FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: June 26, 2013
For More Information: Dustin Crutchfield
Public Relations Department
Glenville State College
GLENVILLE, WV – West Virginia’s champion old-time fiddle players competed for top honors on Saturday, May 25th during the 37th annual Vandalia Gathering held in Charleston, West Virginia. Among those contenders was Glenville State College student Robbie Mann who took fifth place in the event’s prestigious Old-Time Fiddle Competition.
“I just pick up my fiddle and do what I enjoy doing. However, it is an honor to receive such an award,” said Mann.
Mann is from Berkeley Springs (Morgan County), West Virginia and began studying classical violin at the Shenandoah University for the Arts at age six. While classical violin was and still is something he enjoys, his life as a musician completely turned around after he began learning old-time folk songs. At the age of 13, Mann changed his focus from classical studies to Appalachian folk music under the tutelage of master fiddler Joe Hermann. In three shorts years, according to Hermann, he had no new musical challenges for Mann to overcome.
When he turned 16, Mann was introduced to Buddy Griffin who, at the time, was directing GSC’s Bluegrass Program. Mann auditioned for the GSC Bluegrass Band and made plans to enroll in the four-year Bluegrass Music degree program. He will begin his third year at Glenville State College during the upcoming fall 2013 semester.
“I’ve wanted to be a professional musician since I was a little kid. Since joining the GSC Bluegrass Band, I’ve learned a lot about the music industry, and have been given the tools necessary to begin turning my life-long dream into a reality,” said Mann.
“I am very proud of Robbie for placing so high in the Vandalia Gathering Fiddle Competition. Being that he strives to keep the music traditional, I feel he deserves to be recognized,” said current GSC Bluegrass Program Director Megan Darby.
While he is most practiced in the old-time fiddle style, he also enjoys other genres including bluegrass, rock, and classical. He also enjoys playing other instruments including the mandolin, guitar, and bass. Mann plans to continue performing and venture into writing and recording. He also likes to teach others about old-time music to keep the tradition of folk music alive.
“I feel that folk music has played an extremely important role in the development of American culture. It reminds us to be proud of our ancestors and our heritage. If we let the tradition die, we will lose a lot more than a genre of music,” Mann says.
For more information about the GSC Bluegrass Program, contact Darby at Megan.Darby@glenville.edu or (304) 462-6347.