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2016 American Banjo Museum Hall of Fame Honorees Announced

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J.D. CroweOklahoma City, OK -- The American Banjo Museum in Oklahoma City is pleased to announce the 2016 inductees into the American Banjo Museum Hall of Fame. The National Four-String Banjo Hall of Fame was established in 1998 to honor jazz age four-string banjo pioneers as well as the contemporary artists, educators, manufacturers and promoters who carried on the traditions of their predecessors. The American Banjo Museum was, in its infancy, an extension of that Hall of Fame.

In the years preceding 2014, the Hall of Fame honored 71 individuals and entities in the four-string banjo world whose career accomplishments might have otherwise gone unrecognized. As the museum grew and evolved to embrace all types of banjos and playing styles, it became clear that the Hall of Fame should evolve as well. As such, in 2013, the ABM Board of Directors voted to establish an annual performance category to honor all styles of five-string banjo playing as well as opening the other previously four-string banjo exclusive nonperformance categories to all types of banjos. With this move the American Banjo Museum Hall of Fame was established.

Suggestions for nomination in the categories of Four-String Performance, Five-String Performance, Historical, Education & Instruction, Design & Manufacture and Promotion may be made by any member of the ABM association. Based on these suggestions, nominations are made by the Board of Directors and are then forwarded to the voting body - which consists of the museum board, living members of the Hall of Fame and lifetime members of the ABM association. Like past recipients, Hall of Fame honorees for 2015 have each displayed a lifelong commitment to the banjo in one of five categories. The American Banjo Museum Hall of Fame inductees for 2016 are:

  • J.D. CROWE - Five-String Performance - A second generation Bluegrass pioneer, Kentucky’s J.D. Crowe absorbed and interpolated the musical and cultural nuances of his predecessors such as Earl Scruggs to become the driving force behind the new voice of Bluegrass in the 1970s. Firmly rooted in Bluegrass traditions going back to his early days of performing with Jimmy Martin in the 1950s, Crowe went on to form the Kentucky Mountain Boys and, later, J.D. Crowe and the New South in the 1970s and - with the musical support of icons such as Ricky Scaggs, Keith Whitley, Tony Rice, Jerry Douglas and Doyle Lawson - went on to write his own chapter in Bluegrass history.
  • PAT TERRY, JR. - Four-String Performance - Carrying on the tradition of his father, Pat Terry, Jr. began his professional banjo career in the mid 1960s partnering with his dad as "Pat Terry and Son". The duo performed at Radio City Music Hall, Disneyland, Disney World, Sea World, Busch Gardens and Universal Studios. Pat Jr. was the editor and publisher of International Banjo magazine and hosted several large festivals (including the FIGA convention) in Orlando. He currently insures his family’s proud banjo heritage through his nightly performance as part of the Hoop Dee Doo Revue at the Walt Disney World Resort.
  • GEORGE FORMBY - Historical - From his humble beginning carrying on the traditions of his father as music hall performer in Blackpool, England, George Formby elevated himself to the highest level of recognition and respect in the British entertainment industry. A celebrity equal in world-wide popularity to Bing Crosby during the years of WWII, Formby - sporting his banjo ukulele, toothy grin and delightfully witty songs, lifted the spirits of war torn England as no other entertainer had. His legacy lives on through the thousand of modern banjo, banjo ukulele and ukulele players who emulate the Formby style which introduced countless thousands to the banjo during his lifetime.
  • DEERING BANJO COMPANY - Design & Manufacture - Greg Deering learned woodworking from his father and, at the age of 12, purchased his first banjo and learned to play the music of the Kingston Trio. Deering went on to make his first banjo as an industrial arts major at San Diego State College and, in 1970, joined other enterprising young college students at the American Dream Co-Op doing instrument repairs and building banjos. The American dream became the theme of Greg’s life when he and Janet started the Deering Banjo Company in 1975. Today, over 40 years later, the Deering Banjo Company has seen many a milestone including the launch of the Goodtime Series in 1997. In its 40 years of existence, Deering has delivered hand-built American instruments to over 100,000 musicians… one banjo at a time.
  • ALFRED GREATHOUSE - Instruction & Education - Although current technology affords the availability of many education and instruction options for today’s aspiring four-string banjoist, in the days prior to home video and the internet, the writing, printing and distribution of banjo instructional publications was a major undertaking. At a time when demand for such a publication was minimal, Alfred Greathouse researched, wrote and published a milestone plectrum banjo method entitled The Banjo Players Bible. By simply explaining and presenting proven concepts and techniques of the past, Greathouse compiled what banjo legend Perry Bechtel described as “the best plectrum banjo instruction book every published.”

J.D. Crowe, Pat Terry, Jr., George Formby, the Deering Banjo Company, and Alfred Greathouse will be inducted into the American Banjo Museum Hall of Fame during gala ceremonies to be held on Friday, September 9th, 2016 in Oklahoma City. The following day, informal performances as well as a very special BANJO IN CONCERT evening performance featuring Andy Eastwood, Mark Johnson & Emory Lester, Gary Davis, Pat Terry Jr., Randy Morris and many others will take place at the ABM as well as the Hudiburg Chevrolet Performing Arts Center at Rose State University.

During their visit, Hall of Fame weekend guests will enjoy recent additions to ABM exhibits including a new blockbuster exhibit, The Banjo World of Steve Martin which features instruments from Martin’s personal collection as well as entertaining video clips and an enlightening interview with the Wild and Crazy Guy himself.

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