The day opened with the annual Town Meeting, in which members can appear before the Board of Directors to air issues and ask questions. This is the fourth of these events I've attended and by far the most productive. Questions and comments were generally positive and supportive. Board responses were open and welcoming. Attendance was the largest I've seen for this early morning meeting that many people would have difficulty getting to if they jammed all night or wished to get in line for a good table at the Special Awards Luncheon. While the entire Board was not present, a representative sample and all the leadership were there.
Stan Zdonik - IBMA Board Chair
Bill Knowlton is a radio broadcaster in Syracuse, NY, host of the annual Bluegrass Ramble Picnic, and frequent emcee at bluegrass festivals and other events in New York and New England as well as around the country. He is noted for his colorful trousers, the cowbells he rings, as well as the with and humor he brings to his work. His career of over forty years promoting and boosting bluegrass well deserves his Distinguished Avhievement Award.
Geof Stelling, owner and designer of Stelling Banjos, has spent a lifetime producing great American-made banjos seeking to re-create the sound and feel of famous pre-war banjos with his own distinctive look and sound.
Julie Thanki is a freelance writer and editor of the web site Engine 145.com
Roland White has led a distinguished career as a mandolinist, band leader, and bluegrass teacher with roots going back to the beginning.
The awards ceremony was satisfying on so many levels that it would be carping to complain about places where it might have fallen short. The awards went to some of the most highly regarded and well-loved people in the bluegrass world. Two performers who have enriched our lives, each in their own way, were inducted into the Hall of Fame at the International Bluegrass Music Museum in Owensboro, KY. It was a fine evening.