Hand Picked will kick off Fiddle Fest 2019 at 7 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 26, at the Effingham Performance Center.

The concert is part of a weekend celebration sponsored by the Illinois Old Time Fiddlers Association. Motherlode will perform at 8 p.m. and Firebox rounds out the concert at 9 p.m. Admission is $6 and Pauly’s BBQ food truck will be on hand.

Hand Picked includes Caili Perstrope from Barnhart (bass and vocals), Jake Morgan from Waterloo (banjo), Emily Causey from New Athens (mandolin and vocals), Audrey Neel from Hillsboro, Missouri (fiddle and vocals), and Rosemary Hall (guitar).

Hand Picked, a high-energy youth band, plays traditional but also puts their own touch on bluegrass music. “Handpicked” by their instructor, Chris Talley (owner of Bluegrass Shack, New Athens, Illinois), they were selected to compete in the 2017 and 2018 Youth in Bluegrass Contest in Silver Dollar City, Branson, Missouri.

Motherlode has been together for 30 years, with Althea Pendergast (Charleston) on bass fiddle and lead vocals, Wendy Meyer (Green Creek) on guitar and vocals, and Gaye Harrison (Charleston) on fiddle and mandolin. They perform a wide range of music including old-time fiddle tunes, folk, country, blues, pop and rock. They will play several fiddle tunes from the Dear Old Illinois Collection, representing Illinois in the Library of Congress.

Founded in 2008, Firebox specializes in the traditional bluegrass sound, styled after the bands of the late 1940s, 1950s and 1960s. Based out of Central Illinois, Firebox is currently performing in the local and regional area to introduce bluegrass to a new generation and preserve this sound that is slowly being lost to more modern genres.

The band prides itself in the professional attitude it takes toward the music and performance, wearing suits and ties just as they would have done in Bill Monroe’s Bluegrass Boys. Each show has a variety of songs to showcase each member’s talents. Exciting solos, 3 and 4-part harmonies, and a little bit of bluegrass history make for an entertaining and enjoyable performance. The members of Firebox include Nick Poe, Tyson Tolliver, Caleb Gerber, Bill Sanguinetti and Doug Mcdevitt.

The weekend concludes with the Illinois State Fiddle Contest on Sunday, Oct. 27, starting at 1 p.m. Fiddlers can register at the Effingham Performance Center starting at 10 a.m. on Sunday. For more information, www.IllinoisOldTimeFiddlersAssoc.org

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