Bluegrass, art heat up Square
Bruce and Edith Pelham of Galena have been coming to Corydon for the Bluegrass on the Square Concert Series the past few years, but vacation time this summer caused them to miss the one in June as well as the one in July.
But they made a point to be on the town square for Saturday’s concert, the last one of the summer.
For this particular Bluegrass show, spectators could also visit the seventh annual Art on the Square festival. Booths were set up along Beaver and Elm streets.
When a brief shower hit soon after the Hog Operation group took to the Hurley D. Conrad Memorial Bandstand at 4 p.m., the Pelhams just opened up their umbrellas and waited it out. The couple, who have been married for 40-some years, said they had discussed the weather before leaving home and decided to be prepared.
Jim and Barbara Darst of Louisville, who were sitting next to the Pelhams, had also brought umbrellas and waited out the rain. They said they have made one Bluegrass show each summer in Corydon.
A few music enthusiasts were seen leaving, some with their folding cloth chairs over their heads in attempts to stay dry. It is not known whether they returned when the rain stopped about 15 minutes later. A few artisans also left before the booths officially closed at 6 p.m.
Sean Hawkins, who schedules the Bluegrass concerts, said Saturday was the 12th show since the series started four years ago. ‘And it’s the first time it’s rained,’ he said.
But the courtyard was pretty packed when the headliner act, Michael Cleveland and the Flamekeeper Band, performed at 6 p.m.
‘Wow!’ Hawkins said of Saturday’s performances. ‘It was probably the best we’ve had’ of all 12 shows. ‘The audience participation and enthusiasm was great.’
Hawkins said he talked with people who had traveled here from as far as St. Louis, Chicago and Cleveland, Ohio, to attend the Bluegrass show.
Cleveland, the fiddler, who is originally from Charlestown, drew in many listeners. The 25-year-old who is blind began playing the fiddle when he was 4. He has won the International Bluegrass Music Association’s Fiddle Player of the Year award three times (2001, 2002 and 2004) and his albums, ‘Flame Keeper’ and ‘Live at the Ragged Edge’ with Tom Adams were named IBMA’s Instrumental Album of the Year.
Joining Cleveland on the bandstand was Audie Blaylock on vocals and guitar, who is the leader of his own band, Audie Blaylock and Redline; Jeff Guernsey, vocals, mandolin and twin fiddle, who is a former sideman for Vince Gill and Steve Wariner; Barry Reed, vocals and bass, who is a member of Blaylock’s band; and Pete Kelly on banjo, a native of Connecticut who is a former member of The Dale Ann Bradley Band.
‘It’s amazing to me how far we’ve come in four years,’ Hawkins said.
The Bluegrass acts are paid from three sources: the Harrison County Convention and Visitors Bureau, the Harrison County Community Foundation and Main Street Corydon.
Louisville radio station WFPK 91.9 also provides about $4,000 worth of advertising for the Bluegrass series. Hawkins said the radio station brings in a younger crowd.
Hawkins said the CVB will consider adding a fourth concert to the series perhaps as early as next year. ‘People want more concerts,’ based on survey cards they completed, Hawkins said.
When asked about teaming with the Art on the Square festival in the future, Hawkins said he thought the CVB would be open to that again.
‘There was some talk that parking might be a problem for people coming to the Bluegrass concert,’ he said, ‘but that didn’t happen.’
Gary Wood, vice president of Harrison County Arts!, said he thought the art festival went well, despite the fact that it was ‘hot, hot, hot, hot, hot!’
The art festival traditionally has been held in May but was changed to August this year.
‘We’re not sure if it was beneficial to have it with the Bluegrass concert or not,’ Wood said yesterday afternoon. The Arts council board was to meet last evening to begin evaluating the two-day event.
With 43 booths, all with ‘quality’ work, Wood said they were pleased with the event and realize it will take about three or four more years to really ‘grow’ the event. ‘We’re still a young show,’ he said.
Wood said the heat and humidity was worse on Sunday than the previous day. A few artists left about an hour early on Sunday.
For the first time, the art show winners received bronzed medallions designed by David Lind of Floyd County. The medallions were cast by David Kocka, who serves as president of Harrison County Arts!
First-place winner was Warren (Sonny) Hardin with a wood-turning bowl. Tiffany Richart’s painting titled ‘Kodak’ was second, and Bonnie Hoffman’s use of glass, called ‘Memories,’ was third.
‘The judges said the art (on display) was some of the best they have ever seen,’ Wood said.
Children could enter a sidewalk chalk contest on Sunday. Winners in the elementary division were Kristina Zarley, first; Katie Singleton, second; and Alexis Burda, third. Sarah Frederick finished first in the teen division, followed by Anna Lincoln, second, and Kayla Gabbard, third.
There was also a karaoke contest put on by Kimberly Glyn McCauley of Sound of Music on Sunday, but Wood didn’t have the winners’ names yesterday or the names of the popcorn contest winners.
Wood did say that Bud Bennett of Corydon took the mike and ‘thrilled’ the crowd with a couple of country music oldies after the contest. Bennett ‘should have entered the contest, but he didn’t,’ Wood said.
A bicycle race was held earlier in the day Saturday in conjunction with the Art on the Square festival. Participants could choose from three different routes: 33 miles, 65 miles or 100 miles. Diane Cooper said there were at least 112 cyclists. One participant, Danny Chew, rode his bike 505 miles from Pittsburgh to take part in the ride. Chew, who celebrated his 44th birthday the day of the ride, said his goal is to ride one million miles in his lifetime. By the end of September, Chew will have 600,000 miles logged.
Click for Bluegrass photo gallery
Click for Art on the Square photo gallery