Blue Ridge Music Center and Galax VA

This post is delayed because one of the charming truths about my cabin in Galax is that WIFI was almost entirely non existent.  My time in Galax was considerably more relaxed than previous days simply because long stretches of intense driving were not required, and because I had a kitchenette I didn’t have to eat out all the time.  I spent my days in Galax exploring the musically significant city, attending concerts and resting.  I didn’t set any alarm clocks and took a nap each afternoon. Considering the intense study that will take place in the next two weeks, I feel as though it was time well spent.

On my first morning in Galax, VA I hiked from the state park trail (right next to my cabin door) to downtown Galax.  Along the way I discovered a series of creatively painted double basses and some beautiful produce at the farmers market downtown.


After lunch I ventured onto the Blue Ridge Parkway for the first time in order to visit the Blue Ridge Music Center.

While there I enjoyed their midday music series and got to listen to a Friday “jam”.  Musicians are invited to bring their instruments and to play along with the core group of players. The “jam” is very casual, but VERY good and a great place for younger, less experienced players to practice in an ensemble setting. I was delighted to discover that 75% of the participants in this circle are NOT regulars, they are just folks who like to join in and participate in “jam” opportunities. Many of the communities around this area have weekly jams. It is possible to attend one just about any day of the week if you don’t mind driving a bit.



The museum has lots of interesting artifacts and was worth the visit. As I read through the display I was reminded of how important the role of family is in the preservation of tradition. One reason why we know as much as we do about the musical traditions in the Blue Ridge Mountain region is because there were families in the area who by singing their songs together as a family were able to preserve entire folk traditions.

So, what is the oldest song you know?  Have you taught it to your children?  Do you sing with your children?  If you have an elderly relative, what songs might they remember? If you want to know that part of your family heritage, ask them now while you have the opportunity!  🙂