Barbara Lawlor, Nederland
Last week—Monday, June 2 through Friday, June 7—a bunch of fiddles, banjos, guitars, cellos, and basses brought their humans with them to a bluegrass camp at the Nederland Community Presbyterian Church.
Sponsored by Doug Armitage and Brightwood Music, the camp took some polished string players as well as some young novices and in one week turned them into a bluegrass concert.
Instructor Annie Savage showed the musicians how to turn squeaks into melodies, how to play with a group. Annie began playing the fiddle when she two years old by listening to the people around her. She says the fiddle is her language and her goal is to help others find their musical voices.
By the second day of instruction, Annie had over a dozen players of all ages synchronizing the strains of “Bile Them Cabbage Down, Boys,” to the point of picking up solo verses. She had them even singing as a group, so you would think they’d been doing it for years.
She proclaimed the process as “Pickin’ in the Peak” and claimed “total world dominance.”
Saying she had been involved in the Nederland music scene pre-Brightwood and now post-Brightwood, “I see something cool going on in Nederland, thanks to these guys,” she said of Armitage and Barb Hardt, who organized the camp and set up the sound and helped with instruments.
Annie has developed an active performance career and manages workshops internationally, currently serving as director of the American Roots program at the Rocky Mountain Center for Musical Arts.
She says she hopes to return to Nederland for another bluegrass camp next summer.