to come to Marion, Virginia and perform, tell stories, and celebrate Virginia’s history together with the public, other musicians and guitar enthusiasts.”

The Summit includes vocals and instrumentals, fingerpicking and flatpicking, and performances that include guitarists in solo, duo and full band settings. “The Summit covers bluegrass, old time, blues, country, and jazz styles,” says Catherine Schrenker, executive director of The Henderson. “It really shows what the guitar is capable of in the right hands.”

Those many styles will be on display at The Guitar Summit. “We’re delighted that many of the guitarists on the CD will be at the Summit to perform,” said Schrenker.  Rene Rodgers of The Birthplace of Country Music Museum will talk about the role of the guitar along The Crooked Road and in the 1927 sessions.  Jayne Henderson will be offering demonstrations of her inlay techniques on Sunday, and The Guitar Summit 2019 will feature displays of handmade guitars and other instruments made by area luthiers. “The instrument making skills in the region are as impressive as the playing,” according to Schrenker,  “Several of the luthiers participate in our instrument-making classes here at the Henderson which usually fill up quickly.”

There will also be workshop demonstrations on various guitar styles, and performances by many guitarists on the CD. Ted Olson will talk about the history of the guitar in Southwest Virginia.

After The Guitar Summit on Saturday evening, attendees can walk around the corner to the Lincoln Theatre and take in the Daily and Vincent Concert at 7:00 pm (ticket information). They will also perform on Sunday afternoon at 3:00 pm. The Summit has arranged its agenda so that people can attend the concert.

“This will be a great day of music in Marion, and we hope folks will take full advantage of it,” said Schrenker.

Tickets can be purchased in advance or at the door the day of program.

The Guitar Summit Ticket Prices:

Advance Ticket Price: Adult 1 day $35, Day of Event $50

Advance Ticket Price: Adult 2 day $50, Day of Event $65

Advance Ticket Price: Family (2 adults/children) 2 day $75, Day of Event $90

Advance Ticket Price: Child 1 day $10, Day of Event $10

For more info, call The Henderson at 276.706.4011.

Tickets are available through Eventbrite: The Guitar Summit 2019