Emory & Henry College will present Wayne Henderson and Friends in a concert of traditional Appalachian music Thursday evening, Sept. 6 in Memorial Chapel, on the college campus. The concert begins at 7:30 p.m.
Henderson is known the world over not only for his musicianship, but for his craftsmanship as an instrument maker.
Members of the band include Henderson, with his lightning-fast "pinch picking" guitar style; Helen White, an old time fiddle player and folk singer; Herb Key, a long-time member of the group, playing bass; and N.C. bluegrass piano-playing sensation Jeff Little.
Henderson is well-known for his craftsmanship of guitars, mandolins and banjos in his shop in Rugby, Virginia. He was honored at the White House in 1995 for both his craftsmanship and playing as a recipient of the prestigious National Heritage Award. He has toured widely in Asia, Africa and the Middle East under the auspices of the Smithsonian Institute and the Office of Arts America. He has played in the Folk Masters series in Carnegie Hall, at Wolf Trap and at the 1977 Olympics in Atlanta, Georgia.
Helen White, not only known for her instrument playing and singing, is founder and executive director of the Junior Appalachian Musicians Program (JAM) which introduces mountain children to their musical heritage. Also a songwriter/tunesmith, she wrote and produced the soundtrack for a children's video documentary on draft horses ("Big Horse") and the Frank Levering theatrical production, "Jewel of the Blue Ridge," a play celebrating the centennial of the City of Galax, Va. Her album of mostly original songs for children, "Nobody Smiles Like Me; Songs for a Kinder World" was awarded "Editor's Choice" for 1999 by the American Library Association's Booklist.
Henderson and White have been playing as a duo and as part of string bands together for 15 years. Their performances as a duo have led them to events sponsored by the National Center for Traditional Arts, the Presidential Inaugural Folk Festival, the Vancouver International Folk Festival, the Carterfold, events sponsored by the BCMA in Bristol, the Chet Atkins Appreciation Society Conventions in Nashville, and Issoudun, France and many local and regional festivals in the southeastern US.
In the spring of 2000, they were sponsored in a tour of Holland and Germany by the European World of Bluegrass Festival, in November 2006 they were featured performers on NPR's A Prairie Home Companion and in spring of '09 spent 3 weeks touring in Germany and Switzerland with the premier German bluegrass band, the Looping Brothers. Together they recorded an album “Live From Virginia” in the fall of 2009..
Also appearing in the concert is Jeff Little, whom the Boston Globe called “tricky and playful, yet always intelligent and richly melodic.” A professional musician hailing from Boone, N.C., Little is conversant with old-time, country, bluegrass, rockabilly, and blues. He settled in Nashville for a while, working as a session man between stints on the road, and also worked with a wide range of commercial country artists, most notably Keith Urban.
He returned to his roots in Jamestown, NC to live, but he travels to critically acclaimed arts centers and festivals throughout the US and overseas; to name a few: National Public Radio, PBS, The Smithsonian Institution, American Masters Series, the National Council for the Traditional Arts, the American Folk Festival and the Smithsonian Folk Life Festival.
This performance is being partially funded by a grant from the Virginia Commission for the Arts.
Tickets for this very special evening are $12 at the door and $10 in advance for adults. Individuals 55 years and older, and students from other institutions are $8. Emory & Henry College students, faculty and staff are admitted free of charge. Call 276.944.6846 for reservations, and information about group discount rates.