First ‘Castleton Guitar Festival’ takes shape

The first annual “Castleton Guitar Festival,” featuring among other accomplished musicians iconic Appalachian guitar legend Wayne Henderson, will be held Saturday, April 21, at the Castleton Theatre House.

“We are thrilled to kick off our first-ever Castleton Guitar Festival. Ever since Pepe Romero performed on our stage I fell in love with the guitar,” says Castleton CEO and Artistic Director Dietlinde Turban Maazel.

Having played the guitar across Europe and Asia — including for former President Bill Clinton at the White House and for Queen Elizabeth II during her 2007 visit to Richmond — Henderson’s Bluegrass genre and distinct fingerpicking style have won him loyal fans around the world.

Famous Henderson devotees include Doc Watson, Eric Clapton, and Brad Paisley, who are also waiting in line to obtain one of Henderson’s handcrafted mandolins or guitars.

Courtesy photo
Folk guitarist and songwriter Helen White (left) will accompany legendary Bluegrass guitarist Wayne Henderson during the first annual Castleton Guitar Festival at the Castleton Theatre House.

Born in the White Top Mountain region of Rugby, Virginia, Henderson was exposed to traditional Appalachian music at a young age. With his father and uncle playing folk music in a regional string band, Henderson’s appreciation for folk music grew early, and he made his first guitar around age seven.

Today, hundreds of guitars, banjos, and mandolins later, Henderson still makes one instrument every two to three weeks. Inspired by close friends and neighbors Doc Watson and EC Ball, Henderson’s full musical repertoire includes Appalachian fiddle tunes, Carter Family melodies, and some swing and rockabilly standards. He has won more awards at the Galax Fiddlers Convention than any other competitor in its 80-year history.

Henderson will be accompanied at the festival by folk guitarist and songwriter Helen White, as well as blues master Tom Principato and jazz aficionado Steve Herberman.

A series of free master classes will precede the main 7 p.m. event from 2 to 5 p.m. Attendees are encouraged to bring guitars and join the musicians for free specialized classes: Henderson will host a class on Bluegrass guitar at 2 p.m., providing an opportunity to acquaint novice and experienced guitarists alike with the basics and advanced techniques associated with great Bluegrass guitar playing; Herberman will host a class on jazz guitar at 3 p.m., providing instruction on complicated concepts, chords, and scales in simple language for all newcomers; Principato will host a class on blues guitar at 4 p.m., providing insight into the music and industry. Castleton will provide the guitar amplifiers. The Master Classes will take place in the Theatre House.

“We are bringing together a talented and renowned selection of guitarists for our audiences to enjoy,” said Burnett Thompson, director of CiP. “We are sure audiences will be delighted at the variety of guitar performances and with our free guitar master classes.”

Tickets for the 7 p.m. concert are $35 for adults and $15 for students. The performance will be held in the Theatre House at Castleton, 663 Castleton View Road. Call 703.489.8704 for more information and visit www.CastletonFestival.org to purchase tickets.

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