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It's A Gray Area: Save the date for this year's music festival

February 05, 2011|By James P. Gray

On May 22, there will be a music festival from noon to 7 p.m. at the Heritage Museum of Orange County. Not only will there be bluegrass, folk and Americana music, there will also be a great barbecue and a number of fun and meaningful family activities.

So put that date on your calendar, and make plans to attend. You will be glad you did!

Several years ago, I mentioned to my wife, Grace, that I would like some time to go to Kentucky or Tennessee to see a bluegrass festival. But once I became acquainted with the Heritage Museum of Orange County, I thought that it would be even more fun to have the bluegrass music come to us.

So that is what is going to happen. There will be three outstanding bluegrass and folk bands, and one big band. The first is comprised of Stephanie Bettman and Luke Halpin, Colorado musicians who are magicians on the fiddle, guitar and mandolin. They will perform a children's concert at 1:15 p.m. and then one for us older types at 3:25 p.m. You can hear them as a warm-up to the festival at http://www.stephaniebettman.com.

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The second will be the big band "A Wing and a Prayer" that will perform at 2:20 p.m. It is comprised of about 20 talented musicians who gather and perform for the sheer gratification of it. They will play some of your longtime big band favorites, such that when I heard them play I thought to myself on literally four different occasions: "Yes! That one is so good it will be their closing number!" They are amazing, and you will want to come to the festival if only to hear them!

The third scheduled group will be a five-piece, the Dennis Roger Reed Band, which uses a fiddle, guitar, mandolin, "other assorted stringed things," and "exactly the right amount of percussion," to get it highly touted and reviewed throughout the bluegrass world. Hear them at http://www.dennisrogerreed.com.

Our closing band, "Folding Mr. Lincoln will perform at 5:45 p.m. This five-piece, led by a husband and wife, has been playing since 1973, and it shows. One reviewer told people to come and "experience the pure joy of musicians feeding off each other and the audience" as they perform their "sweet jingly pop, fiddle-driven folk music." You can listen to a sampling of their music at http://www.foldingmisterlincoln.com.

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