‘Fiddlin’ Bob’ and ‘Banjo Bill’ join WPA cast

Published 8:21 am Thursday, November 10, 2011

The We Piddle Around Theater in Brundidge is not an art gallery …. but it could be.

The folklife theater features the art work of local artists including Larry Godwin, Nall, Dan Fraley, Sergei Shillabeer, Mary Ann Casey, Betty Sue Mathews, Amanda Smothers, Mary Sue Berry, Richard Girdner, Betty Botts, Betty Minton, Lenny Trawick, Amanda Trawick, Brian Belemaire and several artists from outside the county.

The We Piddle Around Theater is housed in the old city hall building that was gutted by fire in 1991.

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“In an effort to turn the building into a theater, we invited local artists to paint scenes on 4×8-foot sheets of plyboard to cover the window openings.” said Cathie Steed, Brundidge Historical Society member. “However, the artwork that was originally for a utilitarian purpose became a focal point of our theater.”

Steed said the artwork contributes to the atmosphere of the theater.

“Our guests really seem to enjoy the artwork and we consider it a tribute to the many talented people in our county and our area,” she said. “And we are always looking for ways to expand and enhance what we do at the We Piddle Around Theater in the area of folklife.”

And, that enhancement now includes Fiddlin’ Bill and Banjo Bob, two scrap metal sculptures that the BHS storytelling committee purchased from a metal sculptor in Wares Valley, Tennessee.

Charles Adams, a friend of the theater, transported the scrap metal sculptures from Tennessee to his stained glass studio in Troy. On Tuesday, Dwight Berry picked up the musicians and gave them a permanent home at the We Piddle Around Theater.

“The sculptures are made out of scrap metal and they fit with the We Piddle Around Theater,” Adams said. “They are folk art and represent the traditional music that is the trademark of the theater.”

Adams said that, when he saw Fiddlin’ Bill and Banjo Bob, he knew where they needed to be.

“Steve Blanchard, owns a machine shop in East Tennessee and does custom machining, design and fabrication,” Adams said. “He was using the metal sculptures as advertising for his machine shop but agreed to sell them to the Brundidge Historical Society once he learned about the folklife theater.”

Blanchard said he couldn’t think of a better home for Fiddlin’ Bill and Banjo Bob than a folklife theater.

“The figures look like they belong in South Alabama,” Adams said. “They remind me of the old folks who played the music that we grew up listening to and singing and still listen to and sing.”

Even though Adams is an artist, he said he finds it hard to understand how anybody can make something like that out of scrap metal.

“How in the world do can somebody come up with an idea and then find the right piece to make the right thing,” he said. “It takes someone with great vision.”

Steed and Adams said the scrap metal sculptures are great additions to the We Piddle Around art gallery.

“We couldn’t have better greeters at the We Piddle Around Theater than Fiddlin’ Bill and Banjo Bob,” Steed said.