Author: Brandli, Darby

December President's Message

I opened up the CBA website this morning to find my daughter’s Hooked on Bluegrass submission:

“I was not hooked on bluegrass—I was FORCED into it by my parents. I am still fighting them all the way. They have turned their attention to my son and it terrifies me how obsessed he has become with the banjo!!!”

When Rick Cornish invites members to submit their “Hooked on Bluegrass” stories he does not know what he might get. Not everyone is “hooked” on bluegrass, true enough. There were definitely rewards our daughter received through the association with the music however. Both my children loved the Nevada County Fairgrounds and environs and our daughter Kelly met James Crocker, her future husband, at another festival held on the Fairgrounds. Kelly has brought her son, Dorian Crocker, to the Father’s Day Festival twice (he is only two so has been attending his entire life). The first free weekend she and her husband had without their toddler was a result of the grandparents taking Dorian to the Colusa Fall Campout where he celebrated his 2nd Birthday (and was strumming many a banjo). Kelly and James are definitely not bluegrass fans but are still active members in the CBA as is our son, Kurt Brandli, who is also not a fan. Kurt volunteers each Father’s Day at the gate which gets him as far away from the stage and the jamming at our camp as possible. Both our children still belong to the Association and still attend the Festival because they have lifelong friends who also attend. I believe the CBA “community” is as big a draw as the music.

The CBA is a big family and we try hard to be “family friendly” to attract people to our events, the biggest of which is of course the Father’s Day Festival. Providing activities for families is essential to meet that goal. Our own family explored all of Nevada County when our children were young and swam in every swimming hole and visited every museum….there were was only a short Children’s Program sing along event when our kids were young. The CBA has since developed a vibrant Youth Program which includes our Father’s Day Children’s Program, the Kids on Bluegrass Program, the Music Camp Scholarship for Children’s program, the Darrell Johnston Kids Instrument Lending Library and now a Teen Program. These programs vary in the age group they target and include activities that also vary in that they are recreational, educational and/or performance based.

Betsy Riger continues to coordinate the Youth Program. Frank Solivan continues to run the Kids on Bluegrass event. Ingrid Noyes is still the director of the Music Camps and administers the Scholarship Fund for Youth wishing to attend camp. Ingrid has Kathleen Rushing as director of the Music Camp Kids Program. Our Youth Program has a few new faces administering them this year. Ann Juell (an old high school friend of mine who has attended 33 Father’s Day Festivals) is taking over the Children’s Program from Angela Weaver. Ann has recruited Annie and Rae Sours, some of the young adults who were raised with our children on the Fairgrounds, to assist her. I am certain our grandson will be attending his first sessions of the program in 2010. Bruce Long is working with Sharon and Steve Elliott to run the Instrument Lending Library. Deb Livermore is working with Paige Anderson to expand the Teen Program next year. Valerie Cornejo is working with Treasurer Ed Alston to administer/focus specifically on all the tax-deductible donations we receive for the Youth Program or for the specific programs in the Youth Program. (Yes, one can donate directly to the Youth Program or specify which of the sub-programs your dollars might help). Chef Mike’s Campout Potluck raised money specifically for the Kids on Bluegrass while Bonneau Dixon’s wine booth raised money for the Youth Program and Scott Tichenor’s Mandolin Café fundraiser this year was specific to scholarship money for Music Camp. All instruments go directly to the Darrell Johnston Instrument Lending Library and money can also be specified for that program. We welcome all donations and donators may specify which activity they want to support or donate directly into the Youth Program whose funds can be used for whichever of the programs needs it.

I have served on the Board these last several years with the goal of increasing the membership and reaching out to a new demographic (young people and new families) in order to broaden the fan base and keep the music alive in California. My own children are members and supporters of the community but not fans of the music. My grandson might be a different story however. Kelly is correct in that he is “obsessed” with the sound of a banjo and he also recognizes and can differentiate (at age two) the difference between banjo, guitar (his dad is a professional guitarist), mandolin, bass and fiddle. My grandmother, Eleanor Phillis, published a poem in the Saturday Evening Post in the 1940’s about the difference between children and grandchildren. I publish the poem here and wonder. Does it suggest her great great grandchild’s interest in bluegrass?


The love I bear my own child
Is wild and deep and free
Like the high wind blowing
Through every towering tree.
Up mountain peaks of triumph
Down valleys of despair,
In ecstasy and anguish
Each joy and grief I share.

The love I bear my child’s child
Is like to none of these—
It is the soft breeze blowing
Through brightly blooming trees.
Or, raindrops lightly falling
On flower-bedecked plain,
It’s love and joy and laughter
And springtime come again.

Are there any tiny banjos available in the Lending Library?

Posted:  12/7/2009

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