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Berlin Fiddler’s Convention features variety of musicians

9/26/13 | By Sheila R. Cherry, Associate Editor

BERLIN—The weather worked out great and local youth musicians were beginning to participate in Berlin’s annual Fiddlers Convention, organizer Frank Nanna said on Sept. 24 when asked to comment on the events that occurred over the weekend.

Nanna is a longtime Berlin resident, and is a performer and manager. In the beginning he had to recruit musicians from West Virginia to fill the bluegrass music program, which also featured a performance contest. Noting that three major bluegrass festivals had occurred the same weekend, Nanna expressed his gratitude for the event’s local sponsors.

Other than a misunderstanding that occurred when a manager at Si’Culi shut down an impromptu performance during an after-party, due to concern that it would be misconstrued as a license violation by an official of the liquor board, Nanna said things went relatively smoothly.

The contest part of the program yielded prizes for acts as far away as Virginia, according to Nanna. The Wood Pickers, of Gaithersburg won first place in the adult band category, he said.

Musicians competed for prizes in two divisions (youth/adult) in five categories (fiddle, banjo, guitar, mandolin and bluegrass band). Adults competed for prizes of $200 (first place), $150 (second place) and $100 (third place); while prizes in the youth category were $125 (first place), $75 (second place) and $50 (third place), Nana said.

The winners in the youth division (15 years-old and younger) included:

·      Youth Guitar 15 and under: first, Frankie Nanna, Berlin; second, Taylor Takas; third, Andrew Vogts, Chadds Ford, Pa.

·      Youth Banjo: first, Taylor Parks, Parksley; second, Frankie Nanna; (no third place).

·      Youth Mandolin: first, Frankie Nanna; second, Andrew Vogts; (no third place).

·      Youth Fiddle: first, Andrew Vogts (received $100 bonus for scoring the highest points in a single category–569); second, Mason King, Quantico, Md.; third, Mary Mergott, Snow Hill.

·      Youth Band: first, Perpetual Commotion, Snow Hill; second, Southern Comfort, Snow Hill/Parksley, Va.; (no third place).

In the adult division the winners included:

·      Adult Guitar: first, Ben Somerville, Gaithersburg; second, Nate Clendenen, who Nanna said performs regularly at the Green Turtle; third, Wes Parks, Parksley, Va.

·      Adult banjo: first, Wes Parks; second, Ben Somerville; third, Phil McCarey, Berlin. Adult Mandolin: first, Mickey Justice, Salisbury; second, Ben Somerville; third, Donald Kessler.

·      Adult Fiddle: first, Melissa Adams, Gaithersburg; second, Ron McVey, Pennsylvania; third, Bethany Freesen, a recent transplant from Stanton, Va.

·      Adult Band: first, Wood Pickers, Gaithersburg; second, the Voicemail Ramblers, impromptu, Salisbury; third, the Shed House Pickers, Chadds Ford, Pa and Berlin.

Nanna said, in keeping with tradition, the first place adult band winners, Wood Pickers would be the opening act for next year’s Fiddler’s Convention.

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