The 2016 Sing Me High Music Festival features eight performing groups with connections to the Shenandoah Valley. Read their bios, check out their websites, and listen to their music. Then head over to the Schedule page for a complete overview of the day.

The Walking Roots Band

The Walking Roots Band

Based in Harrisonburg, VA, the Walking Roots Band travels (usually by car, despite the name) far and wide to share their unique blend of original blue-ish-grass, folk-like, Americana/roots music and reclaimed hymns in new folk arrangements. All the members grew up in Mennonite or Church of the Brethren hymn-singing communities, and audiences reap the benefits of those singing traditions in the band's rich vocal harmonies. The Walking Roots Band has fans of all ages who love the mix of humor, reflection, storytelling, joy, and love on display when they take the stage.

The Hatcher Boys

The Hatcher Boys

The Hatcher Boys is a family bluegrass band consisting of Dad, Michael, and his three sons, Dane, 21, Spencer, 18, and Connor, 15.  Michael plays guitar and sings lead,  Dane guitar and mandolin, Spencer the 5-string banjo, and Connor the upright bass.  

The Hatcher Boys formed in the summer of 2013 and have performed since then at many events in Virginia, West Virginia, Tennessee and North Carolina.  In the last few years they performed on stage with Ronnie Stoneman of “Hee-Haw”; Raymond Fairchild (five-time world banjo champion and Bluegrass Hall of Fame), and Kody Norris and the Watauga Mountain Boys.  The Boys have played with Eddie Adcock (The Country Gentlemen), Sammy Shelor (Lonesome River Band) and other well-known bluegrass musicians.

Their home is near Timberville, Virginia, and all of the Boys were born and raised in the Shenandoah Valley of Virginia.

Ears to the Ground Family

Ears to the Ground Family

Ears to the Ground Family is a minimal, totally acoustic group from Harrisonburg, Virginia with guitar, hand percussion, and banjo. They have a serious focus on lyrical content and can achieve a body-shivering vocal harmony. They make music of resistance to oppression and empire, of communities of hope, and of a faith that sustains us. Their tunes draw from R&B, spiritual, soul, folk/americana, chant, hip-hop, and jazz.  

 

 

John Schmid

John Schmid

John Schmid is founder and director of Common Ground Ministries, a singing ministry based in Berlin, Ohio, with a focus on prisons in the Ohio Corrections system.

John’s unique style of singing, a blend of country, folk and gospel with a touch of the contemporary, has gained audiences in a wide variety of settings; from prisons to embassies; back porches to concert halls; schools, rest homes, churches, army bases, and banquets. His honest, genuine voice is easy to listen to and his message is made acceptable through humor, true life stories, a love for people, and a wide variety of songs.

He has sung in many states as well as thirty different countries across the world.  He has been on stage with well-known stars such as Tom T. Hall, Connie Smith, Johnny Paycheck, Jim & Jesse, Dickie Lee, Ralph Stanley, Ricky Skaggs, Paul Overstreet, Randy Travis, George Hamilton IV as well as gospel groups such as The Lewis Family, Jeff & Sherry Easter, The Inspirations, Steve & Annie Chapman, Linda Randle and others.

John and his wife, Lydia, have three children living in the Shenandoah Valley, and John's son, Adam Schmid, is a member of the Walking Roots band.

Since forming in the fall of 2013, Good Company, a six-member a cappella ensemble based in Harrisonburg, has performed regularly in the Shenandoah Valley and beyond. Their debut album, Awake, was released in 2014 and they're looking forward to recording a new Christmas album slated for a December 2016 release.  With a wide repertoire encompassing everything from early music to contemporary pop arrangements, spirituals to classic 70s rock, and even a few original compositions, Good Company hopes that everybody can find something to enjoy and connect with in the music they share.

Good Company

Good Company

Highlander String Band

Highlander String Band

The Highlander String Band is a collection of Rockingham County musicians playing traditional Appalachian Mountain music.  They play the Top Ten Tunes of the 50’s and 60’s – 1850 that is.  They play all types of music from instrumental dance tunes, such as jigs, reels, hornpipes and waltzes, to the slow, mournful and powerful tunes depicting the sorrow and tragedy of frontier mountain life.

The band members include Jim Gaskins on fiddle and guitar, Phyllis Gaskins on Appalachian dulcimer, Brent Holl on guitar and Gene Bowlen playing clawhammer banjo, mandolin and octave mandolin.

Blue Ridge Dulcimer Players

Blue Ridge Dulcimer Players

The mountain dulcimer is a distinctive and attractive instrument native to Appalachia, and it has as many different nicknames as the different hills and hollers in which it has been played. If you are unfamiliar with the "harmonium", "music box", "mountain zither," or "hog fiddle", the Blue Ridge Mountain Dulcimer Players will be the perfect introduction for you. Brought together by their love for mountain music and sharing it in an authentically relaxed and inviting style, Blue Ridge Mountain Dulcimer Players will welcome you up onto Aunt Erma's front porch so you can sit a spell, enjoy the summer air, and take in the sweet strains of the mountain dulcimer.

The Springs Ensemble

The Springs Ensemble

The Springs Ensemble, Edward Gant, cello, and Virginia Bethune, harp, is a Massanetta Springs-based duo who have performed in Blacksburg, Farmville, and Edinburgh, Scotland.

Edward Gant resides in Harrisonburg, VA with his wife, Lori and three daughters. He has been a member of several music faculties including Luther College in Decorah, Iowa and the Indiana University of Pennsylvania in Indiana, Pennsylvania. Currently, he is on the faculty in the School of Music at James Madison University and teaches music classes for the American Public University System. Dr. Gant has served as principal cellist in the La Crosse Symphony Orchestra in La Crosse Wisconsin, the Johnstown Symphony Orchestra in Johnstown, Pennsylvania and the Shenandoah Symphony Orchestra in Lexington, Virginia. He is also a member of the Richmond Symphony in Richmond, Virginia and the Roanoke Symphony in Roanoke, Virginia. An active recitalist, teacher, and freelance musician, he has concertized across the United States and in Scotland, Italy, and Austria. Dr. Gant is engaged in the development of a body of music for unaccompanied cello drawing primarily upon European and American hymnody and folk melodies of the 18th through the early 20th century as the basis of these pieces. He is a founding member of the Muhlenberg Chamber Ensemble who are Artists-in-Residence at Muhlenberg Lutheran Church in Harrisonburg, Virginia. Dr. Gant recently completed a program in Therapeutic Music that certifies him to play at the bedside in hospitals, hospice and skilled nursing facilities.

Virginia Bethune, Certified Music Practitioner, pianist, organist, and harpist, has released 6 CDs, proceeds of which have helped to build housing for 3 Habitat for Humanity families. She and Dr. Gant have produced two recordings, Healing Harp Melodies: Classical Tunes and Serenade of Strings. Each of these is described with complete playlists and MP3 files at ww.healingharpmelodies.org/musicOn October 2 at 3 pm, at Park View Mennonite Church, they will participate in "MUSAIC: A Mosaic of Music" to benefit Pleasant View Homes.