Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Gathering of Resonateurs

The following is from Pammy Davis, chair of this year's Gathering of Resonateurs in Wilkesboro, NC. Reprinted with permission.

You are cordially invited to join us at the 4th annual Gathering of Resonateurs 'ResoGat 2008' at the Holiday Inn Express in Wilkesboro NC to be held July 9 through the 12th (checking out and heading for home on Sunday the 13th). Get your reservations in by June 27 at the Holiday Inn Express 336.838.1800 to get the block room rate of $85 per night. Be sure to reference the Dobro Festival event.

So who are the Resonateurs and what exactly is the Gathering of Resonateurs, or ResoGat for short? Well, the quick answer is, we're a loosely knit group of individuals who are drawn together out a love or fascination for the dobro, or resonator guitar. Invented and developed in the late 1920's and early 30's, the five Dopyera brothers presented America and the world with a totally unique instrument centered around a mechanical resonating sound or amplification system. The brothers tossed around the question of what to call this new class of stringed instruments and finally coined the term 'Dobro' which was a combination of the words DOpyera and BROthers.

Following WWII, electrified instruments appeared and interest in the Dobro subsided somewhat until bluegrass music appeared. Josh (Buck) Graves converted the Earl Scruggs style of banjo picking to the dobro and the rest is history as notable players (Mike Auldridge, Jerry Douglas, Rob Ickes...) made the instrument ...a bunch of 'cone heads ''main stream' .

Knowing the contribution his father had made to the world of music, John Dopyera and his wife Margaret threw out an open invite for anyone with a strong interest in the dobro / resonator guitar...luthier, collector, musician, connoisseur, or ?...to join them at their home in Pennsylvania for a week long 'Gathering in the Woods' during the Fourth of July week of 2000. From this beginning it has grown every year up to, and including, the recent Annual Gathering of Resonateurs held at Wilkesboro, NC.

Following the 2004 Gathering, John and Margaret made the hard decision to sell their Pennsylvania wooded retreat and a committee was formed to see if the Gathering could successfully transfer and find a new 'home.' The communities of Wilkesboro/N. Wilkesboro rolled out a 'red carpet' invite to our group which still left us with the unanswered question..."would people be willing to relocate to a new location some 600 miles from John and Margaret's home?" The pleasant answer was a resounding 'yes'...with over 100 attendees from 20 states and Canada.

So we are proceeding with plans for the 2008 Annual Gathering. It's important to note that we've intentionally maintained an informal unstructured style to the event...with the only rule being that there are no rules. All levels of players are encouraged to attend, whether an early-on beginner or a full up professional. The main 'requirement' to attend is a desire to become involved with other devotees of the resonator guitar. Most of the Gathering time is spent in totally unstructured "fun", jamming, looking at the exhibiters’ wares, sharing ideas.

Here is a description of the activities that occur at the Gathering for the pickers and non pickers alike. Among these are : Informal Workshops, Jam sessions, Bingo, Live Radio Show, Jam Sessions, Community Concert, Jam Sessions, Dinner & Awards, special guest Speedy Krise, Amazing Reso-player Johnny Bellar, Exhibitor Room, door prizes, raffles, group pictures, and let’s not forget .. Jam Sessions !!

The activities schedule will be posted on the big board in the main lobby of the hotel. We suggest that it be checked often as some schedules may change during the event. The typical tentative schedule is:
Arrive on Wednesday and jam all day with friends and Johnny Bellar
Special Guest Speedy Krise arrives on Thursday, more jamming, bingo
Friday morning you can play on the Hometown Opry live radio show WKBC
Friday afternoon everyone will get together for the group picture
Friday evening we will put on a concert for the community and a presentation to honor Speedy Krise.

Saturday will include jamming, bingo, and a group dinner in the evening with door prizes and special awards.

In addition to the planned activities the local area has many interesting attractions, historic sites, shopping and dining opportunities. Those attending for the first time will find the people of this area to be very friendly and hospitable. For those of us returning, this is like a homecoming to visit old friends. The atmosphere of the Gathering has always been very relaxed and informal. The only rule being - there are no rules. Feel free to join in the jam sessions or just sit and listen if you prefer. Enjoy the bingo or other activities as you wish.

We want to say a special thank you to this year’s sponsors. The majority of them have never attended the gathering but didn't hesitate to help us out when asked. Please show your gratitude to them and let them know how much you appreciate their contribution. They are listed on the website’s 2008 Sponsors page. To date, we have received over $3,000 worth of items donated from the reso community including a 2008 Reso Gathering custom strap made by Bobby Poff. All these items will be used for door prizes or raffles.

If you are in the market for a custom made resonator guitar, you will find an excellent selection from some of the finest luthiers in the world. The sponsors exhibiting at the 2008 Gathering of Resonateurs at this time are:
Jim Adams
Hobart Beavers
Dick Deneve
Tut Taylor
Hopefully you can plan on joining us at this 2008 Annual Gathering of Resonateurs. If so, please contact Pammy Davis so she can make names tags for your party. Please include your address and phone numbers. Don’t forget the June 27 deadline for reserving a room. If you would like to pre-order a Tee-Shirt in your size, contact Pammy with the quantity and sizes desired by Thursday, June 19 for the pre-order.

You do not have to purchase the Tee-Shirt if you do not like it but if you do, you will be assured of getting your size. Now hurry up and prepare yourself for a great time with good friends old and new! There is nothing else like the Gathering so enjoy every minute of it and plan to come back next year.


Your 2008 Gathering Of Resonateurs Planning Committee

Pammy Davis, Chair (pammydavis@triad.rr.com or 336.202.1536)
Doug Couts, Don Doggett, Carlene Economy, Larry Maltz, Jim Nagle, Jan Newsom, Bill Payne, Olivia Wittman

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