Minstrel Banjo

For enthusiasts of early banjo

Joel Sweeney & The Banjo- from Africa to Appomattox: A Celebration of Convergence

Event Details

Joel Sweeney & The Banjo- from Africa to Appomattox: A Celebration of Convergence

Time: May 10, 2013 to May 11, 2013
Location: Appomattox Court House NHP
City/Town: Appomattox, VA
Website or Map: http://www.appomattox1865foun…
Phone: 434-352-8987 ext. 236
Event Type: instructional, gathering/, public, program/, fundraiser
Organized By: Appomattox Court House NHP, the Appomattox 1865 Foundation, the North Carolina School of Traditional Music
Latest Activity: May 8, 2013

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Event Description

This event is actually a combination of 2 events.

The first actually starts on Friday May 10, 2013 with  "The Joel Walker Sweeney Early Banjo Convergence."

This early banjo instructional gathering will include: instruction in & lectures on Early American Banjo Style, historical tours of Sweeney buildings and artifacts, a visit with banjo makers and collectors, jamming, 19th century dance & a rare opportunity for possible period camping at Appomattox Court House NHP- the birthplace of Joel Sweeney!

For registration for this portion of the event, contact Mark Weems at: markweems@frontier.com

The 2nd event- the "Joel Sweeney & the Banjo: from Africa to Appomattox" kicks off Friday evening at the National Park's Visitor Center with a free screening of Marc Fields' production "Give Me the Banjo!" Music will be played, refreshments will be served & donations will be accepted.

Saturday May 11, 2013 the "Joel Sweeney & the Banjo: From Africa to Appomattox" continues.  This event will be at Appomattox Court House NHP & will be open to the general public (with general park admission $3-5.)  Planned daytime activities include:

*a gubernatorial proclamation honoring Joel Sweeney's contribution to the history of the banjo,

*banjo programming (offering a veritable cornucopia of oppurtunities for instructional gathering attendees to play period banjo on the stomping grounds of Joel & the rest of the Sweeney family)

*banjo makers showing their craft & wares

*tours of Sweeney family sites

*exhibits of Sweeney related artifacts

*interpretive talks on the history of the banjo

All daytime events will be  free to the public (after the general park admission.)


The day will culminate in an evening concert to feature performances conveying the evolution of the banjo. Again this concert will be held at Appomattox Court House! Within earshot of the birthplace of Joel & the rest of the Sweeneys.

The concert will be a ticketed fundraiser to assist Appomattox Court House NHP in restoring Sweeney family structures in the National Park & creating an interpretive trail linking Sweeney related sites.

If you are interested in being a part of this program, please contact: david_wooldridge@nps.gov.


Comment Wall

Comment by John Masciale on October 1, 2012 at 5:27pm

I wish I lived closer.  This looks fabulous.

Comment by Nicholas A Bechtel on October 2, 2012 at 1:45pm

Gosh Darn it!!! Everything Cool related to this music and the instrument of choice is back there. Oh I miss Atlanta sometimes, just wish I was back in my old neck of the woods. That's why I am saving up for the EABG 2013.

Have a good one people, looks very interesting.

Comment by James Hartel on October 2, 2012 at 3:41pm

What David fails to mention is his recent article published in "Lynch's Ferry /A Journal of Local History. " Fall/Winter 2012.  This generous article entitled, "The Sweeneys are indeed a wonder!!" : The Banjo from Africa to Appomattox," pretty much sums up all the known facts and legends about the Sweeneys and the banjo.  David's writing is well thought-out and intimately informed by his own family history - his ancestors close connections to the Sweeney family in Appomattox.  

Comment by Tim Twiss on February 1, 2013 at 7:05am

I wish I were going. It is close to AEBG....and  too far to drive twice from Michigan.

Comment by James Hartel on April 16, 2013 at 9:14am

I posted the full poster and two-day scheduled sent to me by David Wooldridge.  Real nice organizing and advertizing  by David.
To see it go to:



Comment by Rob Morrison on April 16, 2013 at 11:26am

James--Thanks for the schedule.  I've been having a hard time figuring out what happens when and where and this is a big help.--Rob


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