A HAPPENING, FANTASTIC, OUTSTANDING, WOW! LIKE A FAMILY REUNION, were typical of the comments received after Bones Fest IV. I was truly impressed with the quantity and quality of the bones players and playing at this Fest. Playing before a group of non-bones players is one thing, but playing before your peers is quite another. All participants were outstanding not to mention the food, drink and partying at the Wixson home and the motel in it's Irish Pub.
The wonderful reception given us on Friday night by Steve and Janet Wixson intheir lovely home overlooking Chattanooga was a real bones "click-off". The musical CD arranged by Steve that had something for everyone. It was great including the electronic bones. The pure sound of the bones will never be the same. Young rockers are sure to take up the bones now.
Since all of the 44+ participants did so well and space does not permit me to review everyone I will sin and highlight some of those that turned me on the most. I did not see all of the performances because of other activities so don't be offended if your name is not mentioned. Without a doubt everyone who attended contributed to the awesome success of this festival.
Al Cowett (Greensboro NC) our MC arranged the Saturday program on the spotand held it all together with lots of wit and charm. Dan Cowett (Greensboro NC) handled our CD's, tapes, and sound system. We thank them. (We also thank all of you who made videotapes of the event and sent copies to Steve. If you have not done so please send the tapes to Steve as soon as possible so that he can start putting a consolidated tape together which will be available to us all. This is a major task. It will surely be a collector's item.) Steve Wixson playing in public with both hands for the first time was a shocker. What a year of practice can do, and what about that number "Tiger Rag". D " Spike Bones" Muhrer (Columbia MO) will be remembered for his Riverboat performance and year 2000 light show with vegetarian bones. Jerry "Dr Bones" Barnett (West Des Moines IA) was great with cowboy songs, "The Old Chasm Trail" in particular and I liked Bill Vits (Grand Rapids MI) for what he did with Sweet Georgia Brown and a whistling audience participating. And don't forget Jim Runner's (Spring Mills PA) bones sounds, Russ Myers (Brightwood VA) "Hot Time in the Old Town" and Dave "Black Bart" Boles' wild performance playing to "Hilarity" rag time music.
Everyone was impressed by our octogenarians; Joe Birl (Phil PA) marches with Sousa, Matteo (NY NY) on castanets, Vivian Cox (Shelbyville IN) playing Rag time, and Ida May Schmich (St Louis MO) dancing and playing everything. If you want to stay young play the bones. The video of Jerry Mescher (Halbur IA) and his dad on the Ted Mack Amateur Hour in 1953 followed by his sister Bernie Worrell (Miami FL) and Jerry doing a duet, was historical, great fun and showed us what a little extra effort can do with the bones. John Cahill (Jonesboro GA) in his top hat doing several old-time numbers got everyones attention, fast and strong. Mel Mercier (Cork Ireland) with Irish pipes and flute, Bodhran and bones, Walt Watkins (Arlington TX) with Rag time, Tom Cowett (Richmond VA) Latin beat, Mike Ballard (San Diego CA) Celtic, Gil Hibben (La Grange KY) "Night in Barcelona", Sally Carroll and Steve Browns Celtic selections, John Cowett (Wilmington NC) Rag time-country, Ann Hoffmans (St Louis MO) Cajun Spice, John Davis who started the day off and David and Alice Kimbers (Skiatook OK) spiritual selections for bones were also memorable. The Cowett family, Ev, Al, Tom, Martha and John enjoyed playing to Dans "Bonesgrass" music arrangement. The biggest hit of the weekend appeared to be Barry "Bones" Patton (Winfield KS) from the "flat pickin" capital of the world doing what he does best. A great young boner, very clean, with speed left over. The most fun however was the spontaneous boning and jam sessions. Every one got into the act and with the help from several local musicians, namely Tom, Ruffus and Randy, making beautiful music and lots of noise. Martha Cowett, our web page mistress, was able to obtain resumes and pictures from many bones players for the Bones Players of Today section of Rhythmbones.com. Keep sending her resumes, pictures and updates and she will add them to the page as time permits. The Rhythm Bones Society met following the Saturday daytime program and reelected the entire slate of officers and board members to serve for another year. They are:
Everett Cowett, Executive Director 336-294-5332 firstname.lastname@example.org
Russ Myers, Assistant Director 540-543-2368
Steve Wixson, Secretary/Treasurer 423-886-1744 email@example.com
Steve Brown, Board Member 978-297-1104 firstname.lastname@example.org
Sally Carroll, Board Member 703-471-4290 email@example.com
Mel Mercier, Board Member 352-21-902271 firstname.lastname@example.org
Jerry Mescher, Board Member 712-658-2211 email@example.com
The membership selected Massachusetts for the next Rhythm Bones Festival with Steve Brown as host. The final site selection will be in the neighborhood of Boston and Worchester and is under review at this time. Steve can use all the help he can get. Please send him your suggestions. On Sunday morning many of us gathered at the Wixson home again for breakfast and to say our good-byes. Val and I stayed over to see more of the sights in and around Chattanooga. I hope that all of those attending Bones Fest IV got a chance to see at least some of the area. It was a great long wonderful weekend, one I will never forget. Ev Cowett