When musician and Bluegrass Association of North Dakota (BAND) President John Andrus checks out live music in the local bars throughout the state he’s happy to see that the spirit of bluegrass music lives on through multiple generations.
“I’m amazed how many of the people there are musicians checking stuff out," Andrus said. "Young people wanting to check out the music or something like it. It’s not necessarily straight bluegrass, but some of them have music of their own but share the same instruments, so they’re interested enough. I’m always plugging that they should join our association…
“In the 30 years that we’ve been doing this, there have been a lot of great people that I met when we first started. They were pretty old at the time and have since passed away. I’m really glad I got to know a lot of those people and their enthusiasm for the music. Now we’re looking to hopefully do the same thing for the next generation.”
This weekend BAND will be holding their annual gathering at the Gladstone in Jamestown. The gathering will include a banquet, a jam, various workshops, a silent auction and awards. As part of their youth initiative BAND provides scholarships and even instruments to aspiring bluegrass musicians. This year they sent two young girls to the Grass Seeds Music Academy during the Winter Bluegrass weekend in Minneapolis.
Workshops this year will include a breakout session in which the musicians talk gear and experiences, one workshop will include bluegrass harmonica, another focuses on vocal technique and did we mention lots of jamming?
Andrus also noted that this year’s President’s award will go to Elroy Lindaas of Mayville for his efforts to promote bluegrass music in the area.
“He has a room upstairs in his barn that he gives concerts in over the summer and he has a bluegrass Sunday once a summer,” Andrus said.
The concept for BAND came up between three musicians on their way home from a gig one night and John Andrus was one of them. The International Bluegrass Association was just starting at the time and the association declared that May was bluegrass music month. Long story short they organized a jam at a shopping center in Minot and it was a great success. This led to the Western North Dakota Bluegrass and Old Time Music Association.
Needless to say BAND has shifted and evolved since its inception in 1988, but it has been going strong for 30 years.
The initial sign up had 30 to 35 participants and the organization grew to up to 160 until the organization split and the Old Time members formed their own organization called the Frozen Fingers Old Time Music Association.
The difference between Old time Music and Bluegrass?
“Bluegrass is a subset of old time music," Andrus said. "I guess you’d say that old time in North Dakota means old time ‘Oompah’ kind of music. On the national scale when you say old time music, it’s more often considered old time string band type of music, which would be the Appalachian type of music which directly preceded bluegrass.
“Bluegrass is more vocal oriented, probably more story songs and people taking more instrumental breaks separate from the other musicians, which is different from Old Time," Andrus said. "In Old Time everybody plays together all the way through. Bluegrass musicians take turns showing off what they can do during their instrumental breaks."
At this time the jams stopped in Minot.
“Jam sessions are a big part of our music. You can’t really play bluegrass by yourself,” Andrus said.
Now the jams are centered around the eastern part of the state. They hold a monthly jam at the Barnes County Museum in Valley City on the second Saturday of each month and a jam at the Edgewood Care Facility in Fargo on the third Sunday of each month.
IF YOU GO:
2018 Annual BAND Gathering
Saturday, May 5, 10 a.m.-11 p.m.
Gladstone Inn and Suites, 111 2nd St NE, Jamestown ND
Saturday, December 15th, 3-6pmJunkyard Brewing Company, 1416 1st Ave N, MoorheadCome bare the elements with us for a good cause. Bring your spare winter gear to be donated to Churches United for the Homeless. Coats, gloves, boots,…
by HPR Contributor
by Josh Boscheejoshua.firstname.lastname@example.org courtesy of Mitch MarrEight words that perfectly describe the beautiful spirit of Kim Winnegge."I have given my whole life to words."Those of us who knew her remember these words as a…
FARGO - A collection of memories from High Plains Reader's annual Cocktail Showdown. Participants were judged on creativity, flavor, and presentation; and this year we added a new category. Like years before, each establishment was…
“The Diary of a Teenage Girl” director Marielle Heller beautifully translates another personal autobiography to excellent results. “Can You Ever Forgive Me?” is based on the confessional 2008 memoir of literary forger Lee…
by HPR Contributor
by Ryan Jankeryan.email@example.comFargo-Moorhead Community Theatre presents “A Christmas Story: The Musical” which is underway at the Stage at Island Park and will run through December 22. It has been promoted as a show both…
by HPR Contributor
by Gabrielle Herschgabbyhersch@gmail.comphotography by Logan MacraeEver wish you could go to your favorite brewery without leaving your house? Finally, you can (sort of). Kilstone Brewing is now doing limited can releases of some…
by HPR Contributor
by Devin Joubertdevinlillianjoubert@gmail.comIt’s that beautiful time of the year that’s filled with seasonal decorations, sparkly lights, warm family gatherings, and delicious feasts. I love everything about this time of the…