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By: W.A. Davis, St. Mary’s Arts Council
Our Monday Spotlight is shining brightly on Jay Armsworthy!
It was a wonderful walk down Memory Lane on Mother’s Day weekend! Did you catch the much anticipated Bluegrass Concert fundraiser on May 9th? We bet you were singing along to many a favorite tune if you did! Video footage of concerts past, various versions of “This Little Light of Mine”, and live performances were all highlights of the afternoon as our we kept our toes-a-tappin’ and enjoyed the show, virtually of course!
Promoter and musician Jay Armsworthy has worn many hats over the years when organizing this annual musical event to benefit the Hollywood Volunteer Rescue Squad. Bands are booked, tickets are sold, food and beverage vendors secured, and so many other smaller and larger details are worked out quite far in advance. Very quickly, however, the gears of everything already in motion came to a screeching halt as the harsh realities of a pandemic set in. Plans for what is usually quite a sizeable event at the St. Mary’s County Fairgrounds, also raising sizeable donations for our local volunteer emergency service providers, were abruptly stopped in their tracks. But only for a moment.
Rather than seeing this challenge as a setback, Jay seized an opportunity to go live on Facebook and bring over 15 bands from far and wide straight to the homes and hearts of many bluegrass fans and followers. Going on a six- weeks-plus absence of community gatherings, the audience was quite hungry for live music and a taste of “normalcy”, all of which Jay delivered quite well given the unusual circumstances.
With a compilation of recordings taken from live performances from events past and meticulously streamlined by Jay into a single compilation, a total of $1,244 was raised through the generosity of online donors during the almost four-hour event. The evening was culminated by a mini-concert featuring Jay, his cousin Woody Norris, and Troy Jones, all strategically socially distanced playing tunes and taking requests at Jay’s front yard. We felt like we were truly there! We were especially touched as Jay related during the show how he had tears in his eyes from the outpouring of support by the listeners for this worthy cause.
Links to some of the performances will be posted to Facebook (Jay Armsworthy – personal page w/ links set to public). If you would like to make a donation to the Hollywood Volunteer Rescue Squad please visit: www.hvrs.org (a “donate” button is on the bottom left of the home page) or a check may by sent by mail to: Hollywood Volunteer Rescue Squad, PO Box 79, Hollywood, MD, 20636.
To learn more about upcoming Southern Maryland bluegrass events visit: www.americanlegionbluegrass.com. Also join Jay for his “Bluegrass on the Bay” radio show at: https://thebluegrassjamboree.com/show/bluegrass_bay/
Shine on Jay, thank you and the many supporters of the bluegrass concert for being a “Little Light” in a big way for the Hollywood Volunteer Rescue Squad and our community!