Letter to the Editor

Smithsonian exhibit is almost over

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Dear Editor:

If you haven't seen the Smithsonian traveling exhibition downtown at the Bushwhacker Museum, you have only a week more to do so because it's closing on Sunday, Nov. 7. We're talking Smithsonian here as in the national museum in Washington, D.C.

I can't recall the Smithsonian Institution ever reaching out this far into the hinterland to bring us anything like what's at the Bushwhacker, let alone something this good. It's a part of a Museum on Main Street partnership between the Smithsonian Institution and state humanities councils across the nation to serve rural America.

Roots music, we've learned, is a term used to mean all music which has grown out of older folk traditions like gospel, folk, country, cajun and blues. You'll see photographic displays of various performers with push-button audio to listen to the sounds of the different musical styles. Museum docents will be on hand to guide you around the maze of displays set up in kiosk style.

Nevada's one of a handful of Missouri towns to get "New Harmonies," thanks in large part to Bushwhacker coordinator Terry Ramsey and her expertise in the field. Terry and the Bushwhacker staff, aided by the Vernon County Historical Society volunteers, have pitched in to assure a quality experience.

Also, kudos to Terry for assembling a first-rate supportive group of weekly musical programs during the exhibition's stay. We've been entertained with folk music with a slant on Missouri history, melodic Creole French tunes by fiddler Dennis Stroughmatt and trio, golden oldies from radio's heyday, and the forthcoming always popular "Meet Me in Missouri" coming up Nov. 6-7, the creation of Marsha Martin and her Missouri Singers, most of them Nevadans.

Even after "New Harmonies" closes, the Cottey Dance and Choir concert Nov. 19, is a celebration of roots music to be performed at the college.

We are indeed fortunate to have the services of Terry Ramsey at the Bushwhacker. The "New Harmonies" is a feather in Nevada's cap, especially Terry's. You owe yourself a treat, so go on down to the museum and enjoy yourself.

Oh yes. It's free of charge, thanks to grants from our Finis M. Moss Charitable Trust, Missouri Arts Council and the Missouri Humanities Council.

Donna Logan