Nestled on the shoreline of the Missouri River, the township of Boonville has a rich history. Its centerpiece is the Thespian Hall theater built 1855-1857.
When the Civil War erupted, the building served as a hospital and later a barracks for Federal Troops. Although the Hall had transfer of ownership on several occasions in the many years that followed and saw some hard times, the community ultimately organized to preserve it. It now resides in the National Register of Historic Places and serves as a venue for music festivals and theater productions.
The BRC founder`s band performs at Boonville`s annual Festival of Lights street fair each autumn, and this year our benefit gig was staged on the steps of this historic building which is the oldest active theater west of the Alleghenies. At tune-up time, the temperature was 90 degrees, but a cool breeze and shade from the church steeple across the street soon made the bandstand a welcoming platform. The townsfolk were appreciative of the Bluegrass music and generous in their donations to the Children`s Hospital. School girls danced on the nearby street corner, and young lads with skateboards across the street gave the band members a thumbs-up. It was a fun evening for the festival goers and musicians.
In 1804, the Lewis and Clark Expedition observed many natural saltwater springs in the Missouri Valley. The BRC founder and his bassist frequently bicycle along the shores of Big Muddy where the expedition trekked and camped. Moments after the below trailside photo was taken, a magnificent bald eagle swooped overhead in full flight bathed in morning sunlight.
The largest salt spring was `Boone`s Lick’ named after two of pioneer Daniel Boone`s sons , Nathan and Daniel, who partnered-up with two other entrepreneurs in 1805 to harvest commercial salt. A few remnants of their frontier work site remain on the grounds of what is now the Boonslick State Park. It is the site of a yearly autumn Folk Festival featuring local arts and crafts and traditional Missouri music. An enthusiast exhibits a spectacular Indian arrowhead collection, and storytelling Civil War reenactors have a booth of relics.
For many years, the festival`s jam session was cultivated by fiddler John White who recently passed away at age 80. He was a master fiddler who taught musicianship for 18 years at the Bethel Youth Fiddle Camp as well as being an instructor for the Missouri Traditional Arts Apprentice Program.
As pictured at the brew pub (left) where the BRC founder`s band performs on Sunday afternoons, John is seen graciously sitting-in on some tunes during one of our weekly jam sessions to benefit the Children`s Hospital. John was a generous teacher and a wonderful fiddler who will be missed by all.
Using his designer banjo peg heads as visual aids, the BRC founder regularly communicates with the parents of our young Board of Directors:
“Have a rosy day and a week filled with sunshine. With love, Grandpa Doc”
“At eventide, gaze into the heavens and enjoy each starry night this week remembering that Van Gogh rhymes with banjo.”
“Save the Planet today for tomorrow, and protect Mother Earth always.”
“Radiate Peace of mind today, and maybe the World will learn from you. Count and share your blessings this and every week. Pace, Grandpa Doc”
The BRC founder`s newly arrived eighth grandchild will join a sibling and cousins on our Board of Directors in the role of Director of Human Resources. His parents have been regular recipients of Banjograms.
For about a dozen years, the BRC founder’s band has performed every July at an annual street festival to benefit the Children`s Hospital. The local Harley Davidson dealership generously donates its expansive parking lot for these yearly festivities. Leather clad motorcyclists congregate on their great machines and listen to the Bluegrass pickers while kids and families frolick on the grounds. Sometimes, the thunderous engines of the two- wheelers momentarily extinguish the music.
About 300 kids attended the fest this year to enjoy the games, local sports celebrities, and entertainment. We were glad to be visited by one of our all-time favorite banjo fans as pictured below.
Sunny skies and mild temperatures made it a pleasant day for staff and families. Two of the BRC founder`s helpers from the University Hospital orthopedic department joined him for a photo during the gig.
On the left is Kelly who sings with the Gainor & Friends Band and the G&F Trio. On the right is Heidi who arranges for all of the band`s tips to be deposited with the Children`s Miracle Network. In the far left upper corner of the photo (wearing a black baseball cap) is a glimpse of Jeanne, the inexhaustible chairperson of the street fest and equally successful springtime Roast-a-Doc benefit gala.
This month, donations from Gainor & Friends to the Children`a Hospital surpassed the $20K mark since the band`s collections began in 1995. Congratulations to all you good folks.
Our community summer art show this year challenged the artists with the theme `Eclipse` to celebrate the complete solar eclipse anticipated on August 21st which will be fully visualized in the mid Missouri area. Both the BRC founder and his wife successfully entered works into the seasonal exhibit. At the gala opening reception, a “Solar Moon” banjo was hung by the main entrance, and patrons initially breezed by it.
In the next room, attendees showed more interest in a “Moonshot” painting by the BRC founder`s wife (standing far right).
As the evening went on, however, some guests were slowly drawn back to study the `mixed media` banjo. The reception hostess soon reported that a polite `fight` emerged when two potential customers simultaneously wanted to purchase the 5-stringer.
This unexpected conumdrum was mediated when the BRC founder offered the option that he had just finished a `Golden Eagle` banjo which was for sale in his workshop, and this alternative resolved the cordial contention to everyone`s satisfaction.