A semi-circle of chairs awaits anyone who wants to take a turn stepping onto the welcoming rug in front of a row of microphones, facing the chairs and tables where other friends, family and neighbors gather to listen.
The biweekly musical at Pleasant Grove Community Center is about to begin when two visitors stroll in. They are quickly welcomed and invited to share in the refreshments offered in the kitchen. And there is more than that, as the ladies have each brought something to share as evidenced by the numerous casserole dishes and cake pans assembled on tables.
But first, there’s music, beginning with a group anchored by old-time fiddler Sam Younger of St. James, a 90-year-old who has been fiddling since he was a boy. He is accompanied by guitar players Bob Younger and Jon Birkey, with Cecil Dayberry on banjo. Sam fiddles a tune, and then Jon sings a song. They tease Bob about it being his turn to sing (which he never does, of course) before relinquishing the microphone to the next group.
This particular week, the performers include Glenda Womack, who sings and plays autoharp backed by husband Ken on guitar; and Marcia Hammer on resonator guitar. Gospel is a recurring theme, as Lloyd and Nora Stephens sing their favorites, as do Wayne Turner and the sibling duo of Linda Burns and Bill Davis. Nathan Dodds is cajoled into fiddling, and Edie Dayberry convinces Cecil to sing with her. Cecil also does his impression of Johnson’s Old Gray Mule as a prelude to Sam fiddling “Whoa Mule” as the rotation begins anew.
The musical has been a popular use for the building for at least 20 years.
See more in the Aug. 31, 2016 issue.