Junior Appalachian Musicians, Inc., the headquarters office for 50+ after school JAM programs, has partnered with Blue Ridge PBS to release a 90-minute documentary, Bridging the Gap: a Journey through Appalachian Music, that will premiere on Roanoke’s Blue Ridge PBS (Channel 15) Saturday evening, May 7 at 9:00 p.m. EST. The documentary will also be available on demand via their ECHO streaming channel online any time after the premiere. ECHO is a streaming first digital channel that broadcasts out of Roanoke on channel 15.5 and can be watched globally at http://www.blueridgepbs.org/echo
The film features JAM Program Director Jim Lloyd who takes us on a musical journey that traces the history of Appalachian music through live performances by an all-star cast. Short segments of stories and demonstrations highlight the significant changes impacting what we consider “Appalachian”, “old time”, or “bluegrass” music and dance today. In addition to Lloyd of Rural Retreat, VA and JAM, Inc. Executive Director, Brett Morris of Galax, VA, the cast included Jim Costa of Hinton, WV, Heather Berry Mabe and Tony Mabe, both of Walnut Cove, NC, Ralph McGee and Rex McGee, both of King, NC, Andrea Smith of Stuart, VA, and Carl Johnson of Shelbyville, TN. The project was filmed by legendary filmmaker Herb E. Smith of Whitesburg, KY.
The show was originally planned to be an interactive concert at a regional event for JAM kids throughout the program’s 4-state region in May 2020 sponsored by the Blue Ridge National Heritage Area and the North Carolina Arts Council. “We had to use our imaginations and go forward the best way possible,” commented JAM Executive Director, Brett Morris. “We hope that this will be a lasting resource for years to come for JAM kids, although we’re sad that none of them got to see it in person.” Special thanks go to the Yadkin Cultural Arts Center in Yadkinville, NC for their facility.