Owensboro, KY -- James Reams, of James Reams & The Barnstormers, was in Owensboro, KY this week for a presentation to the International Bluegrass Music Museum (IBMM). A plaque honoring his partner, Tina Aridas (who passed away in 2011), will be displayed in the museum’s library. Director of the museum, Gabrielle Gray, commented that Tina was instrumental in getting the library established at the museum by donating a substantial number of books to get it started. James also made a donation to the museum in Tina’s name and contributed a volume to add to the collection, a limited edition of America’s Music: Bluegrass.
The IBMM is doing so much to promote bluegrass. Since 2003, they have been running the Bluegrass in the Schools (BITS) program that introduces over 8,000 elementary students at 24 schools to the world of bluegrass music. And, several hundred residents of all ages participate in the Saturday Lessons Program that provides a free instrument loan and modestly priced lessons from professional bluegrass instructors. These are truly remarkable and successful programs that bring together young and old, helping to foster a love of this music and the desire to keep it going.
And Owensboro is a growing community with new development along the river front including playgrounds, brick sidewalks, world-class hotels and restaurants. While Gabrielle and James chowed down on some melt-in-your-mouth BBQ mutton (an Owensboro specialty) from Moonlite Bar-B-Q Inn, she told him that the museum has gotten so big that they are looking at relocating to a larger facility.
With more room to preserve precious archives and memorabilia, better equipped music rooms for the Lessons Program, a larger research library, one can only hope that the IBMA will consider hosting its annual convention there once again. A matching grant challenge from the KY Arts Partnerships could make this possible and you can help. Just go to the IBMM website to donate.