PineCone & NC Museum of History present Free Holiday Concert with The Happy Valley Pals

The Music of the Carolinas series continues at the NC Museum of History on Sunday, Dec. 9 with The Happy Valley Pals. Part of the performance will focus on the mountain holiday tradition "Breaking Up Christmas" and the dance tune by the same name.
The Happy Valley Pals, Photo Credit: Marshall Wyatt
The Happy Valley Pals, Photo Credit: Marshall Wyatt
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Holiday Concert
Food Drive
NC Museum History
Breaking up Christmas
Food Bank CENC


Raleigh - North Carolina - US

Nov. 28, 2012 - PRLog -- The Happy Valley Pals will perform a set packed full of fabulous old songs from the Southern mountains and the Piedmont, and part of the performance will also focus on the mountain holiday tradition "Breaking Up Christmas" and the dance tune by the same name. The catchy tune was frequently played in the Round Peak section of North Carolina's Surry County and in neighboring Virginia. It is still popular among old time fiddle and banjo players today. The concert begins at 3 p.m. on Sunday, Dec. 9 at the Daniels Auditorium in the NC Museum of History. The concert is free and open to the public, but tickets are required and will be distributed at the concert on a first-come, first-serve basis beginning at 2 p.m.

The Happy Valley Pals share deep family and musical roots in North Carolina, Tennessee, and Georgia. The band’s bluesy fiddling, pulsating guitar, growling bowed bass, and lively fingerpicked banjo reflect their shared sense of time and place. Though the Pals have only recently performed under that name, individually Wayne and Margaret Martin, Gail Gillespie, and Dwight Rogers have played southern string band music for decades. They have all learned fiddle, banjo, and guitar tunes directly knee-to-knee from elder musicians as well from the wonderful 78 rpm recordings from the 1920s and ‘30s.

This concert is sponsored by WLHC-FM & WLQC-FM. The Music of the Carolinas Series is sponsored by Williams Mullen and the NC Museum of History Associates.

Rogers, Gillespie, and the Martins have been getting together to play old-time music for more than 20 years. All sing and play several instruments: Wayne plays fiddle, harmonica, guitar, and mandolin; Margaret, banjo and guitar; Dwight, bass, tenor banjo, and ukulele; and Gail, banjo, guitar, and mandolin. They love playing for square dances and clogging groups and have enjoyed playing for community events and the Merritt Store's Saturday lunch.

Though people tend to link old-time music with the mountains, the NC Piedmont had its own distinctive string band sound. The Martins, who have lived in the area nearly all their lives, learned the music directly from local elders who became friends and kind mentors. Dwight and Gail, who were born in Florida, also learned from older musicians in NC and VA. All four are also inspired by the music on 78 rpm records made in the 1920s, especially bands from Georgia and Tennessee with bluesy fiddling, strong guitar, bowed bass, and fingerpicked banjo.

Favorite listening includes the Mainers, Dr. Humphrey Bate and his Possum Hunters, Paul Warmack's Gully Jumpers, Seven Foot Dilly, the Skillet Likkers, and the Roane County Ramblers.

Canned food donations will be accepted for the Food Bank of Central and Eastern NC, a nonprofit organization that provides food for people at risk of hunger in 34 counties in central and eastern North Carolina. The Food Bank does this with the help of a network of 800 partner agencies such as soup kitchens, food pantries, shelters, and programs for children and adults.  With warehouses in Durham, Greenville, New Bern, Raleigh, Southern Pines and Wilmington, the Food Bank distributed more than 44 million pounds of food and non-food essentials last year. This is PineCone and the Museum of History's fourth year pairing a food drive with the December Music of the Carolinas concert. Canned food with pop-tops and items that can be microwaved are particularly appreciated!

More than 545,000 people in central and eastern North Carolina are at risk of hunger, and of these approximately one-third are children. When school is out, children who usually receive free or reduced-price lunch at school cannot always be assured a meal each day. You can help by bringing at least two cans of food to The Happy Valley Pals' concert and help bring some holiday cheer to members of your community this season. Child-friendly items such as pop-top cans, cereal bars, fruit cups, and juice boxes are particularly needed. You can also refer to the Food Bank's list of most-needed items. Holiday food drives are a very important part of the Food Bank's year-end efforts, and your help is greatly appreciated!

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