Del McCoury, a Grammy-winning National Heritage Fellow and member International Bluegrass Music Association’s Hall of Fame, was honoured with the Bluegrass Heritage Foundation’s Bluegrass Star Award on Saturday, October 17, 2015 at the Bloomin’ Bluegrass Festival and Chili Cook-Off in the Farmers Branch Historical Park in Farmers Branch, Texas.
“In 2010, the Bluegrass Heritage Foundation began a tradition of honouring bluegrass artists who do an exemplary job of advancing the music and bringing it to new audiences while preserving its character and heritage,” said Alan W. Tompkins, president and founder of the Bluegrass Heritage Foundation. “Del McCoury has had an incredible lifetime career in bluegrass music spanning the better part of six decades. He’s won almost every award given to musicians in our industry, including a Grammy and a National Heritage Fellowship Lifetime Achievement Award from the National Endowment for the Arts, has played bluegrass music on national television, and was a Bluegrass Boy alongside Bill Monroe. You just can’t get much more ‘true bluegrass’ than that. Del McCoury has played and recorded with artists as diverse as Phish, the String Cheese Incident, and Steve Earle, bringing the bluegrass sound to audiences far and wide. Del has brought bluegrass music to many who might never have heard it or been interested in it before hearing him, and is an ideal recipient for our Bluegrass Heritage Foundation Bluegrass Star Award.”
The previous Bluegrass Star Awards have been awarded to Rhonda Vincent, J. D. Crowe, Peter Rowan, and Sierra Hull.
For more information about Del McCoury, visit the Del McCoury Band website. Be sure to watch the Star Award presentation video below, courtesy of David Seay Productions for highlights of Del’s career and in Del’s own words.
About Bluegrass Heritage Foundation:
Mission Statement – The mission of the Bluegrass Heritage Foundation is to preserve and promote the heritage of bluegrass music in America, with a focus on promoting bluegrass music in Texas. The Foundation seeks to educate the public about this distinctly American form of music with roots in Irish, Scottish, and English traditional music through educational programs and workshops, public performances of bluegrass music, historic preservation efforts, and other similar programs. The Bluegrass Heritage Foundation is a non-profit corporation organised under Texas law and recognized under Section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code.
Bluegrass Heritage Play It Forward program:
Free Instrument Lending Program for Young People
Working with bluegrass associations and music teachers, Play It Forward!, the Bluegrass Heritage Foundation Instrument Lending Program, helps foster music literacy and performance skills in deserving young people (ages 8-21) by providing no-cost access to the primary bluegrass musical instruments such as mandolins, fiddles, banjos, guitars, and resonator guitars. Here’s a short video about the program:
As part of the Play It Forward! program, the Foundation works with local bluegrass clubs and associations to find musicians and music teachers who are willing to become mentors for young people who wish to borrow starter instruments under the program.
The Play It Forward program operates much like a public library:
- Young people are asked to complete an application and provide parental consent to participation
- The estimated value of the instrument will be stated in an agreement that encourages responsibility for the instrument by the borrower.
- Participants are expected to send a thank-you note to the instrument donor, if applicable, or to the Foundation.
In addition, participants are asked to locate a mentor in their area who will assist them in learning the basics of their instrument and the etiquette of playing with others in a disciplined musical environment.
Because maintaining instruments is necessary to keeping them easy and fun to play (and to keeping them viable for many years), the Foundation maintains a fund for the maintenance and upkeep of program instruments. The Foundation coordinates with the participants and with their mentors to make sure that the instruments are properly cared for over time.
Loan periods are for one year, with additional annual renewals possible following an inspection of the instrument by the participant’s mentor, teacher, or the Foundation. When the borrower is ready to acquire an instrument of their own, they must return the borrowed instrument to the Foundation so that it can be “played forward” to another deserving young person.
You can participate in this program by donating cash or bluegrass musical instruments. The Foundation will make sure that donated instruments are in good working order before they are offered for use by a young person. Donors will receive a receipt for their donation and the assurance that their donation will benefit a deserving young person.
For more information or if you would like to make a donation, please contact the Foundation.
Photos are courtesy of Julie Tompkins.