News

Riley Gilbreath awarded College Scholarship

Texas Banjo Champion Riley Gilbreath awarded Scholarship
to Kentucky School of Bluegrass & Traditional Music through
Foundation’s Vincent Memorial Scholarship Program

Riley GilbreathAugust 19, 2019
Reigning Texas State Banjo Champion Riley Gilbreath, age 15, was today awarded a first-semester scholarship by the Bluegrass Heritage Foundation.  The scholarship was funded in part from donations to the Bluegrass Heritage Foundation’s Johnny Lee Vincent Memorial Scholarship Program.

Although still a sophomore in high school (in Texas), Riley enrolled in online classes in audio recording technology and bluegrass music history at the Kentucky School of Bluegrass & Traditional Music in Hyden, Kentucky, a part of the Hazard Community and Technical College and University of Kentucky system.  Dean Osborne directs the bluegrass music program and personally welcomed Riley to the growing ranks of online students at the school.

RileyKentucky School of Bluegrass logo is an accomplished banjoist, having won the Texas championship in May 2019 after winning the Oklahoma International Bluegrass Festival banjo championship in 2018.  He is a Bluegrass Heritage Foundation Youth Showcase Artist and plays the Huber Workhorse banjo that was bestowed in connection with that honor.  Riley will be competing at the Walnut Valley Festival in Winfield, Kansas later this month for the national banjo championship title.

“We’re all thrilled to see how quickly Riley has developed his considerable musical talents, and even more excited that he wants to include the study of bluegrass music in his collegiate career.  Riley will be in good company at the Kentucky School of Bluegrass & Traditional Music, which includes Bobby Osborne, Dean Osborne, Scott Napier, and Virgil Bowlin among its faculty,” noted Foundation president Alan Tompkins.

The Mr. Johnny Vincent Johnny Lee Vincent Memorial Scholarship Program is named in memory of Mr. Johnny Vincent of Greentop, Missouri, a bluegrass pioneer and the father of the Foundation’s first Bluegrass Star Award® recipient, Rhonda Vincent, and bluegrass star Darrin Vincent.  Johnny was known for his unique banjo style and founded the Sally Mountain Bluegrass Festival in Queen City, Missouri.

The Bluegrass Heritage Foundation appreciates the support of Mr. Vincent’s family and friends and our many donors and volunteers, all of whom helped make it possible for us to assist young people in making bluegrass happen.

Bloomin’ Bluegrass nominated for 2019 IBMA Event of the Year

Bloomin' Bluegrass Festival nominated for 2014 IBMA Event of the Year AwardBloomin’ Bluegrass nominated for
2019 IBMA Event of the Year Award

August 8, 2019
The Bloomin’ Bluegrass Festival, now in its tenth year and presented by the Bluegrass Heritage Foundation and the City of Farmers Branch, Texas, has been nominated for the third time for the Bluegrass Event of the Year Award by the International Bluegrass Music Association.  The award will be presented at the IBMA’s World of Bluegrass Luncheon on Thursday, September 26, 2019, in Raleigh, North Carolina.

Alan Tompkins commented that “this nomination is a tribute to the commitment by the City of Farmers Branch Texas and all the people who have worked so hard for many years to make this a great event.  We truly value and honor all the folks who come out to enjoy the music, jam, socialize, and enjoy each year at Bloomin’.  We are again humbled by this nomination and express our appreciation to IBMA.”

According to IBMA, the award recognizes events (festivals, concerts, event series, or other live performance productions) for their outstanding accomplishment and service to bluegrass music in the field of event production. The event is judged by its ability to further bluegrass music in its
region or area of service; production quality in terms of presentation and organization; environment; and overall audience experience.

Bluegrass Heritage Foundation Bluegrass Star Award Presented to Bobby Osborne

Bluegrass Heritage Foundation presents
Bluegrass Star Award® to Bobby Osborne

October 20, 2018
Bobby Osborne, a veteran bluegrass musician and a GRAMMY-nominated member of the Grand Ole Opry, was honored with the Bluegrass Heritage Foundation’s Bluegrass Star Award® on Saturday, October 20, 2018 at the Bloomin’ Bluegrass Festival at the Omni Dallas Hotel at Park West in Farmers Branch, Texas.  (The Bloomin’ Bluegrass Festival, typically held in the Farmers Branch Historical Park, was moved inside the Omni for 2018 due to extraordinarily wet conditions in the park.)  Osborne was joined on stage by Del McCoury and Sierra Hull, both of whom have received the Bluegrass Star Award.

“In 2010, the Bluegrass Heritage Foundation began a tradition of honoring bluegrass artists who do an exemplary job of advancing the music and bringing it to new audiences while Bobby Osborne Star Awardpreserving its character and heritage,” said Alan Tompkins, founderof the Bluegrass Heritage Foundation.  Previous Bluegrass Star Awards have been presented to Rhonda Vincent, J. D. Crowe, Peter Rowan, Sierra Hull, Ricky Skaggs, and Del McCoury.  “Bobby Osborne has had an incredible career in bluegrass music spanning 70 years, which includes the time he spent serving his country as a United State Marine.  He’s in the Bluegrass Hall of Fame not once but twice – both as a member of the Lonesome Pine Fiddlers and as a member of the Osborne Brothers – the group that he founded with his brother, Sonny Osborne. 

Bobby is a member of the Kentucky Music Hall of Fame who now spends his time helping young musicians as a member of the Kentucky School of Bluegrass and Traditional Music, located in Hyden, Kentucky and directed by Dean Osborne.  

Throughout his career, Bobby Osborne found new and innovative ways to make bluegrass music interesting for listeners all around the country.  He’s brought bluegrass to thousands of new listeners during his career and is certainly deserving of our Bluegrass Heritage Foundation Bluegrass Star Award®.”  For information about Bobby Osborne, visit his website or the Bobby Osborne page on Wikipedia.com.  Video of the award presentation courtesy of David Seay Productions.  Photos courtesy of Perry Callahan.

Kentucky Just Us Family Band awarded College Scholarship

Kentucky Just Us Family Band awarded Scholarship to attend
Kentucky School of Bluegrass & Traditional Music through
Foundation’s Vincent Memorial Scholarship Program

October 20, 2018
Kentucky Just Us, the O’Neal family bluegrass band from Greensburg, Kentucky, was awarded a $1,000 scholarship by the Bluegrass Heritage Foundation on Saturday, October 20, 2018 at the Bloomin’ Bluegrass Festival at the Omni Dallas Hotel at Park West in Farmers Branch, Texas.  (The Bloomin’ Bluegrass Festival, typically held in the Farmers Branch Historical Park, was held in the Omni for 2018 due to wet conditions in the park.)  The scholarship was funded in part from donations to the Bluegrass Heritage Foundation’s Johnny Lee Vincent Memorial Scholarship Program.  The band played a short set before the scholarship presentation and wowed the crowd at the Bloomin’ Bluegrass Festival.

Several members of the Kentucky Just Us family band are enrolled in classes where they are studying bluegrass music at the Kentucky School of Bluegrass and Traditional Music in Hyden, Kentucky, which is a part of the Hazard Community and Technical College.  Dean Osborne directs the bluegrass music program, and joined the band on stage for the scholarship presentation. 

“We’re so excited to help this terrific young band develop their already-outstanding bluegrass musical skills, and we know they are in the good hands of Dean Osborne, Scott Napier, Virgil Bowlin, and – of course – Mr. Bobby Osborne at the Kentucky School of Bluegrass,” said Foundation president Alan Tompkins.

The Mr. Johnny Vincent Johnny Lee Vincent Memorial Scholarship Program is named in memory of Mr. Johnny Vincent of Greentop, Missouri, a bluegrass pioneer and the father of the Foundation’s first Bluegrass Star Award® recipient, Rhonda Vincent, and bluegrass star Darrin Vincent.  Johnny was known for his unique banjo style and founded the Sally Mountain Bluegrass Festival in Queen City, Missouri.

The Bluegrass Heritage Foundation appreciates the support of Mr. Vincent’s family and friends and our many donors and volunteers, all of whom make it possible for us to assist young people in making bluegrass happen.  The photos of Kentucky Just Us are courtesy of Perry Callahan.

Alan Tompkins nominated for 2018 IBMA Bluegrass Broadcaster of the Year Award

Alan Tompkins nominated for 2018 IBMA
Bluegrass Broadcaster of the Year Award

Alan TompkinsAugust 9, 2018
Alan W. Tompkins, President and founder of the Bluegrass Heritage Foundation, has been nominated, for a third year in a row, by the International Bluegrass Music Association (IBMA) for the Bluegrass Broadcaster of the Year Award based on his work on the Bluegrass Heritage Radio Show.  The winner will be announced at a luncheon on Thursday Sept. 27 in Raleigh, North Carolina.

The IBMA Bluegrass Broadcaster of the Year Award recognizes outstanding service to bluegrass music in the field of broadcasting.  Recipients are judged on their contributions to the field of endeavor, professionalism (including their work in their community), and their ability to foster the image of bluegrass music.  Starting with IBMA member recommendations, nominees are chosen by committees of respected musicians and industry leaders.

Alan said that he was “sincerely honored to be nominated for this prestigious award.  Larry Carter, Michelle Lee, Steve Martin, and Kris Truelson are highly-respected bluegrass broadcasters, and I am proud to stand with them.  I owe my thanks to those who have supported me in the success of the Bluegrass Heritage Radio Show – the crew at KHYI-FM 95.3 The Range in Dallas for their faith in my ability to put on a show, to Gerald Jones for helping me to create the show, to my wife Julie for her patience over the years, and to my daughter Jessica Lynn for her energy and creativity.  Most of all, I appreciate the folks who listen in on KHYI-FM 95.3.”

More Play It Forward! Instruments Presented to Fiddle & Pick Musical Heritage Center

More Play It Forward!® Instruments Presented to
Fiddle & Pick Musical Heritage Center of Middle Tennessee

Fiddle and Pick July 2018July 31, 2018
Foundation President Alan Tompkins, board member Julie Tompkins, and able assistant Jessica Tompkins today presented Gretchen Priest-May, the co-founder (along with her husband, Tim May) of the Fiddle & Pick Musical Heritage Center of Middle Tennessee, with several instruments as part of the Foundation’s Play It Forward!® Instrument Lending Program efforts to support its outstanding affiliates. “We have always loved what Gretchen, Tim, and the others at the Center have done to bring traditional music to children around Pegram, Tennessee,” said Tompkins. “The dedication and commitment of everyone involved with the Center is amazing.  We hope these instruments can help a few more young people go farther in their musical journeys.”

Bluegrass Heritage Foundation Bluegrass Star Award Presented to Ricky Skaggs

Bluegrass Heritage Foundation presents
Bluegrass Star Award® to Ricky Skaggs

October 20, 2017
Ricky Skaggs receives Bluegrass Star AwardRicky Skaggs, a 15-time GRAMMY-winner, was honored with the Bluegrass Heritage Foundation’s Bluegrass Star Award® on Friday, October 20, 2017 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 honoring 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 Tompkins, president of the Bluegrass Heritage Foundation.  The previous Bluegrass Star Awards® have been awarded to Rhonda Vincent, J. D. Crowe, Peter Rowan, Sierra Hull, Del McCoury, and Jerry Douglas. 

Ricky Skaggs receives Bluegrass Star AwardRicky Skaggs has had an incredible career in bluegrass music, and started playing on stage with artists including Bill Monroe, Lester Flatt, and Earl Scruggs before he was seven years old.  He played bluegrass music as a member of the Clinch Mountain Boys, JD Crowe & The New South, and Boone Creek before touring with Emmylou Harris’s Hot Band and beginning his solo country music career.

As a country singer, he achieved 12 #1 hits, 8 CMA awards, and 8 ACM awards, and became the youngest member ever of the Grand Ole Opry.  Over the years, he’s teamed up with Keith Whitley, Bruce Hornsby, Phish, Ry Cooder, the Whites, Barry Gibb, and many others.  He holds an incredible 15 GRAMMY awards as well as an honorary doctorate from the Berklee School of Music, and since 1996 has led his incredible nationally-renowed and award-winning bluegrass band, Ricky Skaggs & Kentucky Thunder.

Ricky Skaggs is a true superstar and an innovator who came from bluegrass music roots and made the whole world sit up and listen.  The Bluegrass Heritage Foundation is proud to have him as the recipient of its seventh Bluegrass Star Award®.  For information about Ricky Skaggs, visit his website at RickySkaggs.com.  Video of the award presentation courtesy of David Seay Productions.  Photos courtesy of Nathaniel Dalzell.

Bloomin’ Bluegrass Festival nominated for 2017 IBMA Event of the Year

Bloomin' Bluegrass Festival nominated for 2014 IBMA Event of the Year AwardBloomin’ Bluegrass Festival nominated for
2017 IBMA Event of the Year Award

August 10, 2017
The Bloomin’ Bluegrass Festival & Chili Cook-Off, now in its eighth year and presented by the Bluegrass Heritage Foundation and the City of Farmers Branch, Texas, has been nominated for a second time for the Bluegrass Event of the Year Award by the International Bluegrass Music Association.  The award will be presented at the IBMA’s World of Bluegrass Conference Luncheon on Thursday, September 28, 2017, in Raleigh, North Carolina.

Alan Tompkins commented that “this nomination is a wonderful tribute to all the people, both those associated with the Bluegrass Heritage Foundation and the City of Farmers Branch, Texas, who have worked so hard for so many years to make this a great event.  We truly value and honor all the folks who come out to enjoy the music, jam, socialize, and have a great time each year at Bloomin’.  We are humbled by this second nomination, and express our sincere appreciation to the International Bluegrass Music Association.”

According to IBMA, the award recognizes events for their outstanding accomplishment and service to bluegrass music in the field of event production. The recipients are judged by the IBMA’s select committee for their overall contributions to the field of event production, professionalism and quality of presentation, work furthering bluegrass in their area of service, and demonstrated ability to foster bluegrass music’s image.

Alan Tompkins nominated for IBMA Broadcaster of the Year Award

Alan Tompkins nominated for 2017 IBMA Broadcaster of the Year Award

Foundation President nominated for IBMA Broadcaster of the Year AwardAugust 10, 2017
Alan W. Tompkins, President and founder of the Bluegrass Heritage Foundation, has been nominated, for a second year in a row, by the International Bluegrass Music Association (IBMA) for the Bluegrass Broadcaster of the Year Award based on his work on the Bluegrass Heritage Radio Show.  The winner will be announced at a luncheon on Sept. 28 in Raleigh, North Carolina as part of IBMA’s World of Bluegrass.

The Broadcaster of the Year Award recognizes outstanding service to bluegrass music in the field of broadcasting.  Recipients are judged by the award committee for their contributions to the field of endeavor, professionalism (including their work in their community), and their demonstrated ability to foster the image of bluegrass music.  Starting with IBMA member recommendations, nominees are chosen by committees of respected musicians and industry leaders.

International Bluegrass Music AssociationAlan said that he was “honored and humbled to be nominated for the Bluegrass Broadcaster of the Year Award.  To be on the list with Cindy Baucom, Steve Martin, Kris Truelson, and Michelle Lee is a terrific honor.  My sincere thanks again goes out to Josh Jones, Big Gus Samuelson, Chuck Taylor, Brett Dillon, and Allan Peck of KHYI-FM 95.3 The Range in Dallas for their help in putting bluegrass on the FM airwaves in Texas, to Gerald Jones for helping me to produce the show, to Charlie Seraphin for his radio coaching, to Burton Gilliam for being THE VOICE of KHYI and my show, to my wife Julie for listening all these years, and to Jessica Lynn for her great promo spots.  And of course the biggest thank-you goes to all those who listen in to FM 95.3.”

Alan received the IBMA Momentum Award for Industry Involvement in 2015.  That award honors exemplary efforts to further the careers of a new generation of musicians and industry professionals.

Nate Jennings, Gigi Jennings, and Riley Gilbreath attend 2017 Acoustic Music Camp

Nate Jennings, Gigi Jennings, and Riley Gilbreath attend 2017
Acoustic Music Camp on Vincent Memorial Scholarship Program

Scholarships Recipients July 2017August 8, 2017
12-year-old banjoist Nate Jennings and his little sister, Gigi Jennings, of Tyler, Texas, as well as Riley Gilbreath of Fort Worth, Texas attended the eleventh annual Acoustic Music Camp in Arlington, Texas (July 27-29, 2017) thanks to the Johnny Lee Vincent Memorial Scholarship Program.  Nate attended the camp last year and did a great job on banjo, and Gigi has been making progress as a young fiddler.

Riley Gilbreath has been advancing rapidly as a musician and banjoist and particularly enjoyed attending the advanced banjo classes taught by Bill Evans and Tony Trischka.  (Riley’s first banjo was provided by our Play It Forward!™ Instrument Lending Program, but he already moved on to buy his own Recording King banjo!  The Acoustic Music Camp faculty included accomplished banjoists Tony Trischka, Bill Evans, and Gerald Jones.  Other renowned faculty included Robert Bowlin, Tim May, Gretchen Priest-May, Paul Glasse, Brad Davis, Dix Bruce, and Roberta Rast.

The Mr. Johnny Vincent Johnny Lee Vincent Memorial Scholarship Program is named in memory of Mr. Johnny Vincent of Greentop, Missouri, a bluegrass pioneer and the father of the Foundation’s first Bluegrass 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 founded the Sally Mountain Bluegrass Festival in Queen City, Missouri.

The Bluegrass Heritage Foundation appreciates the support of Mr. Vincent’s family and friends, our other donors and volunteers, and all who help make it possible for us to assist young people like Nate and Gigi Jennings and Riley Gilbreath.

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