l to r, bruce molsky, charlie edwards, bill dancy
The Hillbilly Show happened Saturday night, a comedy and variety show, this year the 21st annual, local people entertaining local people. The Hillbilly Show is a fundraiser for the Alleghany Planning Committee, a branch of the Blue Ridge Opportunity Commission headquartered in Wilkes County. The money raised from admission goes to people in the county having a hard time. They give three $500 scholarships to high school graduates of slim circumstances. They pay electric and heating fuel bills for people at risk of losing their power unable to pay the bill. They give garden seeds to several people a year, seeds of the individual's choice. They arrange house repairs for people who can't afford to pay for the repairs. They buy books for the Head Start daycare center in town. No money is skimmed off for any reason. The money is carefully accounted for. All that is taken in is used for its stated purpose. It appears that more money goes out than comes in from the Hillbilly Show. Donations help too. It is a group of modest people, about a dozen, who believe helping the poor an important aspect of being a member of a community. These are people who answer yes to the question, Am I my brother's keeper? It does not diminish anything for anybody in the group to help somebody having a rough time. I have seen by observation and experience the one word that describes best the natives of Alleghany County is generosity.
dr roger arias
Dr Roger Arias opened the show playing America on classical guitar. He later played two classical pieces for guitar. He was good. The man could pick. Flowers were thrown onto the stage while he played. I believe the flowers were part of the show. The audience applauded him as enthusiastically as they applauded the country music and bluegrass. This week's Alleghany News mentioned the Hillbilly Show briefly in an article about different events going on in the county this fall color weekend like high school homecoming, a studio tour of the different craft studios in the county. The article introduced the Hillbilly Show thus, "As sophisticated as the studio art may be, Saturday night's Hillbilly Comedy and Variety Show is anything but." Two seats reserved for the press were empty. It struck me somewhat irresponsible of the editor to dismiss the Hillbilly Show so succinctly. I suppose classical music is not sophisticated either. Maybe he was thinking of Meatloaf for sophisticated.
the alleghany golden girls
the jubilee line dancers
Seems to me a responsible local paper might at least acknowledge an important charity in the county of all local people helping out local people, and raising money by way of an annual laugh for the community. It's about the only thing happening in Sparta not high school sports. I suspect unsophisticated has to do with the Hillbilly Show being working class humor that's not quite sophisticated enough for the middle class. Not near as good as television. The music is more of interest to the working class, the mountain people, country, bluegrass, old-time, than to the exurban middle class. Therefore, hardly worthy of notice to an editor who believes only the middle class is literate. Some of the better musicians in the county play at the Hillbilly Show. This year, Tim Lewis picked his banjo. Tim can pick some bluegrass. Charlie Edwards was picking his rhythm guitar and singing. Bill Dancy picked his banjo. Bill Joines picked guitar. Guest artist Bruce Molsky played fiddle, guitar and sang with the band of respectable local musicians.
dottie dorsett the backstage director in red with gary joines
judy rimes and
sing sonny & cher
My role is to pull the ropes that open and close the curtains. I used to try to help out moving mics around backstage, but it messed me up with the curtains. They take some focus. Dottie, pictured above, signals to me and I have a program she marked with open and close throughout the show. It might be almost ten years I've been with the Planning Committee. It appears to me the Hillbilly Show is better each year. Last year and this year the back stage part was handled the best ever. Onstage flowed seamlessly. I like about my place that I can see what's going on backstage, what's happening on stage, and the audience. Like a good Taoist, I participate by not participating. First couple years with them I learned I don't have it for the stage. The stage is not the place for me. This show had nothing but good music throughout, good dancing, good singing, new sound system and lighting. I felt like it was an excellent show that connected with the audience well. The audience was with what was happening on stage from start to finish. Hillbilly Wes, an MC, kept the spirit lively and the audience laughing at his zany humor.
cheri choate's band
the house band with bruce molsky