Posted by John Hammer | Sep 27, 2021 | The Rhino Times
In 2020 the annual Art in the Arboretum was held virtually, but in 2021, like so many other events, it’s back to a real live in-person event on Sunday, Oct. 3 from noon to 5 p.m.
Art in the Arboretum is being held at the Greensboro Arboretum in Lindley Park just off West Market Street and Wendover Avenue. Admission is free and this is an event that welcomes four legged companions as long as they remain leashed.
For the event the Arboretum’s walkways will be lined with more than 40 fine art and craft artists from throughout the region. Featured art includes glass, jewelry, paintings, pottery, mixed media, photography and wood fiber to name a few.
The event also includes a lot of live music from Africa Unplugged, Medicine Man, Sam Frazier and the Side Effect, Brice Street, Penny Smith, Demeanor, Jeffry Dean Foster, the Alley Rabbits, Graymatter, UNCH Middle Eastern Music Ensemble, the New Potatoes plus a performance by the Ballet Folkloric Mexican Tradition of Julio Ruiz.
If that isn’t enough entertainment for you, there will also be wandering street performers.
In addition to art and music there will be two food courts and a beer and wine garden.
And for those looking for a little education there will be practical gardening tips.
Board Chair of Greensboro Beautiful Andrenna Coleman in the press release said, “We are so pleased to bring Art in the Arboretum back to the Greensboro Community. This free, fun and entertaining event featuring excellent artists and the best in local musical entertainment is 17 years strong.”
The 2021 Art in the Arboretum is sponsored by Greensboro Beautiful, the Greensboro Parks and Recreation Department and the Fiddle and Bow Society. Promotional support for this year’s event is from WFDD 88.5 Public Radio for the Piedmont.
For more information about Art in the Arboretum, call 336-373-2199.
Staff Report from the Greensboro News-Record September 24, 2021
GREENSBORO — Art in the Arboretum will be held from noon to 5 p.m. Oct. 3 at the Greensboro Arboretum.
The arboretum is located within the Lindley Park, just off West Market Street and Wendover Avenue. Event admission is free and open to the public.
About 40 juried fine art and craft artists from throughout the region will line the arboretum’s paved walkways. Featured art will include glass, jewelry, paintings, pottery, mixed media, photography and wood fiber.
Other activities and features will include entertainment on three stages: Fiddle and Bow Stage (co-sponsored by the local Fiddle and Bow Society), International Stage and the Garden Stage.
It also will feature two food courts, beer/wine garden, practical gardening tips and wandering street performers. This year’s garden activity will be an I Spy through the Garden.
Last year’s event featured musicians performing virtually because of the COVID-19 pandemic.
With the continuing COVID-19 concerns, Greensboro Beautiful has decided to initiate a number of changes, Event Coordinator Mebane Ham said in the announcement.
Artists will be placed 10 feet apart, Art Bark (because of its close contact with family dogs and owners) has been canceled, as well as the Garden PopUp. Children and leashed dogs are welcome to attend and enjoy the music and entertainment.
“We are so pleased to bring Art in the Arboretum back to the Greensboro community,” said Andrena Coleman, board chair of Greensboro Beautiful, in the announcement.
“This free, fun and entertaining event featuring excellent artists and the best in local musical entertainment is 17 years strong,” Coleman said.
Art in the Arboretum is sponsored by Greensboro Beautiful and the Greensboro Parks and Recreation Department, with promotional support from WFDD 88.5 Public Radio for the Piedmont.
For more information call 336-373-2199.
Noon: Africa Unplugged is led by renowned djembe master, songwriter, and educator Atiba Rorie.
1:25 p.m.: Medicine Men is a quartet of musicians from central North Carolina with very different musical roots.
2:50 p.m.: Sam Frazier & The Side Effects.
4:15 p.m.: Brice Street.
FIDDLE & BOW STAGE
Sponsored by the Fiddle & Bow Society
Noon: Penny Smith, joined by keyboardist Robert Martin.
1 p.m.: Justin “Demeanor” Harrington.
2 p.m.: Jeffrey Dean Foster.
3 p.m.: The Alley Rabbits.
4 p.m.: Graymatter.
Noon: UNCG Middle Eastern Music Ensemble.
1 p.m.: The New Potatoes.
3:30 p.m.: Ballet Folklorico Mexican Tradition of Julio Ruiz.
How long has Fiddle and Bow Society brought traditional music to the Triad?
Here’s a clue: “Join us tonight at 8 o’clock for the premiere of ‘A Prairie Home Companion’ here on Public Radio for the Piedmont, WFDD FM, Winston-Salem, N.C.. ‘Fiddle and Bow’ is next.”
That was Jan. 2, 1982, a few months after Fiddle and Bow staged its first concert at Tanglewood Park with singer-songwriter John McCutcheon.
“A Prairie Home Companion” stayed on the air for decades, but Fiddle and Bow Society outlived it (even if the Fiddle and Bow radio show did not). The non-profit organization, which bills itself as “The Triad’s Folk Music Society,” is celebrating its 40th anniversary this year.
Don Bergey, a music fan who taught exercise physiology at Wake Forest University, first attended Fiddle and Bow shows in the 1990s at the old Rose and Thistle restaurant.
“We were getting these artists who were nationally and internationally known in little Winston-Salem, top folk singers from England and Scotland,” he says. “I was just amazed by it.”
English and Scottish folk singers included Martin Carthy, Peter Bellamy and Ed Miller.
“We’ve had musicians from all of the British Isles – England, Ireland, Scotland, Wales,” says Sonny Thomas, the organization’s co-founder.
Fiddle and Bow has featured musicians from all over the world.
“Fiddle and Bow Society has brought music to the Triad that would not have otherwise had a venue,” says Jonathan Byrd, an acclaimed singer-songwriter from Hillsborough. “They also created a listening experience that would not be found in the Triad – and hardly at all in the entire Southeast – for decades.”
The society has presented Byrd, McCutcheon and other singer-songwriters, including John Gorka, Utah Phillips, Joe Crookston and Garnet Rogers. Concerts have also featured Celtic musicians (Aoife Clancy, Tannahill Weavers), folk luminaries (Peggy Seeger, Mike Seeger, Alice Gerrard, Si Kahn), Piedmont blues singers (Etta Baker, Guitar Gabriel), legendary instrumentalists (Dan Crary, Norman Blake, John Fahey, Martin Simpson), old-time musicians (Joe and Odell Thompson, Tommy Jarrell, Frank Proffit Jr.) and younger performers keeping older traditions alive (Stray Birds, Zoe and Cloyd).
Fiddle and Bow’s origins lie with Thomas, a Wilkesboro native who came of age during the folk revival of the late 1950s and early ’60s – an era when a folk song about a man from his home county, “Tom Dooley,” became a chart-topping hit single.
Thomas ran a music store on Hawthorne Road, The Hangman’s Beautiful Daughter, from about 1978 to 1980. Jam sessions at the store evolved into more formal concerts.
Local musician Bill Stevens approached Thomas about presenting music in an environment more conducive to listening than noisy restaurants and bars. Thomas used a mailing list he had assembled from the store jams, and Fiddle and Bow was born.
“Many times I drove down to Chapel Hill to see various concerts, because there really was nothing happening here involving professional-level folk musicians,” Thomas says.
Fiddle and Bow dramatically changed that, says Paul Brown, a traditional musician who has performed for the organization.
“Those early days were special, because old mountaineer musicians were still playing and within reach of Winston-Salem, the folk scene was vibrant, and the old-time, blues, bluegrass and Celtic scenes were all surging,” he says. “It was an exciting time, and Fiddle and Bow was one of the magnets for performers, volunteers and listeners.”
Brown, a veteran announcer for National Public Radio, was host of his own long-running show on WFDD, “Across the Blue Ridge.” He credits “the indefatigable, dedicated Sonny Thomas” and “his merry band of collaborators,” as well as Rose and Thistle owner Mike Turco.
“It takes the right people, the right venues and the right opportunities at one time and place to make success,” Brown says. “Mike clearly wanted trad (traditional) music in the community, and he created a great performance space and a safe harbor.”
The Rose and Thistle closed when the infamous Hawthorne Curve on Interstate 40 (now Salem Parkway) was rerouted. That sent Fiddle and Bow into a long period of venue changes that continues to this day. Home venues since then have included the Community Arts Cafe, Blessings and Muddy Creek Music Hall in Bethania, all of which have closed or moved.
Fiddle and Bow also faced challenges with its finances and organization. Bergey joined its board in the mid-2000s.
“After two or three meetings, I asked, ‘How much money do we have?’ Nobody knew.”
He helped Fiddle and Bow become more professional and to scale back from a schedule that had expanded to one concert a week. “When you have a show every Friday, you’ve got to book some people who aren’t so hot,” Bergey says.
Fiddle and Bow had settled into a pattern of one or two shows per month before the COVID pandemic.
The organization has been working to secure a new home base and to break through the invisible wall between Winston-Salem and Greensboro.
Concerts staged at the Upstage Cabaret in downtown Greensboro since 2019 have included Scottish folk singer Jim Malcolm and Americana duo the Kennedys.
“It’s rare to find good listening rooms – the room becomes part of the performance,” says Mark Dillon, a commercial music instructor at Guilford Technical Community College, president of Fiddle and Bow since 2019.
One of the organization’s hallmarks has been treating artists well. Fiddle and Bow has worked to pay artists as much as possible within its small-nonprofit limits.
Officers and volunteers, including Stevens and immediate past President Peg Parham, have hosted artists in their homes.
Thomas and his family once put up English folk legend Martin Carthy for several days when he had a gap between shows.
“I did double takes seeing him standing at my sink doing dishes,” Thomas says.
Fiddle and Bow staged an annual music festival from the early 1990s through the mid 2000s. The organization has survived in part thanks to grants from the Arts Council of Winston-Salem.
Thomas has been recognized with awards at the state and local level for his work with Fiddle and Bow, earning the title of Arts Volunteer of the Year for Winston-Salem in 1987.
He and Bergey both retired from the Fiddle and Bow board at the end of the 2010s, passing the torch to other volunteers working to keep traditional music alive and well in the Triad.
“I think it’s important to remember its contributions, and I hope circumstances align for it to keep going strong,” Brown says. “I think the presence of Fiddle and Bow helped pave the way for the music scene we have now in Winston-Salem.”