Muhlenberg Mission group raises funds for instruments | New
People have traveled from near and far to support an effort to provide musical instruments and lessons to children in Muhlenberg County through the Muhlenberg Musical Mission. A benefit concert packed the Palace Theater in Greenville on November 20 and featured local and regional musicians playing.
The Muhlenberg Music Mission is the brainchild of Ben Duvall, owner of Sip & Spin Coffee in Greenville, and Benjamin Tod, a renowned singer-songwriter who lives in the county. Their goal is to create a place where local children can access instruments and lessons, and breathe new life into the county’s musical traditions.
Muhlenberg County’s rich musical heritage is what inspired Duvall and Tod to start this project. Strong ties bind the history of local music to international musicians like the Everly Brothers, John Prine and Merle Travis. Fostering this heritage and providing musical opportunities for county children is the goal of the mission.
Ties with the county also spanned the musical programming of the sold-out benefit show. Kentucky Shine features Central City guitarist and singer Jordan Wood. CJ Sparks is an aspiring singer-songwriter from Greenville, and Ashley Mae and Benjamin Tod of the Lost Dog Street Band also live in the county.
Owensboro-based Kentucky Shine brought the night to life with traditional bluegrass music, fresh out of their album release night the night before at the Owensboro Bluegrass Music Hall of Fame. Their rendition of Bill Monroe’s “Kentucky Waltz” was remarkable.
Multi-instrumentalist Matt Heckler played violin, banjo and guitar as he sang, performing songs about coal mining, the Civil War and even some with an Irish twist. Heckler is originally from North Carolina and has performed with the Lost Dog Street Band on tour.
Lost Dog Street Band performed a set of their original songs, filled with nostalgia, loneliness, love and loss. Many in the crowd had come from out of town and out of state to see the band, whose 2019 album “Weight of a Trigger” reached No. 5 on Billboard’s Bluegrass charts.
A fan said he traveled from Kansas City, Missouri to see the duo and be part of the Muhlenberg Music Mission.
A musical memorabilia auction was held before the concert, with prizes such as an autographed copy of John Prine’s latest album fetching considerable sums. An autographed press test of an upcoming album by Lost Dog Street Band was auctioned for over $ 1,000 during the concert.
Duvall, who is president of Muhlenberg Music Mission, said that between the ticket sale and the auction, the nonprofit raised more than $ 19,000 to be used to purchase instruments and equipment.
“We hope to start receiving applications and teaching no later than spring 2022,” said Duvall. “Muhlenberg’s Musical Mission would like to thank everyone who helped put us on the right path to making the musical future of the children of Muhlenberg County a little brighter. “
Duvall said the generosity of those who donated and the hard work of the volunteers to make the concert a success is greatly appreciated. “We couldn’t have done this without you, the donors. I would like to especially thank the Board of Directors, the artists and everyone who gave countless hours to make this event possible. “