ROMP (The River of Music Party and Bluegrass Festival) just ended in Owensboro, KY after another successful run. Sponsored by the International Bluegrass Music Museum in Owensboro, this event and the museum represent one of the most important contributions being made to bluegrass today. While we are not able to journey to Kentucky at this time of year, I want to take some time to examine the festival and the museum to explore why they are important and deserve your support, either through membership or contribution.
Another significant element of the Museum's international outreach is the annual Monroe Style Mandolin Camp, to be held this year from September 10 -12 at the Museum in Owensboro. Directed by Mike Compton, unquestionably the premier proponent and teacher of Monroe style mandolin playing today, ably assisted by Richie (Dr. Richard) Brown with faculty members Bobby Osborne, David Harvey, and Skip Gorman, this mandolin camp has been widely praised. Registration materials for the 2010 camp may be found here.
Time to Give Back: The International Bluegrass Music Museum is an invaluable resource for a musical genre that, while important, fits into a pretty small niche. A museum is a much bigger enterprise than its exhibits, although the IBMM exhibits function on many levels, giving pleasure, entertainment, and education to those just being introduced to bluegrass while offering many moments of recognition and joy to knowledgeable fans wishing to reconnect with the invention and growth of the music. But beyond its exhibits, a fine museum serves as a vast repository, a reservoir, if you will, of the accumulated experience and knowledge of the culture it seeks to represent. The Museum, through its programs, collections, archives, displays, educational outreach, and performances is an invaluable resource. In order to continue its growth and maintain its viability, the Museum needs contributions from the bluegrass community. These contributions can be in cash or in time, but they are necessary. Recently, a program coordinated by Ernie Evans has sought to bring bands through Owensboro to give performances at the museum as a fund raiser. These contribution from bands can form a significant source of income. The Pioneers, hardly people of means, have contributed stacks of memorabilia to the Museum, but, in the end, all the archives and programs must float on a sea of cash. The first, and most common way to contribute to the Museum is to join it. As you can see, there are a number of levels of membership befitting each individual's ability to contribute. Beyond memberships, people can become donors, contributing to the general expenses or to specific programs they wish to support. To consider ways to contribute, prospective donors should contact Gabrielle Gray to discuss the Museums needs with her. Regardless of how you wish to give back, there are ways within your means which will help the Museum.