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CHERRYHOLMES AND DR. RALPH STANLEY AND THE CLINCH MOUNTAIN BOYS AT GMU'S CENTER FOR THE ARTS
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GEORGE MASON UNIVERSITY’S CENTER FOR THE ARTS
DR. RALPH STANLEY AND
THE CLINCH MOUNTAIN BOYS
Saturday, April 24, 2010 at 8 p.m.
FAIRFAX, Va., March 24, 2010 – Classic and contemporary bluegrass meet in this dynamic performance that will bring audiences to their feet. Center favorite Cherryholmes unites with bluegrass legends Dr. Ralph Stanley and the Clinch Mountain Boys at George Mason University’s Center for the Arts Concert Hall on Saturday, April 24 at 8 p.m. for an evening that celebrates the diversity of this unique American art form. Families, young and old, will not want to miss this incredible night of music. This performance is family friendly, and tickets are half price for youth through grade 12. A pre-performance discussion, free to ticket holders, begins 45 minutes prior to the performance on the Center’s Grand Tier III.
“A mesmerizing presence … a cold blast of virtuosity …” (The New York Times) Only on the music scene for a little more than a decade, Cherryholmes has established its place in the bluegrass world by playing in its own unique style – driving it hard and serving it straight up. Jere and Sandy Cherryholmes met in their church, married and began raising their family outside of Los Angeles, with Jere working as a carpenter and Sandy home-schooling their six children. In 1999, their eldest daughter Shelly died in her sleep from respiratory failure due to chronic heart problems. Shortly after her death, the family heard about a bluegrass festival and decided to attend to lift their spirits, and on the way home, decided to start their own band. Each of their four children (Cia, B.J., Skip and Molly) living at home were assigned an instrument and began to learn how to play together. By 2003, Cherryholmes had made their first appearances on the Grand Ole Opry, Ernest Tubb’s “Midnight Jamboree,” the Country Music Association’s (CMA) Music Fest and International Bluegrass Music Association’s (IBMA) FanFest; and by 2005, Cherryholmes had caught the attention of Ricky Skaggs, who immediately signed the band to Skaggs Family Records. Cherryholmes has since received four Grammy nominations in three years and IMBA’s Entertainer of the Year award, and its albums have topped Billboard’s Top Bluegrass Albums chart. While Cherryholmes’ albums are incredible, the live stage is where the band truly shines, and performances feature twin fiddles, Irish step-dancing, classic country yodeling, old-time clawhammer banjo and even some soulful gospel singing in addition to their dynamic bluegrass. The group’s vocals and instrumentation are aggressive without losing the precision of smooth, blended family harmony. “The variety, coupled with youthful urgency and unbridled passion, infuses the music with an energy that propels it beyond predictable bluegrass clichés.” (Raleigh News & Observer)
“Hard, starkly beautiful music, nothing manufactured.” (Newsweek) More than 60 years after forming the Clinch Mountain Boys with his brother Carter in rural southwest Virginia, banjoist Dr. Ralph Stanley continues to preserve traditional bluegrass, old-time and mountain music. After its formation in 1946, the Clinch Mountain Boys became one of the most celebrated bluegrass bands in the world, rivaling bluegrass titans Bill Monroe and Flatt & Scruggs in popularity. After his brother died in 1966, Stanley shifted the band’s musical emphasis from hard-driving bluegrass to an older, sadder, less adorned mountain style, while nourishing young talents like Ricky Skaggs, Keith Whitley, Larry Sparks and Charlie Sizemore along the way. Now at 82 years old, Stanley lives in Coeburn, Va., nestled in the mountains between Virginia and Tennessee, but he still tours with the vigor and elan of a rock star, performing more than 150 concerts a year. In 2000, he became the first artist inducted into the Grand Ole Opry in the new millennium and was a central figure in the D.A. Pennebaker/Chris Hegedus documentary “Down from the Mountain” in the same year. In 2002, he won Grammy Awards for Best Country Male Vocalist Performance for his work on the soundtrack for the acclaimed film “Oh Brother, Where Are Thou?” and T Bone Burnett signed Stanley to his label and produced his critically acclaimed album “Ralph Stanley,” a collection of ancient and old-time songs from England and Appalachia that stayed on Billboard’s bestseller list for weeks. In 2004, he was named the Virginia Press Association’s Distinguished Virginian of the Year and the Ralph Stanley Museum and Traditional Mountain Music Center opened in Clintwood, Va. In 2006, he received the National Medal of Arts and the Virginia legislature named him the Outstanding Virginian of 2008. Stanley’s autobiography, “Man of Constant Sorrow,” co-authored with music journalist Eddie Dean, was released by Gotham Books in October 2009.
The Clinch Mountain Boys live in scattered communities in the mountains of Virginia, Tennessee and Kentucky. They meet up in Coeburn, where their tour bus is parked and head out on the road. Their typical workweek starts on Wednesday or Thursday and wraps up on Sunday, when they normally head in home for a couple days of well-deserved rest before starting out all over again. In addition to Dr. Ralph Stanley, the group consists of guitarists Ralph Stanley II (Stanley’s son), Nathan Stanley (Stanley’s grandson, who occasionally plays mandolin), and James Shelton; fiddler Dewey Brown; bassist Jimmy Cameron; and banjoist Steve Sparkman.
Tickets for CHERRYHOLMES AND DR. RALPH STANLEY AND THE CLINCH MOUNTAIN BOYS are $46, $38, $23. Family Friendly! Youth through grade 12, half price! Charge by phone at 888-945-2468 or visit cfa.gmu.edu. The Center for the Arts complex is located on the Fairfax campus of George Mason University at the intersection of Braddock Road and Route 123. Paid parking is located in the deck adjacent to the mainstage Concert Hall and FREE parking is located in university lot K. Visit cfa.gmu.edu.
About Great Performances at Mason
Great Performances at Mason is a program of George Mason University's Center for the Arts, the professional presentation and production arm of the College of Visual and Performing Arts (CVPA). CVPA provides an academic environment in which the arts are explored as individual disciplines and interdisciplinary forms that strengthen one another. The college prepares students for careers as creators, performers, teachers, scholars, arts leaders and arts entrepreneurs. Understanding that an education in the arts is deepened by regular contact with the work of distinguished visiting artists, the Center for the Arts, the professional presentation and production arm of the college, welcomes a variety of professional and world-renowned artists, musicians and actors to its stage. Students have the opportunity to perform, create and exhibit their work in a wide variety of public venues including a 2,000-seat Concert Hall. CVPA is home to the Schools of Music, Dance and Art, the Department of Theater, as well as the Computer Game Design, Arts Management and Film and Video Studies programs.
About George Mason University
Named the #1 national university to watch in the 2009 rankings of U.S. News & World Report, George Mason University is an innovative, entrepreneurial institution with global distinction in a range of academic fields. Located in Northern Virginia near Washington, D.C., Mason provides students access to diverse cultural experiences and the most sought-after internships and employers in the country. Mason offers strong undergraduate and graduate degree programs in engineering and information technology, organizational psychology, health care and visual and performing arts. With Mason professors conducting groundbreaking research in areas such as climate change, public policy and the biosciences, George Mason University is a leading example of the modern, public university.