Happy Birthday Wanda Barnett born, October 9, 1957 If, as Wanda Barnett, of Richmond, KY says, music is “a gift from God,” she’s a woman with many blessings. It was in 1982 that she joined The New Coon Creek Girls, a Kentucky band that she described as “an old time string band.” The group was a new incarnation of the original The Coon Creek Girls, founded in 1937 by Renfro Valley founder John Lair. Lair had also founded the new band, of which she was a member from 1982 to 1992, playing fiddle and guitar and doing vocals and tenor and harmony vocals. Once a year Wanda hosts a special event at Renfro Valley called “Fiddlin’ in the Valley” bringing together fiddlers of all ages. She gives private music lessons out of her Richmond home, teaching the violin and fiddle, children’s guitar the mandolin, and the ukulele with students ranging in age from five to 70 years of age. She has about 50 regular students and still has some openings for more. Wanda is an integral part of the Praise Team at her church and spends time on “in-home” ministry visits and still finds time to be in a western swing Hillbilly-Jazz group out of Lexington, Kentucky.
I enjoy researching Bluegrass, Bluegrass Gospel, and Country birthdays, anniversaries and interesting trivia dates. I am a piano/organ performance major who has taught privately and served as church accompanist since 1968 in North Carolina and Central Kentucky. Although classically trained, I appreciate all genres of music. My mother, who was also a church musician and taught public school music grades K-12, knew that Bluegrass music was the purest American music. She always introduced her students to this fine genre and began my musical studies with her at age 2. Bach to Berachah Valley, Mozart to Jimmy Martin, Sibelius to Stanley Brothers, the list goes on, I hope you find some moments of enjoyment and learn a few interesting facts along the way.
I am thankful for the many resources we have at our fingertips including Google. FaceBook and BluegrassBios by Wayne Rice. It was he who inspired me to tackle the task of trying to pass on knowledge about Bluegrass music. Thanks Wayne~!
Lou Ellen Wilkie