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Bluegrass music comes together to honor its best

The International Bluegrass Music Association hosted its annual week-long celebration of the genre in Raleigh recently.
Thousands poured into the city’s clubs, venues and hotels to see countless concerts by established artists such as David Davis and the Warrior River Boys of Alabama, hopefuls such as the Baker Family of Missouri, and Rebekah Long of Nashville, who desire to expand their career success into national and international strides.

I visited with Davis in his band’s booth (https://www.daviddavisandwrb.com/).
“It’s been an amazing week,” Davis said, who is riding high on the success of his latest Rounder release “Didn’t He Ramble : Songs of Charlie Poole.” “We have met with fans, event promoters, disc jockeys and all types of media folks. It’s like a musical family reunion with old friends and new ones.”

I ran across Trustin Baker, the 2018 Grand Master Fiddler Champion, in the hallway of the Marriott. He had traveled from Missouri to perform with his family (thebakerfamilybluegrass.com/).  He actually joined in a jam session playing a tune with my fiddle.
Rebekah Long told me she was having a great time at the event appearing on numerous showcases with her band with her producer Donna Ulisse in tow. Long’s recent CDs include “Run Away” and “Here I Am” (www.rebekahlong.com).
Awards were handed out highlighting the greatest successes of the past year. Some of the winners include: Balsam Range as  entertainer of the year; Doyle Lawson & Quicksilver as vocal group; The Travelin’ McCourys as instrumental group; Buddy Melton as male vocalist; Brooke Aldridge as female vocalist; Sierra Hull as mandolin player; Molly Tuttle as guitar player; Michael Cleveland as fiddle player; The Po’ Ramblin’ Boys as emerging artist; Becky Buller brought home gospel recorded performance with “Speakin’ to That Mountain;” “Swept Away” with Missy Raines, Alison Brown, Becky Buller, Hull and Tuttle won recorded event.

Hall of Fame inductees included Ricky Skaggs, Paul Williams and Tom T. and Dixie Hall.
I applaud these additions to the hall. All have contributed amazingly to the genre!

I was privileged to return to direct a portion of the awards welcoming multi-Grammy winner Jerry Douglas to host the Distinguished Achievement Awards and several special awards. The IBMA’s second highest honor went to Curtis McPeake, Walter Saunders, Chris Thile, Christopher Howard-Williams, and George Gruhn. My old friend Jerry Salley was awarded as bluegrass songwriter of the year.

Learn more about the music and the organization at ibma.org.

Ringgold’s Randall Franks achieves Certificate of Excellence and attends Leadership Institute

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Ringgold Councilmember Randall Franks receives awards from GMA Municipal Training Board Chairman Norma Tucker, and Associate Director of the Carl Vinson Institute Stacy Jones

Ringgold Councilmember Randall Franks received the prestigious Certificate of Excellence from the Harold F. Holtz Municipal Training Institute at the Georgia Municipal Association’s (GMA) 83rd Annual Convention in Savannah on June 27.

He was also recognized for completing the annual Robert E. Knox, Jr. Municipal Leadership Institute.

“A key component of elected service is seeking out opportunities to improve what we already do for our residents and our visitors,” Franks said. “Learning what is done in other cities around our state as well as the most effective and appropriate ways to conduct our business help each of us to be good stewards and offer a better vision for the future of our community.”

The Georgia Municipal Training Institute, a cooperative effort of GMA and the University of Georgia’s Carl Vinson Institute of Government, provides a nationally recognized series of training opportunities for elected city officials. To receive a Certificate of Excellence, a city official must complete a minimum of 120 units of credit, including at least 54 hours from the required list and the Robert E. Knox, Jr. Municipal Leadership Institute. The training program consists of a series of more than 50 courses.

The multi-day Leadership Institute, co-sponsored by GMA and the University of Georgia’s Carl Vinson Institute of Government, featured a nationally recognized training development consultant and speaker. Participants also engaged in role-playing exercises designed to cultivate and enhance leadership skills.

 “This is an outstanding achievement,” said GMA Executive Director Lamar Norton. “We commend Councilmember Franks for this accomplishment and for the dedication he’s shown in using this valuable resource to become a more effective city official.

 “The Leadership Institute is an outstanding program and widely acknowledged as one of the best of its type in the country,” Norton said. “We highly recommend it to any city official who wants to be a more effective community leader.”

Franks is Ringgold’s former vice mayor and currently serves as Downtown Development Authority and Main Street Program Chairman. He was initially elected in 2009 and served Catoosa County and Ringgold as public information officer and volunteer coordinator during the 2011-12 tornado response and recovery efforts. He is former vice chairman of the Ringgold Convention and Visitors Bureau.

Based in Atlanta, GMA is a voluntary, non-profit organization that provides legislative advocacy, research, training, employee benefit and technical consulting services to its over 520 member cities.