Meghan Frick, News-Topic

LENOIR — Old-time music has always trickled through the mountains, settling in puddles of song in valleys, foothills and on front porches.

It’s the goal of the Junior Appalachian Musicians program to keep the music going in communities heavily touched by those songs, including Caldwell County. Each summer, the program provides low-cost music lessons for kids in third through eighth grades.

In Caldwell, kids can take lessons in guitar, fiddle, mandolin and banjo. The program also includes enrichment visits from all kinds of artists, including storytellers, songwriters and dancers.

And this year, for the first time, kids who participate will also get the opportunity to bring their talent to the big-time at the Happy Valley Fiddlers Convention, an annual music festival dedicated to preserving the songs and culture of the Yadkin River Valley. Music festivals and conventions have previously reserved a stage specifically for JAM kids, but this year participants will get a chance to perform a song on the main stage at the Fiddlers Convention.

It’s all a way to keep kids connected with the traditions of the area, said Adrienne Dula, who coordinates Caldwell JAM through the Caldwell Arts Council. [more]