PRESS RELEASE (June 25, 2014)
McGaheysville, Virginia

Local Youths Receive Scholarship Awards and Area Musicians Recognized

     At the June 24th Elkton Bluegrass Music Jam, Joseph Morris and Nathan Morris were awarded Roger Farris Memorial Scholarships.  Joseph plays banjo and Nathan plays Dobro. They are brothers and are striving to keep the family music making tradition continuing in their family. They are home schooled and play in the Raymond Stepp and Mountain Melody band.  The scholarship is given in memory of Roger Farris, Shenandoah Valley Mountain Music Makers Association's Chairman of the Board and aspiring banjo student.  The Scholarship provides funds for music lessons to musicians who hold promise of one day being master musicians in their own right.

     As part of the awards ceremony local musicians Danny Lam, Raymond Stepp, and Greg Lam along with Rockingham County musicians Edd Michael, Glen Knicely and Randy Edwards were honored by the Shenandoah Mountain Music Makers Association for their meritus contributions to Bluegrass and Mountain Music.  These musicians have all made music an integral part of their lives and work tirelessly to keep the tradition of music making available for others to enjoy.   Mr. Michael still actively plays at the age of 89 and is Rockingham County's most decorated master fiddler.

     The Elkton Bluegrass Music Jam is a major venue on the Shenandoah Music Trail and are organized by the Shenandoah Valley Mountain Music Makers Association, Inc., an all-volunteer, 501(c)(3) non-profit Virginia based corporation.  The Association’s mission is to preserve, promote and maintain the integrity and roots of the Shenandoah Valley’s great acoustic music traditions.  

     As we concluded our last Elkton Bluegrass Music Jam until September 2014, we are reminded of Elkton’s contribution to Bluegrass and Country Music.  Perhaps the least famous musician from the Elkton area is Bela Lam, who in 1927 recorded 14 sides for Okeh Records.  His recordings pre-date the famous Bristol (NC) sessions, which is now considered the “birthplace” of country music.  After Lam’s removal from his homestead to build the Skyline Drive, he and his Green County Singers continued performing for many years in various combinations with their extended families.  Lam’s inventive finger picking banjo and the Singers’ tight four-part harmony are the standard in today’s bluegrass music.  Today many of the Lam’s relatives play in bluegrass and country bands around the Valley.  Found nowhere else, Lam and his descendent, along with at least ten additional family surnames have had musical roots in the Elkton area for nearly 250 years.  And one of their relatives made it big in the 1950s and 60s. Elkton’s most famous singer, Patsy Cline was born in Winchester, Virginia.  However, shortly after her birth, she moved back with her father, Sam Hensley and her family to the Elkton area.  Here she absorbed and participated with local musicians and singers until she moved back to Winchester at the age of fourteen.  Patsy Cline was a cousin to Bela Lam on both the Lam and Meadows sides of her family.  Her early music experience was cut from the same fabric of family musicians that date back to the early settlers of the area in the 18th century.

The Elkton Bluegrass Music Jam are taking a Summer Break!
The jams are scheduled to start back up at the Elkton Community Center in Elkton, Virginia on September 16th and continue every Tuesday evening from 6 to 8:30 pm until December 16, 2014.
After the Holiday Break the jams have a tentative start-back-up date of January 13, 2015. 

For more information call 540-209-3540.


Musicians at the June 24th Elkton Jam not visable Martha Hills who is taking the picture!

Left to Right knelling: Walker Turner, Jacob Morris, Danny Lam, Don DePoy
Standing: Nathan Morris, Raymond Stepp,
Tony Meadows, Richard Lam, Zack Cardin, Hazel Randall, Bill Randall, Colin Shifflett, Randy Edwards, Walter Grooms

Roger Farris Memorial Scholarship Recpients Nathan Morris (left) and Joseph Morris (right) with their grandfather Raymond Stepp (center) of Shenandaoh, Virginia

For More information contact
Martha Hills, Community Outreach Director, Shenandoah Music Trail

540-209-3540  ~