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State Historical Society of Iowa Press Release

For immediate release September 10, 2010

Contact: Jeff Morgan, Jeff.Morgan@iowa.gov, (515) 281-3858

WHTC celebrates banjos this month at annual Creative Gathering

(COUNCIL BLUFFS) – Banjos step into the spotlight this month at the Western Historic Trails Center’s annual Creative Gathering, a free event that encourages public participation.

The theme for this year’s Creative Gathering is “Bluffs Banjo Blast,” and the event kicks off 6:30-9 p.m. Friday, Sept. 17, 2010, with a “Jam & Bread” session for all musicians. The public is invited to join the open musical “jam” session and sample homemade bread and jam.

The event continues 1-4 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 18, 2010, with a variety of activities, including:

  • Banjos on display
  • Banjo circle
  • Banjo history
  • Show and tell
  • Instrument demonstrations
  • Tablature sharing and more
  • Free on-line “frailing” banjo lessons suitable for beginners
  • Free practice, or “woodshedding,” session for bluegrass and frailing banjo enthusiasts

“Frailing” is a rhythmic technique that is the heart and soul of old-time banjo music. The frailing strum is a down-picking technique in which the player strums the first four strings of the banjo with the back of the middle fingernail while playing the fifth string with the thumb.

WHTC is at 3434 Richard Downing Avenue, off of 24th Street (Exit 1B) south of Interstate 80 in Council Bluffs. More information is available at 712-366-4900.

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The State Historical Society of Iowa is a division of the Iowa Department of Cultural Affairs, and is a trustee of Iowa's historical legacy and an advocate for understanding Iowa's past. It identifies, records, collects, preserves, manages and provides access to Iowa's historical resources. Its dual mission of preservation and education serves Iowans of all ages, conducts and stimulates research, disseminates information, and encourages and supports historical preservation and education efforts of others throughout the state. Visit www.iowahistory.org or call 515-281-5111 for more information.

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