Thanks to all who attended. A special thanks to Susan and Greg for all of their work making the event possible.
On a side note, I talked to Greg after the event. He started a vitally important conversation about interpretation of the banjo. I think that this is a topic that needs more discussion. As we enter year two of the sesquicentennial, we should consider a deeper conversation and even the possibility of developing a statement of purpose regarding banjo interpretation withing a historical setting.
My question, is anyone interested? As a public historian, I would love to see some standards applied to the banjo in the same way that we have set standards for interpretation of material culture and military drill. If anyone is interested, let's start a thread to keep the conversation alive.
I've been wrestling with the same devils (and angels) since I started performing "period" music at museums and historic sites in about 1981. After searching for answers to these hard questions for 30 years I have to admit I haven't found many, but I'm willing to keep looking. Maybe it's the quest that's important. Let's talk.
I think the discussion is very valuable. It helps to hear what others are doing to explain the music of this time period to their audiences. We need to somehow get the 19th century mindset into the minds of the 21st century audience in order for them to better understand what music meant to the people of our era. It has to be done with care, but with an historical accuracy that is honest and forthright.
I also would like to thank George, Susan and "Cool Hand" Greg for a wonderful weekend. Can't wait until next year!!
Your comments are well taken Dan'l.
Just to clarify, I do not want to get into the nitty-gritty of what type of banjo to play or how performances should go. Instead I want to help both the living historian and the historic sites to understand the issues involved in banjo (and music in general) presentations so far as social context and audience sensibilities go.
Greg and I spoke yesterday and his idea is less of a standard and more of a set of guidelines and questions that each performer and site could review so that the final decision they make is the best choice for that site, audience and performer. If we can pose the right questions and suggest best practices then we can accomplish a worthy goal without becoming an onerous, stitch counting burden.
I hope this clarifies thing a bit.