Hello to everyone in the world wide web of JAM! It’s that exciting time of year again when students across Virginia, North Carolina and South Carolina are counting down the days ‘til summer vacation and all of the youth music programs are gearing up for performances and end of the year celebrations.

Our newest affiliates in Virginia have been busy celebrating a successful spring and aren’t quite finished yet! WiseJAMS, a Crooked Road JAM program with sites in Coeburn and Big Stone Gap, Virginia, have several performances to look forward to this month. Students from the Coeburn program will be playing at The Crooked Road Youth Music Festival this coming Saturday, May 11, at Heartwood: Southwest Virginia’s Artisan Gateway. In Big Stone Gap, students are planning on performing two songs on the main stage as part of the Southwest Virginia Walk of Fame Ceremony at  Gathering in the Gap , a music festival held on May 24-25. They will also be having an end of the year celebration coming up Thursday, May 16 at 5 p.m. at the Southwest Virginia Museum Historical State Park. WiseJAMS’ Coeburn students celebrated the end of their semester on April 18 and performed for their local Kiwanis group in April, as well.

Elsewhere in Virginia and on the Virginia/Carolina line, Galax JAM and Alleghany JAM will both be hosting their end of the year concerts on Thursday, May 9. Alleghany JAM will begin at 5:15 in the Sparta School Community Auditorium. Galax JAM will likewise be performing for the public at the Historic Rex Theatre in Downtown Galax beginning at 6:30 p.m. Both concerts are free and open to the public, and will feature tunes that the students have learned this spring. Floyd JAMS will be hosting a similar concert a little later in the month on Monday, May 20 beginning at 4:30 at Floyd Elementary School. There will be a reception to follow for friends and family of the JAM students. Ashe County JAM, also on the Virginia/Carolina state line, held their end of the year concert Monday, May 6 at Westwood Elementary School. In other news, Alleghany JAM will also be featured on May 25 at the Blue Ridge Music Center’s Tradfest that features local old time and bluegrass youth musicians.

Meanwhile, in South Carolina, things are wrapping up for this spring, but only to get ready for summer! The POSAM (Preserving Our Southern Appalachian Music) organization, which is comprised of seven different YAM programs, is gearing up for their Traditional Arts and Music (TAM) campfor YAM students that will be held in Pickens, South Carolina from July 15-19. Director Betty McDaniel also hopes to soon announce twenty scholarship awards this year that can be used for upcoming YAM program or TAM YAM camp tuition.

JAM affiliated programs in North Carolina have been busy performing and planning activities for their kids, too. In Chatham County, the JAM program is preparing to host a big fundraiser and a summer day camp in June. On June 1, “ChamJAM” students, friends and family will kick up their heels at a  Barn Dance at the Silk Hope Farm Heritage Park to raise money for their week-long JAM day camp to be held June 24-28 also at the Farm Heritage Park in Silk Hope.

Caldwell County JAM is also excited to announce an upcoming opportunity for their students and other JAM programs as well. The  Happy Valley Fiddlers Convention , to be held August 30-September 1 in Lenoir, North Carolina, will feature a stage for JAM kids to come and showcase their talent in an open-mic fashion. The Caldwell JAM students will also be performing Saturday on the main stage! The program would also like to announce a JAM Camp planned for August 14-16. More details to follow!

Over in Western Carolina, the Haywood County Arts Council JAM is planning a summer camp, as well! This day camp will be held the week of July 8-12 at Haywood Community College. Also upcoming in Haywood County is their end of the year celebration on Tuesday, May 14 at Canton Middle School. This celebration will feature performers of a local bluegrass band and much more. Also in Western Carolina, the JAM programs of Swain County will be performing at the Mountain Discovery Charter School in Bryson City, NC on Thursday, May 16 beginning at 1:45.

Another great JAM fundraiser will be held this Friday, May 10, at Western Carolina University for the Jackson County JAM program. This evening concert will feature nationally-known musician David Holt and several other acts, including Jackson JAM kids! Down the road in Brevard, Transylvania JAM just finished up with a fundraiser on May 4 that featured several local bands and a silent auction. Transylvania JAM students will also be participating in a recital on Tuesday, May 14 at 7 p.m. at the Brevard Music Center. They will be sharing the bill with students from other music programs in the area.

Madison County JAM has planned a show and tell performance opportunity for their students the week of May 6-10, and is also excited to announce an upcoming JAM performance at the Bluff Mountain Festival on June 15. Likewise, Buncombe County JAM was happy to report blue ribbon winnings by their JAM kids in the instrument competitions at the Warren Wilson College Fiddles & Folklife Festival !

In other news, several JAM alumni proudly took the stage at HoustonFest in Galax, Virginia last weekend as scholarship winners from last year. Each year, this festival helps local youth musicians cover tuition feeds for workshops, camps and private lessons. Check out one of these videos featuring Jared Boyd (clawhammer banjo) and Daniel Greeson (fiddle) of the Galax/Blue Ridge Music Center JAM program, Danielle Yother (guitar) of Pickens YAM and Brandy Miller (bluegrass banjo) of Ashe County JAM.

This year’s winners are Jeffrey Roten (Alleghany JAM alum) and Emily Long (Ashe JAM alum). HoustonFest also awards scholarships to organizations, and this year’s recipients are Galax JAM and JAM, Inc. Each year, scholarship applications are due on April 15 and are awarded by the end of April, so don’t forget! Applicants must be from Virginia, North Carolina or Tennessee. Thanks so much to all of the hard working volunteers that put together this festival in memory of Houston Caldwell.

The Wayne C. Henderson Festival has also been awarding scholarships to youth musicians and organizations since 1995. Stay tuned for the winners after this year’s festival on June 15. Each year, those applications are due on March 15th.

We hope that everyone has enjoyed this update of what is going on around the Regional JAM region. Please keep us informed, as we love to boast the successes and advertise the events of every program.