Celebrating musical heritage

Published 12:00 am Saturday, March 29, 2003

If you're looking for something to do, round up the kids next weekend for a little bit of toe-tapping and a lot of good down-home music.

The Pioneer Museum of Alabama's 5th Annual Pioneer Music Day will be April 5 from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.

&uot;Just because there's a lot of dead things in this museum doesn't mean the people here are dead,&uot; said Calvin Bodiford, who teaches music at the Pioneer Museum.

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&uot;We have a lot of live wires over here.&uot;

&uot;Traditional music is at the core and the heart of our country,&uot; museum director Charlotte Gibson said.

&uot;It's a sharing of our heritage.&uot;

Gibson said people from all over the region come to participate in the Pioneer Music Day.

Participants don't have to pay a fee or even sign up.

&uot;You don't even have to call, just pick a place and perform,&uot; she said.

The museum will have stages set up at buildings throughout the museum with scores of musicians at each one.

Some musicians who are scheduled to play for the Spring Bluegrass Jamboree in Henderson, which falls on the weekend after Pioneer Music Day, will come a week early and play at the museum.

&uot;We easily had 75 musicians here last year and about 400 to 500 people,&uot; Gibson said.

The musicians perform a variety of traditional music including country, bluegrass, western and gospel.

Chairs are set up at each location and spectators are free to roam at will.

Bodiford said the event attracts a number of passers-by each year.

&uot;People driving by will see all the cars and wonder what's going on,&uot; he said.

&uot;And they just come on in.&uot;

Admission is free on the outer grounds and tables will be set up to sell lunches, drinks and homemade desserts.

But families shouldn't feel torn between Pioneer Music Day and Troy Fest, which will be held the same time in downtown Troy.

In fact, Gibson encourages families to attend both.

&uot;Remember that Troy Fest is downtown,&uot; Gibson said.

&uot;Families can go there first and when they're tired of walking around, they can come up here, sit down and enjoy the music.&uot;

For the performers, it's a chance to display and develop their talents and play with other musicians from around the region.

&uot;This gives my (music) students-just as soon as they get a little experience-an opportunity to play in front of people,&uot; Bodiford said.

Gibson and Bodiford said Pioneer Music Day is a wonderful family event and because of its late start, it's perfect for families who want to spend a sleepy morning at home first.

&uot;Parents can sleep in a little bit and not feel like they're missing anything if they show up later in the morning, because that's when we'll be getting started,&uot; Gibson said.

She said most people will come in the morning and stay all day.

While Gibson and Bodiford don't know how many people will be there to perform, or who most of them are, they do know it will be an all-American good time.

&uot;We're going to have a lot of fun,&uot; Bodiford said.

&uot;If you don't want to have a good time, stay at home."