2012 Exhibits/Activities


Attendees at this year’s Old Time Music, Ozark Heritage Festival will be treated to a heavy schedule of musical workshops during the two-day event.  Artists who know the value of passing along the knowledge and joy of traditional music will share their talents with all who want to participate.  The schedule includes:

Friday, June 15:

12 Noon – Fred McKinney – Bass fiddleWorkshop 2012 Festival

Fred McKinney was born in Springfield, but grew up in Texas County on a farm at the small crossroads community of Yukon,Missouri.     He was musically talented as a child, and became interested in many instruments.    At about 11 or 12 years of age he began playing bass fiddle.  His parents owned a small music store and his Dad, as a hobby and for advertising purposes, formed a Bluegrass music group they called “Yukon Territory.”    Fred played bass fiddle with that group, which also included John Tindel on mandolin, Bythel Friend on fiddle, David Branson on banjo, and Ed McKinney on guitar.

Fred played tuba with the Missouri State University (Springfield) marching band while working on his Bachelor’s degree in music during the late 1980’s, played organ for the Elm Street Baptist Church in Springdale, Arkansas while earning his Master’s Degree in music theory at the University of Arkansas at Fayetteville, and also played bass fiddle during that time with Heather Honeycutt’s “New River” Bluegrass band, based in Republic, Missouri.    He later played organ for the Little Bonne Femme Baptist Church while pursuing a Master’s Degree in Library Science at the University of Missouri at Columbia.    He currently lives in Ballwin, with his wife, Rebekah (Phelps), and works as a reference librarian and as an assistant in the music program at Missouri Baptist University in St. Louis.


1PM – Emily Dowden-Estes – AutoharpEmily Desowden Est

Emily Dowden Estes has been a musician-singer-songwriter of bluegrass, folk and Americana music nearly all her life, and developed her skills in the scenic, country setting of the Ozarks.  She performed with her sisters as “The Dowden Sisters” throughout the U.S. and Canada for over a decade, and most recently formed a new group, the “Emily Dowden Band” and is in the process of recording her first solo project. In 2012, Emily joined the cast of “Kelly’s Kountry Junction” a comedy/variety/country music television show on PBS, based out of Joplin. The “Hee-Haw” themed show has gained over a million viewers, and it is in the process of going nationwide. Emily can be seen on the show weekly.  She strives to keep the art and customs of traditional Ozarks music alive and well.  You can “like” her at www.facebook.com/emilydowdenband

2PM – Travis Inman – fiddle technique

Travis Inman, Cole Camp, an 11-time Missouristate champion fiddler and three-time Midwest champion, says his roots as a fiddler run deep. “My great-aunt Kate Swearingen, a Cherokee Indian woman, was the Oklahoma state champion back in the 1920’s. My dad played the fiddle, and so did my uncles, and all kinds of relatives are musicians of one kind or another.”  Today, Inman sports 11 state championships, three regional championships and over 140 trophies.  He has inspired and taught many a young fiddler, was a master artist in the Traditional Arts Apprenticeship Program with the Missouri Folk Arts Program and continues to play music in and around the Cole Camp-Sedalia area as often as he can.


3PM – The Rhythmia – banjoRhythmia 2

The Rhythmia is an acoustic string band that performs a mix of authentic ragtime – primarily written and published in Kansas City where the band is based – with old-time fiddle tunes and Caribbean music, along with original compositions, to form a variety of old-time folk dance music.  Over 100 years ago, ragtime was America’s original popular music.  While considered primarily as piano solo music today, ragtime often was played during the late 19th and early 20th centuries by string bands consisting of violins, guitars, banjos and mandolins.  The Rhythmia is keeping this ragtime string band tradition alive.

The band consists of guitarist Kevin Sanders, violinist Pat Ireland and Bob Ault on mandolin and banjo, who will lead this workshop.  A composer and arranger, Ault has entertained everywhere from Carnegie Hall to Japan.  He learned his authentic 100-year-old style of banjo from Howard Weilmuenster, a student of ragtime banjo great Fred Van Eps, as well as from studying thousands of vintage recordings.  For 37 years, Ault was an assistant instructor for the “History of Ragtime” course at Washington University in St. Louis.


4PM – Don Graves – dulcimer

Don Graves of Lebanon in Laclede County offers a rare style of Ozark folk music that was played back in the 1800s and early 1900s. Ballads and fiddle tunes are offered with an aggressive energetic beat. He plays the dulcimer, also known as the “Indian Walking Cane.”  This instrument was possibly introduced to Missouri when the Graves family’s great-grandfather, John Mohee, returned from the Civil War with the measurements to make one carved on a stick. It is played with a hardwood stick and turkey quill, zither-style.  He plays the dulcimer the same way it has been handed down from generation to generation in their family.


5PM – Mollie O’Brien and Rich Moore – Music interpretation

Mollie O'Brien and Rich Moore

Mollie O’Brien and Rich Moore

This husband-and-wife duo grew up with a variety of musical genres influencing their individual styles.  In Wheeling, W.Va., Mollie listened to such performers as Count Basie, Dave Brubeck, Ray Charles, Joni Mitchell, Bonnie Raitt, Dinah Washington and Frank Sinatra.  Meanwhile in Philadelphia, Rich was developing his guitar skills playing along with Peter, Paul and Mary tunes and watching the Beatles on the “Ed Sullivan Show.”  He also slipped into clubs to see then young-and-relatively-unknown performers like James Taylor, Emmylou Harris and Doc Watson.  After 30 years of making music, mostly apart, they have joined forces again, and will share their musical interpretative ability with workshop attendees.

Saturday, June 16:

11AM – Harmonica Gathering with Seth Shumate demonstratingseth schumate 2


The gathering will be hosted by Seth Schumate, an Arkansas native whose grandfather and great-grandmother played the instrument all their adult lives.  Schumate said he acquired the habit in the seventh grade – 15 years ago.  Since then he has practiced, studied the history of and played in the Arkansas-based bands Shout Lulu and Devil’s Promenade.  Schumate is a studio musician with a passion for the preservation of the instrument, organizers said, and he is excited at the prospect of “teaching others about how the harmonica might have sounded since it came to the United States more than 150 years ago.”  Free harmonicas will be provided to the first 40 participants in the gathering.  To learn more about Schumate, search YouTube for “Old Time Harmonica.”

1PM – Don Buedel – traditional fiddling and fiddlers in Howell County, MO past and present

buedel, long - 2 colMulti-instrumentalist Don Buedel, is also a singer who is equally proficient on fiddle, guitar, mandolin, and banjo, Buedel has won first place in the Apple Festival fiddle contest in Murphysboro, Ill., where he now lives.  He is a member of the Smoky Hollow String Band and has played with the Wolf Creek Possum Poachers.

While residing in the Missouri Ozarks in the 1990s, Buedel, with support from the Missouri Folk Arts Program, collected and learned tunes from longtime traditional musicians and taught this repertoire to others.  He has opened concerts for Doc Watson, Dan Crary and Stuart Duncan and has performed with Norman Blake.  “Some musicians play the tunes and do it well,” Buedel said. “I think it’s about the people who play the music and carry on the traditions. Without the people, there’d be no music.”

2PM – Judy Domeny Bowen – “Terrible Songs – Missouri Tragedies Set to Music” the histories of and resulting songs of 4 Missouri tragedies that include The West Plains Explosion, The Iron Mountain Baby, The Meeks Family Murder, and Resurrection Sunday (trying to resurrect a dead woman in Reeds Spring, MO).Judy Domeny Bowen 6-15-12

Judy Domeny Bowen hails from Rogersville, MO and performs a variety of story-telling songs including traditional Ozark ballads and folksongs, contemporary folk and farm songs, and original songs written especially for teachers.  While growing up on her family farm, she entertained herself while she worked.  She sang folk songs.  She sang of broken hearted Barbara Allen, English kings and queens, cowboys and Indians. She sang of Civil War battles, sailing ships, train wrecks, and murders. She sang to her pony on long trail rides and to the cows as she helped pen them. Fascinated by the stories within the songs, she developed a repertoire of hundreds of Ozark folk songs.  Judy and her husband, David, still live on the Domeny family farm.  Judy continues to sing while doing her chores!

4PM – Bona Fide String Band – hammer dulcimer and mountain dulcimerBonaFide String Band

The Bona Fide String Band, an old-time group based in Hardy, Ark., includes members Greg Cox, Lisa Culver, Jeff Kamps, Debbie Kamps and Ruth Rogers.  Lisa Culver plays the fiddle and hammered dulcimer and contributes lead and harmony vocals.  As a teen she learned to play the fiddle from local fiddle legend, Ralph DePriest. Today she plays a Russian-made fiddle that belonged to her great-grandfather, who played it as an entertainer onMississippi Riverboats.

Greg Cox is regarded regionally as a gifted musician and songwriter who continues the tradition of passing along music. His musical roots are deep and began with his family in southern Indiana, so much so, that he isn’t quite sure when he started playing music. Greg adds to the group’s traditional vocals in both lead and harmony and plays the mandolin and fiddle. Jeff Kamps brings an old-time sound to Bona Fide with the clawhammer banjo. His introduction to traditional music came in the 1970s when he first encountered the music of Doc Watson. Soon, he was playing music and building mountain dulcimers. Today, he is a luthier who owns the Flat Creek Dulcimer Shop in Hardy, where he has been building and selling instruments since 1988.

Debbie Kamps plays rhythm guitar and sings lead and harmony parts in her warm soprano voice. Husband Jeff built his first mountain dulcimer for her, and she was soon on the road to many years of singing and performing. She added rhythm guitar when she began playing in groups.

Ruth Rogers, the newest member of the Bona Fide String Band, springs from a true traditional music background. Growing up in family that still sings and plays together, Ruth was immersed in the beauty and richness of gospel harmony singing. She adds her rich alto voice and solid bass playing to round-out the sounds of the group.

5PM – Lyal Strickland – songwritingLyal Strickland

Lyal Strickland has been writing and performing since he was 13, using what he knows as a farmer with a film degree to develop songs about small town life, big city adventure and the road in between.  His latest CD, “So Many Incidents,” features a wealth of long-respected Ozarks talent.




2007 Festival - Cooking Stage (3)WHAT’S COOKIN’ STAGE

The “What’s Cookin’” Stage, sponsored by Downtown Antiques, is firing up for an extraordinary demonstration of old-time recipes and cooking skills at this year’s Old-Time Music, Ozark Heritage Festival, according to coordinator Judy Harden.

“Cookin’ in These Ozark Hills” is the theme of this year’s stage, and Harden said all of this year’s demonstrators live in the area – not just in Howell and surrounding counties but from other areas of the Ozarks, as well.

“As we’ve attempted in the past nine years, we want to encourage traditional recipes and simple cooking of days gone by,” Harden said.  “I like to think that we have influenced families and festival attendees to take the leap and try out an old recipe.”

Whether a recipe has been handed down for generations or just come to light again, someone has to try to replicate the dish for the old-time cooking traditions to continue, Harden said.  “You know, it doesn’t have to be successful on the first attempt.  Sometimes the fun of doing it provides the most satisfaction.  What matters are the feelings you experience because you were willing to try them,” she explained.

As well as the standbys of biscuits and gravy, sourdough bread, homemade donuts, there will be squirrel, venison and pork prepared by renowned West Plains businessman Travis Smith.  Joining him on the cooking stage will be local author, storyteller and musician Marideth Sisco with a family favorite – Tomato Gravy.  “Sounds delicious,” Harden said.

Other presenters include Gordon Shinn and Johnny Ray Bennett of Thayer to talk squirrel hunting and skinning.  “Some may remember Gordon from the ‘No Reservations’ episode with Anthony Bourdain of the Travel Channel,” Harden said.  “Just throw in cookies, cake and a cobbler or two, and you know you’re in store for a great time!”

“Nostalgia is a pleasant remembrance, and there’s nothing like homemade bread, freshly churned butter or a just-out-of-the-oven pie that opens the floodgates of memories,” Harden said.  “Join us at the ‘What’s Cookin’ Stage, listen to the music that surrounds us, and enjoy free samples of all the food prepared during the day!”

Link to ‘No Reservations’ episode with Anthony Bourdain of the Travel Channel



The eleventh annual National Bob Holt Old-Time Jig Dance Competition will again be a featured event at the Old-Time Music, Ozark Heritage Festival.  The competition will take place on Saturday, June 16, at 1 PM in the West Plains Civic Center theater.

Contestants will compete in four age divisions:

under age 17;

age 18-50;

age 51- 70;

over age 70.

Over $500 in prizes will be awarded. Cathy Marriott, master dancer from Ava, Missouri will be the emcee for the competition.

Within the Southern Folk Tradition, there are several styles of solo, freestyle dances. Flatfooting and buckdancing are two of the most common forms. In the Ozarks, the term “jig” is frequently used to describe this style of dance.  Although these dances are all loosely related, they are also distinctively different.

The word “jig” dates back at least to 1500 AD and is probably somewhat older in usage. It describes a solo dance that originated in the British Isles where it consisted of repeated hops on one foot while the free foot pointed patterns in the air; heel and toe, front, side or back.

The Ozark jig draws not only from British tradition, but also from American Indian and African cultures. It basically consists of movement from the hips down while the upper body is held erect. Emphasis is on leg rather than body movements, and the steps are individualistic and virtually limitless. The feet serve as a rhythm instrument. The sound of the shoes striking the floor beats the time of the music. Even though a number of jig dancers may take to the floor at the same time, each dancer’s steps are improvised without regard to the movement of the other dancers. When jig steps are incorporated into square dances, no effort is made to synchronize steps with other dancers in the square.

Another major difference in the British and Ozark versions of the jig is the rhythm of the dance. In the British Isles, the jig was danced to a lilting 6/8 rhythm, while Ozark dancers prefer extremely faced paced, driving 2/2 or 2/4 hoedowns.  The Ozark style of jig is a “freestyle” dance form identified with northern Arkansas and Southern Missouri.

Each year the Bob Holt Jig Dance Competition is enjoyed by hundreds of spectators and contestants. It is free to compete and free to attend. This event is sponsored by The Fish Shack

Contact Kathleen Morrissey at 417-256-1813 or info@westplainsarts.org  for more information

2009 Festival - Fiddlers' Frolic (5)Old-Time Music, Ozark Heritage Festival to feature Fiddlers’ Frolic

Fiddlers, other instrumentalists and those who like to listen to good, toe-tapping fiddle music are invited to the Fiddlers’ Frolic at the 18th annual Old-Time Music, Ozark Heritage Festival June 15 and 16 in downtown West Plains, Mo.

The music begins at 7 p.m. Friday, June 15, in the West Plains Civic Center theater at 110 St. Louis St.  Admission to all festival events is free.

An annual component of the festival, the Fidders’ Frolic gives participating fiddlers an opportunity to select and lead tunes in an open jam session.  It focuses principally on traditional fiddling found in this region, but “traditional” is defined broadly and flexibly, coordinator Matt Meacham said, and fiddlers of all backgrounds, stylistic orientations and skill levels are welcome to participate.

“It’s always enjoyable and really fascinating to hear the participating fiddlers exchange tunes and compare notes, in multiple senses of the word,” Meacham said.  “We expect that, as usual, there will be at least a few folks on hand who are very knowledgeable about the history of fiddling in this part of the country and can provide interesting commentary on many of the tunes that will be played.”

One of the goals of the Fiddlers’ Frolic is to help conserve and perpetuate old-time tunes and techniques, Meacham said.  “As a result, it tends to emphasize traditional fiddling, but we know that traditions are always evolving and growing, and we certainly don’t want to define ‘tradition’ in an artificially rigid way, so we strongly encourage fiddlers of all kinds to join in.  And, of course, we’ll need banjoists, guitarists and other instrumentalists to provide accompaniment.  Everyone’s welcome.”

For more information about The Fiddlers’ Frolic, contact Meacham at 417-372-3177 or matthewmeacham@missouristate.edu, or the West Plains Council on the Arts at 417-256-1813 or info@westplainsarts.org


The happening place in West Plains will be the fifth annual Old-Time Music, Ozarks Heritage Festival MULE JUMP, sponsored by Hirsch Feed & Farm Supply.

Mule JumpThe competition will take place in the parking lot near the Senior Center at the corner of East Main and South Curry streets on Saturday, June 16, at 3 PM.

Preceding the competition will be a demonstration of mule jumping at the same location at 11 AM.  Attendees will be welcome to ask questions of the demonstrators (and, for that matter, the mules, though there’s no guarantee that the mules will answer).

Mule jumping, that most Missourian of Missouri folk arts, seems to have developed when raccoon hunters began training mules to jump over fences so that they did not have to interrupt the hunt to locate a gate.  It became a competitive event unto itself, and mule jumping contests began to take place at county fairs and town picnics throughout much of the rural Southeast and Midwest, especially Missouri.

Matt Meacham, Festival committee member commented, “Based on the research I’ve done, it appears that there are more mule jumps annually in Missouri than in any other state.  It seems safe to say that the Show-Me State is the mule-jumpingest state in the country.”

All trainers of jumping mules are invited to participate in the Festival’s mule jump competition.   Prizes of $100 (first place), $75 (second place), and $50 (third place) will be awarded in each of two classes based on the mules height: up to 52 inches, and taller than 52 inches.  Standard Missouri rules will apply.  Water and ample space for trailers will be available.  Richie Dement of Centerville will coordinate the event again this year.

Pre-registration is recommended but not required.  Contestants who wish to pre-register may contact Matt Meacham at (417) 372-3177 or matthewmeacham@missouristate.edu.  All participants are asked to check in on-site by 2:30 PM on Saturday, June 16.  Those who have questions about specific policies and procedures may contact Richie Dement at (573) 648-2524.

“Last year’s mule jump became the subject of an article in the Wall Street Journal,” Meacham noted.  “Although we can’t guarantee that competitors will receive international media coverage again this year, we can guarantee that they’ll have the attention of an enthusiastic, supportive audience and the appreciation of the organizers of the Old-Time Music, Ozark Heritage Festival.”

Wall Street Journal Mule Jump Video 2011 http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052702304584004576417491926661206.html?mod=WSJ_LifeStyle_Lifestyle_6#articleTabs%3Dvideo



The Second Annual Goat Cart Races, sponsored by the Pride of the Ozarks Goat Breeders Club, are to be featured during the Old-Time Music, Ozark Heritage Festival in West Plains.  The races are scheduled for 7PM Friday, June 15, in the southeast parking lot of the West Plains Civic Center.

Last year’s races were extremely well-attended, and POGBC members are excited about returning to the Festival.  Goat cart rides were offered last year, and will be repeated on Saturday, June 16.

Cash AdamsonPre-registration for the race is encouraged, but not required.  There is no entry fee.  Contestants who wish to pre-register, or those with inquiries, should contact John Maruska 417-284-1344 or email at       john@jdmaruska.com    Prizes of $100 (first place), $75 (second place), and $50 (third place) will be awarded.  All participants are asked to check in on-site by 6:15PM on Friday, June 15.

There is no special design that is required in the carts or wagons. They can be two or four wheel, just about anything on wheels that a goat can pull, but only one goat can pull it. One driver is required and a “handler” is nice but not required, he may run around ahead of the goat to make sure he doesn’t veer off track but is not allowed to lead him.

Festival attendees are encouraged to stop by the POGBC booth and register for their drawing prizes, which will include a goat and several other related items.  Club members will also be available to answer questions.

The organization held its first meeting in 1997. The organization welcomes breeders of all types of goats: meat, fiber, pack, and pet goats, in addition to dairy goats.  “The club now has all but pack goat owners, although we do have cart goat owners”, said Debra Prince of the Pride of the Ozarks Goat Breeders Club.

This year, the organization is turning its attention toward philanthropic projects including donating goats to a children’s home in Arkansas and developing a mentoring program that will resemble Heifer International but will operate on a local level.   “We feel it is important to get young people interested in agriculture and are looking for ways to attract them to it,” Prince commented.

John explained, “The clubs main mission is to share goat-related information.  We discuss problems and experiences, have educational programs, presentations by guest speakers such as veterinarians, and demonstrations of skills such as kidding, how to bolus a goat, how to trim hoofs, or how to help a laboring doe, and also issue a monthly newsletter.”

The Pride of the Ozarks Goat Breeders Club meets on the second Saturday of each month at 1 PM at the Howell-Oregon Electric Cooperative building on U.S. 63 just north of West Plains.  Their website: http://poogbc.org/main/

Dutch oven cooking competition added to Old-Time Music, Ozark Heritage Festivaldutchoven2

The art of Dutch oven cooking will take center stage for the first time ever at the 18th annual Old-Time Music, Ozark Heritage Festival.

Seasoned masters of Ozarks Dutch Oven cookery will be asked to try their hand at desserts made from scratch in this first of what is expected to be an annual event, organizers said.  There will be no entry fee for participants, they added.

The competition, sponsored by the Ozark Mountain Long Rifle Club, will take place Friday, June 15, in and around the club’s rendezvous area near the front of the civic center.  Participants have until 2 p.m. to enter; judging will begin at 4:30 p.m.  Winners will be announced about 5:30 p.m. that day at the “What’s Cookin’” stage, with prizes awarded to first-, second- and third-place finishers, organizers said.  Audience members are encouraged to sample the chefs’ results following the awards ceremony.

The term “Dutch oven” generally refers to a cast iron pot or kettle with a flat bottom and three legs that hold the oven above a fire’s hot coals.  The kettle also features flat sides and a flat, flanged lid to hold the hot coals placed on top, organizers explained.

The versatile, portable cooking tool has been used for more than 300 years and was shipped and traded worldwide from its original manufacturer in Holland, as well as an English firm that altered and improved the design.

The Dutch oven became the cooking tool of choice in places as far removed as the American West and the South African coast, organizers pointed out.  George Washington’s mother bequeathed several of them among her “iron kitchen furniture” to her heirs.  Native Americans also were captivated by the ability of the pot to cook food literally inside the fire, organizers said.  In the Ozarks, the Dutch oven became a mark of civilized living and lifted the chore of providing meals for a family from drudgery to art.

Those arts will be challenged this year for contest entrants, who will be asked to bring their own kettles and ingredients, as well as the preferred fuel for cooking with them, organizers said.

Area residents curious about Dutch oven cooking are encouraged to arrive early and claim their seat.

For more information about the first ever Dutch Oven Dessert Bake-Off, including entry information, contact Harry McKee at 417-257-4104 or e-mail the West Plains Council on the Arts at info@westplainsarts.org



Historic bus ride part of Old-Time Music, Ozark Heritage Festival

Dorotha Reavis, Historian

Dorotha Reavis, Historian

A bus ride through West Plains’ historic past will be offered for the first time this year during the Old-Time Music, Ozark Heritage Festival June 15 and 16 in downtownWest Plains,Mo.

The rides will take visitors on a winding tour of the city’s historic downtown area, beginning at the corner ofEast Mainand St. Louis Streets and ending at the Howell County Courthouse, where riders will be encouraged to stop and view the Howell County History Project murals, as well as shop with local merchants before returning to festival activities.  Local historian Dorotha Reavis will offer commentary and answer questions during the rides.  Rides will be offered every 45 minutes beginning at 11 a.m. and ending at 3 p.m. both days.

Woolsey History Project Murals

Everyone is welcome to view the murals in the “Kids at Court” waiting and multipurpose room in the lower level of the courthouse.  The murals were created by retired teacher Edwin Woolsey and members of his third grade classes over a 12-year span.  Woolsey will be available from noon to 2 p.m. each day to discuss the murals with visitors.  He said he considers the mural project a community legacy and hopes many of his former students will drop by to see their completed works.

Photo prints of the murals will be available for purchase, as well, as a fundraiser for Court Appointed Special Advocates (CASA), and volunteers will be on hand to answer any questions about CASA or the print order process.  Woolsey said he is happy the sale of these prints can be an example of kids helping kids.



Old-Time Music, Ozark Heritage Festival to include harmonica demonstration

 It’s been called a French harp, a mouth harp, a blues harp and a mouth organ, but it’s proper name is harmonica, and it will be the featured instrument of a demonstration at 11 a.m. Saturday, June 16, at the Old-Time Music, Ozark Heritage Festival in downtownWest Plains,Mo.

Nearly everyone has wanted to play the harmonica at some time in their life, organizers said, and for those who are old enough, their wish began with what was once called a “horse opera.”  In those thrilling days of yesteryear, no bona-fide Western movie would be without its lonesome cowpoke, a nightrider, soothing the little doggies with a tune on his pocket harmonica.  It’s a vision etched into the head of every old “Gunsmoke” or John Wayne fan.

Those who are younger may have caught the yearning to play the blues harp when they listened to Bob Dylan or wondered what that whiney little bent note thing was that John Lennon was playing on “Love Me Do.”

Neither John Wayne, the lonesome cowpoke, Bob Dylan or the Beatles will be appearing at the festival, but the harmonica will during a gathering that will give festival goers a chance to celebrate, learn about and possibly learn how to play the diatonic, 10-note harmonica, organizers said.

The gathering will be hosted by Seth Schumate, anArkansasnative whose grandfather and great-grandmother played the instrument all their adult lives.  Schumate said he acquired the habit in the seventh grade – 15 years ago.  Since then he has practiced, studied the history of and played in the Arkansas-based bands Shout Lulu and Devil’s Promenade.

Schumate is a studio musician with a passion for the preservation of the instrument, organizers said, and he is excited at the prospect of “teaching others about how the harmonica might have sounded since it came to the United States more than 150 years ago.”

Free harmonicas will be provided to the first 40 participants in the gathering.  To learn more about Schumate, search YouTube for “Old Time Harmonica.”

When he’s not making music, Schumate is a senior scientist at Silicon Solar Solutions, an Arkansas-based solar cell startup company.


THIS IS NOT the face Seth Shumate makes when listening to novice harmonica players practice. It’s what he does to limber up his face before playing. Or that’s what he said. (Photo Provided by Shumate)






Old-Time Music, Ozark Heritage Festival to again feature quilt show

Some of the most beautiful and practical items of Ozark life will once again be on display during the 18th annual Old-Time Music, Ozark Heritage Festival June 15 and 16 in downtown West Plains, Mo.

The Southern Belle Grandmothers Club of West Plains will host their 8th annual quilt show in conjunction with the festival, and organizers encourage area residents and quilt enthusiasts to bring their favorite quilts to display.  The show, sponsored by Gammill Quilting Systems, will take place in the Magnolia Room of the West Plains Civic Center, 110 St. Louis St., one of the venues for the two-day festival.  Admission to all festival events is free.

The quilt show was first held in 2005 in the historicButlerBuildingonWashington Avenueand joined the festival in 2006 as an annual featured exhibit.  It showcases all types of quilts, individually made, group quilted, hand-pieced, hand-quilted, machine-pieced or quilted, or any combination.  Those visiting the show are given stickers to vote for their selection for the People’s Choice Award announced at the end of the exhibit.

Those wishing to display a quilt should drop it off during set-up the evening of June 14 or early morning June 15.  All participants are asked to pin a note on their quilts that tells the story of its maker, use or other history of the piece.  “Every quilt has a story, and sharing that is part of the festival mission,” organizers said.

Southern Belle Grandmothers Club Chapter No. 1011 is a member of the National Federation of Grandmothers Clubs of America, a non-profit organization that supports charitable projects relating to cures for children’s cancer.  The local chapter supports Ronald McDonald Houses of Missouri and St. Jude Children’s Hospital inMemphis,Tenn., as well as addresses local needs of children’s groups.

As part of their fundraising efforts, club members offer a handmade quilt each year.  This year’s “Green Delight” quilt was machine embroidered by Wanda Hunter and will be exhibited at the festival.  It will be given away in October.  Registration information for the giveaway will be available at the festival, organizers said.

Help setting up the exhibit is always appreciated, organizers said.  Those wishing to lend a hand should contact Barbara Butler at 417-256-6184 or Cheryl Kuschel at 417-257-1067.


DSC_0083 (2)




             The Ozark Mountain Long Rifles club will once again set up a Rendezvous area on the grounds of the Old Time Music, Ozark Heritage Festival June 15 and 16.  This living history exhibit will take place on the west lawn of theWestPlainsCivicCenter.

             All activities in this area are period-related, and include shelter, clothing, food preparation, and sleeping quarters.  Blacksmiths demonstrate their art, and participants are happy to host discussion and instruction on dozens of ancestral and traditional primitive skills.  Stop and see the many established lodges with their assorted supplies and “necessaries”, and speak with the residents of this decidedly different “neighborhood”.

The Ozark Mountain Long Rifles is a club whose purpose is to promote the sport of black powder shooting and preserve the lifestyle, arts and skills of people living in pre-1840 America, primarily the fur trade segment of the American frontier.  In keeping with its purpose, the club works to expand the sport of muzzle loading shooting by providing organized shoots and camps.  They promote the safety of the general public as well as the club members, and encourage the shooting of muzzleloaders.   The club has a monthly Saturday shoot in January, and March through September, with a three-day Rendezvous the 2nd week-end of February, the 1st week-end of May and the 4th week-end of October.  For more information, contact John Bill Murrell 417-256-3238, or by email johnwmurrell@centurytel.net





Children's Area“Simple Pleasures From the Past – children’s activities with Beth Belt, sponsored by the West Plains Public Library.

Children of all ages are welcome to stop by for some good ol’ fashioned fun!   Come participate in a game of “Drop the Handkerchief” or run in a sack race!  Other games include shooting marbles, hopscotch, checkers and chess.  Children can also make a button spinner, a potpourri sachet, or a spool tractor to take home.  Spend some time enjoying the simple pleasures of the past!

Activities will take place on the grassy area next to Grisham Properties on East Main, across from theFirstBaptistChurchnorth campus building (old library site).  Come play with us from 3PM to 7PM Friday or Saturday!















      Traditional square dancing has been an integral component of the Old-Time Music, Ozark Heritage Festival since the first event in 1995.  Fiddler Bob Holt and caller Edna Mae Davis of Ava introduced us to this art form that year, and their influence continues to be felt.  Square dancing has been an important vehicle for both artistic expression and social recreation in this region since the arrival of the first white settlers.  It is closely associated with traditions of fiddling and string band music, as well as traditions of solo dancing such as jig dancing.

Square dancers in the Ava (DouglasCounty),Missouri area maintain a distinctive tradition of square dance characterized by brisk tempos, the incorporation of solo jig dancing into square dances during transitional segments, and the participation of the callers as dancers.  Traditional square dancing still takes place at least occasionally in some locations within the Ozarks.  Additionally, Western square dancing, a pan-regional, popular-culture version of the art form that is related to traditional square dancing but does not have long-established local roots, has become popular among some Ozarks residents in recent decades.

The square dancing featured at the Old-Time Music, Ozark Heritage Festival is predominantly traditional square dancing.  Dances take place in theCivicCenterexhibit hall from 7 to 10 PM on both Friday and Saturday evenings during the festival.  Square dancers from Douglas County, Missouri, and from thePotosi,Missouriarea frequently participate in the dancing in leadership roles, but everyone is welcome.  Experienced string band musicians from south-central and southwestMissouriwho are thoroughly familiar with regional square dance traditions, led by guitarist Alvie Dooms of Ava, and fiddler David Scrivner of Mansfield, provide live musical accompaniment for the dancing.Square Dance Musicians













“Belle of Bisbee” MelodramaMelodrama


“Belle of Bisbee,” an old-fashioned melodrama, written by Tim Kelly and produced by special arrangement with Pioneer Drama Service, Inc., Denver, Colorado, will be performed at the Avenue Theatre, 307 Washington Avenue, on June 16 at 2 p.m. Admission is free, and the doors will open at 1:00 for anyone who would like to arrive early and have a look around the historic theatre, which originally opened in 1950 as a movie house. It closed in the 1980s, and re-opened as anot-for-profit community performing arts center in 1990.

Melodramas have long been a popular form of theatrical entertainment, and from the mid-1850s to the early part of the twentieth century they dominated the American stage. Following the standard melodramatic formula of virtue, villains and heroes,“Belle of Bisbee” tells the story of the title character, who is a poor schoolmarm about to lose her home. The hero, Tom Good, plans to win the rock-drilling contest and rescue Belle. The prize is thirty dollars and a washtub of guacamole. But Belle is avoiding marriage because she harbors a dark secret. Several people plan to bid on the property: Anastasia, richest woman in Bisbee (if forty bucks is rich); Amelia, the acrobat; and a depraved human skunk, Pinkham Mudstone III who knows that under the topsoil of Belle’s homestead there’s a rich deposit of copper carbonate. It’s up to Tom to save Bisbee and win the schoolmarm.

Under the direction of Terry Hampton, the cast of characters, all West Plains residents, includes: Aja Oliver as Belle Wallaby, Brett Osborne as Pinkham Mudstone III, David Webb as Tom Good, Grayson Gordon as Smelter Joe, Marva Kelly as FloraPotts, Kileene Collins as Tessie, Angelika Hughes as Anastasia Weedgarden, Terry Hampton as Amelia Dunk, Charles Freeman as Judge Quail, Abigail Ellsworth as Ida Mae, and Charlotte Ellsworth as Tallulah. Ken Thies will serve as the master of ceremonies and additional cast members will be added as citizens of Bisbee who sing songs associated with the early days of melodrama.

For more information about the Avenue Theatre, visit theavenuetheatre.com or “The Avenue Theatre” on Facebook.

Verified by MonsterInsights