As Honky Tonk Express broke into the country music classic ‘It Wasn’t God Who Made Honky Tonk Angels’ every toe in the Knights of Columbus Hall off of East Potter Avenue was tapping Saturday.
The problem for organizers of the first ever Country Bluegrass Celebration for the Haynes House of Hope was that was not that many toes.
Less than 50 paying guests gathered inside the K of C Hall to listen to music from many spectrums of country music from the relatively new Dwight Yoakam song ‘The heart that you own’ to old time Roots Rock ‘Your cheatin’ heat’ or Bluegrass from ‘I saw the light’ to ‘Good old Mountain Dew.’
Despite the dour mood of the rainy and cold weather outside, the mood inside the hall was decidedly upbeat as patrons clapped along, stomped their feet and occasionally sung along to traditional music that in some cases had been around long enough for any great grand parents in attendance to have learned it as children.
It was clear from the reaction as each song ended the fans got what they came from; each song received a rousing round of applause from volunteers, patrons and arriving band members.
However, the event was a fundraiser.
Haynes House organizers said they plan to meet some time after the show to determine what they plan to do next. Have it again and keep it the same? If anything gets changed, what?
“Considering the economy and the weather I’d say it looks successful,” organizer Mary Kellogg said. “Everyone here is having a ball and I know the bands are having a ball too,” she said.
Going forward, word of mouth could do a lot of make the next outing a bigger success financially.
As a first time try at a new event Kellogg said she could not hang the relatively low attendance on any one factor, as some in the crowd had come from Stillwater to attend the show and five bands and many others readily volunteered their services to help out.
Volunteers from the Granville Engine and Hose Co. No. 1 prepared the chicken barbeque for the festivities.
“We’re thrilled to help these guys out,” he said.
Drummer, and real estate seller Bob Tressler, said his band was delighted to participate when invited to the event by Pastor Bob Flower after he saw ‘Airtight’ perform in Whitehall at their concert series. “We told him we’d just love to do this for the Haynes House,” Tressler said.
Kellogg, at least, seemed to be looking forward to another year. “This kind of music seems to please a whole new cross section of people; I think it’s a good beginning,” she said.
The Country Bluegrass Celebration takes the place of the annual summer concert which has been held in early August at the Modern Woodmen Carnival grounds. Organizers said they felt the summertime festival might have suffered with attendance issues due to busy summer schedules of those who might otherwise sit down and listen to some music on a Saturday afternoon.