News

Colby Green to attend Smoky Mountain Banjo Academy on
the Inaugural Johnny Lee Vincent Memorial Banjo Scholarship

Colby GreenApril 6, 2015
16-year-old  Colby Green of Cosby, Tennessee will attend the 10th Annual Smoky Mountain Banjo Academy in Pigeon Forge (May 1-3, 2015) on the first-ever Johnny Lee Vincent Memorial Banjo Scholarship from the Bluegrass Heritage Foundation.  Colby takes lessons from former Winfield champion Gary “Biscuit” Davis, and we hope that the SMBA experience will help him advance as a musician.  The Smoky Mountain Banjo Academy faculty includes Kristin Scott-Benson of the Grascals, Jason Burleson of Blue Highway, and former Blue Grass Boy Butch Robins.

The Johnny Lee Vincent Memorial Banjo Scholarship is named in memory of Mr. Johnny Vincent of Greentop, Missouri, a bluegrass pioneer and the father of the Bluegrass Heritage Foundation’s first Star Award recipient, Rhonda Vincent, and bluegrass star Darrin Vincent.  Johnny and his family toured the world as the Sally Mountain Show, performing their special brand of bluegrass music. He was known for his unique banjo style and also founded the Sally Mountain Bluegrass Festival in Queen City, Missouri.  More on Mr. Vincent is available on our News page.  

The Bluegrass Heritage Foundation sincerely appreciates the support of Mr. Vincent’s family and friends, our other donors and volunteers, and all who attend our events and make it possible for us to help deserving young people like Colby Green.

Hadley’s Southern Kitchen Becomes Major Sponsor of
the Play It Forward! Instrument Lending Program

January 23, 2015
Hadley's Southern KitchenThe Bluegrass Heritage Foundation is proud to announce that Hadley’s Southern Kitchen of Hermitage, Tennessee has become a major sponsor of the Foundation’s Play It Forward! Instrument Lending Program.  The program helps foster music literacy and performance skills in deserving young people (ages 8-21) by providing free loans of the primary bluegrass musical instruments, as well as other assistance, to aspiring young musicians.  Alan Tompkins, president of the Foundation, said that “we are so thankful that the folks at Hadley’s wanted to support our instrument lending progam.  Receiving support from wonderful folks like Hadley’s is a great help to young people and an encouragement to all the volunteers who help make this program a success.”

Tater Wafers at Hadley's Southern KitchenHadley’s Southern Kitchen is the brainchild of founder Tom Hammond. Having been born and raised in the south, Tom grew up eating southern comfort foods like cornbread, white beans, pork tenderloin, and fresh-baked pecan pies. Even as an adult traveling throughout the southern United States, Tom was drawn to local restaurants specializing in these southern foods. This heritage of diverse flavors, combined with the warm and friendly atmosphere the South is known for, made such an impression on Tom that he came up with an idea for a fast casual restaurant that would feature the best of both, where food still tastes like home.

Play It Forward! Group at Hadley's Southern KitchenMany connected with the Foundation gathered at Hadley’s in February to pick, grin, and say THANK YOU to Mr. Hammond and the folks at Hadley’s for their generosity.  Pictured at right are Steve Huber of Huber Banjos (a long-time Foundation supporter), Tori, Jocelyn, and Shelby Gold of the Virginia-based bluegrass band Gold Heart (which regularly plays Foundation events), Tom Hammond, Alan Tompkins, banjoist Brandy Miller (our Play It Forward! Youth Showcase Artist), and Lucas White (who was featured in Fanning the Fire).

The next time you visit the Nashville area, please stop in at Hadley’s (at 4700 Lebanon Pike in Hermitage), enjoy a great meal, and let them know you appreciate their support of the Bluegrass Heritage Foundation.

Johnny Vincent, bluegrass pioneer and
father of Rhonda and Darrin Vincent, passes

JohnnyVincentOctober 6, 2014
Johnny Lee Vincent
, a bluegrass pioneer and the father of the Bluegrass Heritage Foundation’s first Star Award recipient, Rhonda Vincent, and bluegrass star Darrin Vincent, passed away yesterday.  The family has invited contributions to the Bluegrass Heritage Foundation and the Play It Forward! Instrument Lending Program in lieu of flowers.  To donate, click here.  We offer our most sincere sympathy to the Vincent family in this time of loss.  Mr. Vincent’s obituary is included in full below.

Johnny Lee Vincent was born into the musical Vincent Family on October 18, 1940 in Button Ridge, Missouri; the youngest child of Bill & Erma Vincent. Johnny began singing at an early age, soon picked up the guitar, and eventually mastered many stringed instruments. The Vincent family made their first recording when Johnny was in his young teens, where he sang Your Cheatin’ Heart. He attended school in Jim Town, Missouri, and started working at the Shoe Factory in Kirksville, MO at 16.On May 29, 1961, he married Carolyn Christine Thompson. They lived in Greentop, MO. Their first child was born on Friday, July 13, 1962. A daughter they named Rhonda Lea Vincent. On October 6, 1964, Johnny was critically injured in a car accident near Worthington, MO, which left him paralyzed. He regained partial mobility, and walked with a cane until recent years. Music became even more of a focus after his wreck. There was a music party almost every night at the Greentop residence with many musicians. The family performed each week on KTVO TV and KIRX 1450 AM Radio, calling themselves The Sally Mountain Show. They played local shows, and the band consisted of Johnny, Carolyn, 5 year-old Rhonda, father Bill Vincent, brother Pearl Vincent and his wife Kathryn, and their sons Ricky and Joe, along with friends. (more…)

BBF2010-stageBloomin’ Bluegrass Festival nominated for
2014 IBMA Event of the Year Award

August 16, 2014
The Bluegrass Heritage Foundation is proud to announce that the Bloomin’ Bluegrass Festival & Chili Cook-Off, now in its fifth year, which is presented by the Foundation and the City of Farmers Branch, Texas, has been nominated for the 2014 Bluegrass Event of the Year Award by the International Bluegrass Music Association.  The award will be presented at the International Bluegrass Music Association’s World of Bluegrass Conference Luncheon on Thursday, October 2, 2014, in Raleigh, North Carolina.

Foundation president Alan Tompkins commented that “this nomination is an incredible honor for all the people, both those associated with the Bluegrass Heritage Foundation and the City of Farmers Branch, Texas, who have worked so hard for the past five years to make this event a great success.  And the event wouldn’t be what it is without all the wonderful folks who come out to enjoy the music, jam, socialize, and have a great time.  We are humbled to be nominated for this award, and express our sincere appreciation to the bluegrass community and the International Bluegrass Music Association.”

Front Porch Showdown Bluegrass Band Contest – May 31, 2014

Dallas Heritage Village, Dallas, Texas  75215

In Achordance 2014 Front Porch Showdown (2)The Bluegrass Heritage Foundation today teamed up with the Dallas Heritage Village, a shady, 20-acre tree-lined park with authentic 19th-century pioneer and Victorian homes and commercial buildings located in Dallas, for the first-ever Front Porch Showdown Bluegrass Band Contest and Show.  Nine bluegrass bands from Texas and Louisiana each had 15 minutes to take the stage, entertain the crowd, and clear out before the next band stepped in.  A total of $1,100 in prize money was on the line.  Judging was by audience ballot, with a great crowd on hand, and over 250 ballots were cast.  The winning bands were:

1st:  In Achordance (Corpus Christi, Texas)
2nd:  Bobby Giles & Music Mountain (Amarillo, Texas)
3rd:  Nickelville Road (Wylie, Texas)
4th:  Lonesome Ridge (Tullos, Louisiana)

The crowd also enjoyed performances by the Trinity River Mountain Boys, Bluestem, Sowell Family Pickers, Sabine River Bend, and Phil Ferguson & Texas True.  At the conclusion of the bluegrass band contest, the amazing Sgt Pepper’s Lonely Bluegrass Band expertly performed a set of contemporary and classic tunes in the acoustic-music style.  Sgt Pepper’s received a standing ovation at the close of their set from a very appreciative audience! (more…)

Mr. and Mrs. Lamar Hunt Jr. renew their support
of the Play It Forward! Instrument Lending Program

December 1, 2013
The Bluegrass Heritage Foundation today accepted another donation for thLamar-Ritae support of the Play It Forward! Instrument Lending Program from Mr. and Mrs. Lamar Hunt, Jr. of Kansas City, Missouri. Mr. Hunt is the eldest son of the late sports magnate Mr. Lamar Hunt, founder of the American Football League and the Kansas City Chiefs (a National Football League member team). Mr. Hunt’s family presently operates the Kansas City Chiefs as well as FC Dallas and the Columbus Crew, member franchises of Major League Soccer.  Mr. Hunt is the founder of Loretto Properties, LLC, a residential real estate firm based in Kansas City, Kansas, and Loretto Charities, LLC, a philanthropic organization.  Mr. Hunt is a dedicated father of seven children, is the grandfather of three grandchildren, and has had a lifetime affection for music. He played the flute for nine seasons as a member of the Kansas City Symphony and continues to blog about their performances on a regular basis.  He also writes about sports topics, which include professional football and soccer.

The Bluegrass Heritage Foundation’s Play It Forward! Instrument Lending Program helps foster music literacy and performance skills in deserving young people (ages 8-18) by providing free access to the primary bluegrass musical instruments, including mandolins, guitars, banjos, and fiddles.  Alan Tompkins, President of the Bluegrass Heritage Foundation, commented that “we are thankful and delighted that Mr. and Mrs. Hunt decided to continue supporting the Foundation’s free instrument lending progam.  Their support and confidence is a very real encouragement to all the volunteers who help make this program a success.”

Bluegrass Heritage Foundation presents Star Award
to Mandolin Virtuoso Sierra Hull

October 19, 2013
Sierra Hull Bluegrass Star Award Presentation 2013Award-winning mandolinist, singer, and songwriter Sierra Hull was honored with the Bluegrass Heritage Foundation’s Bluegrass Star Award on Saturday, October 19, 2013 at the Bloomin’ Bluegrass Festival and Chili Cook-Off in the Farmers Branch Historical Park in Farmers Branch, Texas.

“The Bluegrass Heritage Foundation began a tradition in 2010 of honoring bluegrass artists who do an exemplary job of advancing bluegrass music while preserving its character and heritage,” said Foundation President Alan Tompkins.  The previous three Bluegrass Heritage Foundation Bluegrass Star Awards have been awarded to Rhonda Vincent in 2010, J. D. Crowe in 2011, and Peter Rowan in 2012.  “Sierra Hull deserves this award because of her amazing talents, her respect for the character and heritage of traditional bluegrass music, and her effectiveness in bringing bluegrass to new audiences.  She is a graduate of the American Roots Music Program at the prestigious Berklee School of Music, and in her early twenties has already been nominated for five awards in three years by the members of the International Bluegrass Music Association.  She’s already given performances of broad cultural importance at Carnegie Hall, the Kennedy Center, and the National Prayer Breakfast.  We are excited to watch Sierra as she brings her incredible music to people who otherwise might not be open to listening to bluegrass, and we are so proud to have Sierra as a recipient of our Bluegrass Star Award.”  For more information about Sierra Hull, visit her website at SierraHull.com.  The Star Award presentation video is courtesy of David Seay Productions.  Photo courtesy of Mr. Derrick Birdsall.

Bluegrass Heritage Foundation presents Bluegrass Star Award to Peter Rowan

October 20, 2012
Peter Rowan Bluegrass Star Award Presentation 2012GRAMMY-winning singer and songwriter Mr. Peter Rowan was honored with the Bluegrass Heritage Foundation’s Bluegrass Star Award on Saturday, October 20, 2012 at the Bloomin’ Bluegrass Festival and Chili Cook-Off in the Farmers Branch Historical Park in Farmers Branch, Texas.

“The Bluegrass Heritage Foundation began a tradition in 2010 of honoring bluegrass artists who do an exemplary job of advancing bluegrass music while preserving its character and heritage,” said Foundation President Alan Tompkins.  “Peter Rowan deserves this award because of his amazing talents and his long record of musical accomplishment.  A native of the state of Massachusetts, he began his professional career with none other than Mr. Bill Monroe and the Bluegrass Boys, living in Nashville and appearing regularly on the Grand Ol’ Opry.  His career spans nearly 50 years and includes collaborations with noted artists such as Tony Rice, David Grisman, Jerry Garcia, Vassar Clements, Norman Blake, Clarence White, and many others.  He’s written such songs as Moonlight Midnight (which he recorded with Tony Rice), Panama Red, In The Land of The Navajo, and others.  We are excited to have Peter Rowan as a recipient of our Bluegrass Star Award.”  For more information about Peter Rowan, visit Peter-Rowan.com.  The Star Award presentation video is courtesy of David Seay Productions.  Photo courtesy of Mr. Derrick Birdsall.

Bluegrass Heritage Foundation presents Bluegrass Star Award to J. D. Crowe

October 15, 2011
J. D. Crowe Bluegrass Star Award Presentation 2011GRAMMY- and multiple IBMA Award-winning banjo player and bandleader Mr. J. D. Crowe was honored with the Bluegrass Heritage Foundation’s Bluegrass Star Award on Saturday, October 15, 2011 at the Bloomin’ Bluegrass Festival in the Farmers Branch Historical Park in Farmers Branch, Texas.

“The Bluegrass Heritage Foundation began a tradition in 2010 of honoring bluegrass artists who do an exemplary job of advancing the music while preserving its character and heritage,” said Foundation President Alan Tompkins.  “Mr. Crowe deserves this award because of his incredible talent and long record of musical accomplishment.  Crowe’s career spans more than 50 years of playing and recording with some of the most talented and influential musicians ever to play bluegrass music, including Jimmy Martin, Ricky Skaggs, Tony Rice, Jerry Douglas, Keith Whitley, Doyle Lawson, the Bluegrass Album Band, and so many more.  We are excited to have J. D. Crowe as a recipient of our Bluegrass Star Award.”  The Star Award presentation video is courtesy of David Seay Productions.  Photo courtesy of Mr. Derrick Birdsall.

Pamela and Tony Rice invite memorial donations to Bluegrass Heritage Foundation Play It Forward! Instrument Lending Program

Tony-Rice-John-ChristopherSeptember 9, 2011
After losing their son, John Christian Scott, in a mid-August accident, pioneering bluegrass guitarist Tony Rice and his wife, Pamela, have asked for memorial contributions to be made to a very special cause.

“We have designated the ‘Play it Forward!’ instrument lending program, developed by the Bluegrass Heritage Foundation, as our choice for anyone wishing to make contributions in Chris’ memory,” said the Rices in a statement on August 28.  “We believe it is the best of all possible ways to plant the seeds necessary for bluegrass music to grow and thrive.”

The Rices encourage friends and fans to support the Bluegrass Heritage Foundation by ordering a DVD of Fanning the Fire, a new short film that explores the uniquely American musical form of bluegrass and its broad appeal to beginning players and professionals alike.  The DVD is available for a minimum donation of $15 per copy to the Foundation and may be ordered at the Foundation’s website, BluegrassHeritage.org.

“To think about what Tony and Pamela must be going through is more than I can imagine,” said Alan Tompkins, president of the Foundation.  “I was deeply moved to think that they would consider what the Bluegrass Heritage Foundation has done to be worthy of a memorial for their son.” (more…)

Inaugural Bluegrass Heritage Foundation Bluegrass Star Award
Presented to Rhonda Vincent

Rhonda Vincent Bluegrass Star Award Presentation 2010October 16, 2010
Rhonda Vincent, the woman who was named the “new queen of bluegrass music” by the Wall Street Journal, was honored with the first-ever Bluegrass Heritage Foundation Star Award on Saturday, October 16, at the Bloomin’ Bluegrass Festival in the Farmers Branch Historical Park, Farmers Branch, Texas.

“The Bluegrass Heritage Foundation wanted to begin a tradition of honoring bluegrass artists who do an exemplary job of advancing the music while preserving its character and heritage,” said Foundation President Alan Tompkins.  “We believe that Rhonda Vincent is the perfect recipient for this inaugural award because of her incredible talent and record of accomplishments.  Rhonda followed her parents’ tradition of performing bluegrass music all the way to the Grammy stage, and now her daughters are blazing a trail with their own new bluegrass band.  We are happy to have Rhonda as our inaugural Star Award recipient.”

As the leader of the most-awarded band in bluegrass music (Rhonda Vincent & The Rage), with more than 70 awards, and as the only artist to win seven consecutive IBMA Female Vocalist of the Year titles, Rhonda is at the top of her game.  She was also recently at the top of the Empire State Building where she debuted the first single, “Sweet Summertime,” from her new CD “Taken.”  For more information about Rhonda, visit RhondaVincent.com.  The Star Award presentation video is courtesy of David Seay Productions.  Photo courtesy of Mr. Bob Compere.

Bluegrass Heritage Foundation recognized by Texas Governor Rick Perry for its efforts to preserve bluegrass music in the Lone Star State

Texas Governor Rick Perry Certificate of RecognitionFebruary 23, 2010
Texas Governor Rick Perry congratulated the Bluegrass Heritage Foundation on its efforts to preserve bluegrass music in Texas by issuing a certificate of recognition to Foundation President Alan Tompkins.  Governor Perry wrote that “music is a vital part of our culture that has enriched our great state’s heritage, adding to the diversity and vibrancy that uniquely defines Texas.  Bluegrass Heritage Foundation is doing a great deal to promote bluegrass music in Texas, and I’m sure it will continue to do so under your leadership.  First Lady Anita Perry joins me in wishing you continued success.”  Tompkins accepted the certificate on behalf of the Foundation and said “I am proud that the work and dedication of our volunteers, board, and bluegrass fans here in Texas has been recognized by the Governor and First Lady.  We plan to keep great bluegrass music going strong here for many years to come!”

The Bluegrass Heritage Foundation is a non-profit organization, run by volunteers,
promoting bluegrass music in Texas. While it's free to get in the door to many of our events,
keeping the doors open isn't free. All contributions are greatly appreciated.

Click the donate button to donate online.​

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