BIG STONE GAP, Va. - When it was announced back in June that a re-creation of the original Bristol Sessions would be recorded, there was a stellar line up of performers: Dolly Parton, Marty Stuart, Emmmylou Harris, Steve Martin and The Steep Canyon Rangers, plus many more.
It was also announced that there would be a spot for a local performer on the recordings as well. All that was needed was to submit some songs on Facebook and a group of professional singer-song writers would make their choice.
We were there when the Birthplace of Country Music surprised the winner who is one of the teachers at the Mountain Music School at Mountain Empire Community College.
The mid-day music concert at the Mountain Music School was interrupted Thursday for a very special announcement. Leah Ross with the Birthplace of Country Music took the stage to announce that the school's beginning banjo teacher would appear on the new recording, Orthoponic Joy, the 1927 Bristol Sessions Revisited.
This came after a national search, and the winner is Corbin Hayslett, a senior at the University of Virginia's College at Wise.
Ross couldn't be prouder. "We've seen Corbin sort of grow up with our festival because he's been playing in it for a few years. To see how he's matured and his talent, and to be rewarded with something like that means a lot to us," she said.
"I got my first banjo Christmas of 2003, I was nine years old and I kind of messed around a little bit on it. I remember Christmas Day, one of our neighbors came over and he played Bluegrass banjo and kind of showed me the beginning of "Cripple Creek." That was the first thing I could play," Hayslett says.
Corbin has come a long way since then, and that sense of sharing the music with others stuck with him because others had taken an interest in teaching him. "Teaching this kind of music really is a beautiful thing. It's really community central and community-based music and to share it you get to further it."
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