Kentucky Historical Society
Master Fiddlers to Perform in Frankfort Friday
Frankfort, KY (Sept. 9, 2009)—A concert featuring master fiddlers Roger Cooper, Paul David Smith, Jesse Wells and Nikos Pappas will take place at the Thomas D. Clark Center for Kentucky History in Frankfort on Friday, Sept. 11 from 5:30 to 9 p.m.
The concert, hosted by John Harrod, is the last of a series of concerts by master musicians who play stringed instruments, including the guitar, banjo and fiddle.
The series is presented as part of “Made to be Played: Traditional Art of Kentucky Luthiers,” an exhibition dedicated to showcasing the art of making and repairing stringed instruments. The exhibition is sponsored by the Kentucky Folklife Program, a partnership of the Kentucky Historical Society and the Kentucky Arts Council.
From 5:30 to 6:30 p.m., guests will have the opportunity to meet luthiers Art Mize, of London, and Gary Cornett, of Louisville, who will be on-hand to discuss and answer questions concerning stringed instrument crafting, maintenance and repair.
The concert, which begins at 7 p.m., will feature Kentucky master fiddlers who are accomplished in a variety of styles. The events are free with the price of museum admission. The last concert by master banjo players drew a crowd of more than 300 people.
Cooper, of Lewis County, boasts an expansive repertoire of local and regional favorites and unique, contemporary fiddle tunes. Cooper began his musical career at age 12, playing guitar on Vanceburg’s WKKS radio station. Smith, of Pike County, learned to play the fiddle from his neighbor, the legendary Owen “Snake” Chapman, and began playing square dances when he was 16. Over the years, Smith has played with a number of different bands and has been a featured artist at prestigious events, including the Appalachian String Band Festival and the Festival of American Fiddle Tunes. Pappas, of Columbus, Ohio, has won fiddle awards at the Ed Haley Fiddle Festival, the Appalachian String Band Music Festival, and Seedtime on the Cumberland, among others. Pappas also plays the keyboard and harpsichord. Wells, of Red Bush, continues the musical legacy of his family of musicians. He has been influenced by his father, Jaime Wells, an old-time fiddler, and has done extensive work as an archivist and professor of traditional music.
John Harrod, the concert’s host, documents and records old-time music throughout the commonwealth. He is an accomplished Kentucky fiddle-tune scholar and plays guitar and sings lead vocals for Kentucky Wild Horse.
“Made to be Played” features the rich and fascinating history of Kentucky luthiers—people who make or repair stringed instruments—and tells the stories of Kentucky master luthiers and their handcrafted guitars, fiddles, banjos, mandolins, dulcimers and other original stringed instruments. The exhibition will remain on display until closing festivities on Saturday, Sept. 26.
Purchase your tickets early, and tour the Old State Capitol. Then come back for evening events and to tour the exhibitions at the Center for Kentucky History. Admission, which includes all exhibitions on the Kentucky Historical Society history campus, is $4 for adults, $2 for youth (6-18) and complimentary for children five and under. KHS members receive complimentary admission.
“Made to be Played” was developed through a grant from the National Endowment for the Arts and is on display thanks to the generosity of the Dupree family, in memory of Clara Galtney Dupree. The exhibition is dedicated to the memory of Homer Ledford, a Kentucky luthier and musician who was renowned for the quality, beauty and uniqueness of his works.
To find out more about programming and artifacts related to “Made to be Played,” visit www.history.ky.gov/luthiers.
An agency of the Kentucky Tourism, Arts and Heritage Cabinet, the Kentucky Historical Society, since 1836, has provided connections to the past, perspective on the present, and inspiration for the future. KHS operates the Old State Capitol, the Kentucky Military History Museum, and its headquarters, the Thomas D. Clark Center for Kentucky History. Since 1999, the thirty-million-dollar Center has welcomed more than one million visitors. For more information about the Kentucky Historical Society and its programs, visit the Web site at www.history.ky.gov.