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Bluegrass Scramble Review written by Rich Stillman

Thursday, January 6, 2011

 Last Sunday's BBU-sponsored band scramble at the Real School of Music in Burlington brought out about thirty people who discovered talents many never knew they had. If you've never been to a band scramble, the idea is a cross between pickup baseball and the Hogwarts sorting hats: take a bunch of strangers who play bluegrass instruments, throw their names into paper bags. Draw names at random to create bands. Send each band away to rehearse for an hour and a half with a simple mission: create a 5-7 minute set of music on stage. Call everyone back, and put on a show.

 The five bands that competed in Sunday's scramble showed a range of talents. Every band had some people who had never played bluegrass onstage before. At least two people made their singing debut as well.

 I can tell you from touring the rehearsal rooms during those 90 minutes that the energy level and enthusiasm was high. Everyone was involved in picking band names, repertoire and arranging. The atmosphere in every room felt like a really good band rehearsal. That spirit made it onto the stage, where all the bands, who were competing for an opening act slot at a local coffeehouse and a set of tuners, put on enjoyable performances and cheered each other on from the audience.

 The comments were unanimously positive from everyone involved, and I really enjoyed the simultaneous spirits of cooperation and competition that extended from the selection of the bands through the concert itself. I think the first scramble was a complete success, and I'm looking forward to many more. Thanks to everyone who came out to participate, help out, or just watch!

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Playing Since: 1970
Experience Level: Purty Good

clawhammertim has made 1 recent addition to Banjo Hangout 

Interests:
[Teaching] [Jamming] [Socializing] [Helping]

Occupation: clawhammer banjo teacher

Gender: Male
Age: 61

My Instruments:
Will Fielding Custom Rooster
Bart Reiter Tubaphone
Vega Frankenstein Fretless
Gold Star GF85

2003 Gold Star GF-85 #17
Harmony Seeger-Style long neck
Frank Proffit Maxwelltone

Favorite Bands/Musicians:
John Herrmann, Brad Leftwich, Mac Benford, Tom Sauber, Riley Baugus, Walt Koken, Dan Gellert, Dirk Powell, Tommy Jarrell, Fred Cockerham, Kyle Creed, Wade Ward, Bob Smakula, Gordy Hinners, Joel Mabus, Pete Seeger, Mike Seeger, Reed Martin, Laura Boosinger, Pete Wernick, Tony Trischka, Earl Scruggs and the great mostly unknown Steve Mote.

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Created 7/12/2005
Last Visit 10/8/2019

Inspired at age 12 to learn to play this dang thing by Pete Seeger, Pete Wernick and Tony Trischka. Struggled for 6 or 7 years until I met a great clawhammer player from the Ozarks named Steve Mote. Played only the Sears Harmony banjo until about 1995 when my amazingly patient and mostly understanding wife surprised me with a Bart Reiter for Christmas. That spring I finally placed in the local banjo and fiddle competition. About 3 years ago I fell in love with a Fielding banjo that has yet once more shown me how much more there is to learn. I own and want to play a whole bunch of other instruments -guitar, mandolin, uke, fiddle, didgeridoo... but every time I go to practice I pick up a banjo instead. Go figure... I play in an Old-time band by the name of Jubilee Mule. We play the third Tuesday of every month at the Cantab in Cambridge.

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