May 20, 1948 – November 20, 2016 Remembering “Al” Batten

Remembering Alton Tharse “Al” Batten (May 20, 1948 – November 20, 2016) was a founding member of the bluegrass band, Al Batten and the Bluegrass Reunion. For over forty years, the band toured much of the eastern United States and visited Ireland twice to perform for the International Bluegrass and Folk Festival in Omagh. They have received awards from the Eastern NC Bluegrass Association and the Piedmont Council of Traditional Music, also known as Pinecone. Playing traditional bluegrass music, encouraging younger musicians, and forming friendships through his music were among his greatest joys.
Al was a graduate of North Johnston High School and North Carolina State University. He was a member and served as a deacon of Bethany Missionary Baptist Church. Al was a retired farmer, a beloved vocational agriculture teacher and FFA advisor at North Johnston High School, and a charter member of the Bethany Volunteer Fire Department. Al loved the outdoors and hunting, and was recognized by Winchester Ammunition as the Winchester Quail Unlimited Volunteer of the Year in 2007.

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