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Banjo Backstory: Bob Thornburg to Talk Banjo History July 11

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Banjos - From Africa to the New WorldGalax, VA -- California-based instrument maker Bob Thornburg will give a FREE lecture and presentation about the construction of replica banjos and the intriguing history of the instrument on Saturday, July 11, at 6 p.m. at the Blue Ridge Music Center. The talk coincides with Thornburg’s exhibit, Banjos: From Africa to the New World, which features two dozen reproduction/replica banjos representing the instrument’s roots in Africa, the New World and its evolution in the pre-Civil War, Minstrel, and pre-factory eras. The exhibit closes Monday, July 13, so this is a great opportunity for visitors to learn more about Thornburg’s work and a beloved instrument in Appalachian music.

Thornburg is an expert instrument maker who has been making guitars and banjos for more than 30 years. He hand crafts each banjo, replicating the sound, look, and feel of the origins and eras. He also acknowledges the demands of modern musicians when making his replica and contemporary banjos, making sure they are easier to play and hear than the original instruments.

Also on July 11, Laurelyn Dossett & Friends and John Hofmann’s AcousticA also play the Music Center amphitheater starting at 7 p.m. For tickets, visit or purchase at The Blue Ridge Music Center, Galax Visitors Center, or Barr’s Fiddle Shop in Galax.

Banjo Lecture with Bob Thornburg
When: Saturday, July 11, 6 p.m.
Where: The Breezeway at the Blue Ridge Music Center, 700 Foothills Road, Galax, Virginia; Milepost 213 - Blue Ridge Parkway
Admission: FREE

The Blue Ridge Music Center is open daily from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. through October. It features the award-winning, interactive Roots of American Music exhibit, open daily from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., and Midday Mountain Music performances by local and regional musicians, daily from noon to 4 p.m. Both of these activities are FREE and open to the public.

The Blue Ridge Music Center is one of the major attractions along the Blue Ridge Parkway and includes a state-of-the-art performing arts facility built to preserve and promote the historic music of the Blue Ridge Mountains. The Blue Ridge region has produced more old-time and bluegrass musicians per capita than any other region and serves as the epicenter of many of America’s living music traditions. The Music Center is operated by the National Park Service, and programming is coordinated through a partnership with the Blue Ridge Parkway Foundation. The Blue Ridge Music Center is a major venue of The Crooked Road: Virginia's Heritage Music Trail and a partner venue of the Blue Ridge Music Trails of North Carolina.

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