Locals bring home Fiddler's Convention ribbons

Aug. 27, 2014 @ 08:30 AM

Four students from a Thomasville music store recently matched their skills against the best at the 79th annual Old Fiddler's Convention held Aug. 4-9. The town of Galax, Va. swells with 70,000 to 100,000 visitors for the festival which has grown each year since its beginnings in 1935. Three local competitors brought back ribbons from the folk music festival in which no electric instruments are allowed.
Competition was stiff as musicians, folk singers and dancers came to match their skills against the best in categories that included Dobro, Mandolin, clawhammer banjo, autoharp and guitar.
Youth competition took place Aug. 3.
Chris Poole, 14, who had never been to the Fiddler's Convention before, didn't expect to place at all.
A rising freshman at Ledford High School, Poole was in shock when he earned a third place ribbon in Youth Bluegrass Banjo for his performance of "Cumberland Gap."
"I was dumbfounded," he said. "I didn't know whether to run up there and get my ribbon or faint."
His cheering section include his parents Jeff and Amy Poole, his brother Justin Poole, grandmother Louise Hargett and John Hofmann, his banjo teacher for the past two years.
Also competing were Macy Henson and Marisa Colter, both 12, and Byan Lackey, 10.
Lackey's cool and confident violin performance of "Whiskey Before Breakfast" earned him a third place ribbon in Youth Old Time Fiddle.
Colter wore a big smile as she claimed her third place in Youth Bluegrass Fiddle.
"It was really cool," said Hofmann. "We were just jumping up and down happy. Having a Galax ribbon of any sort is a big deal.
"These guys all excelled."