Press Release: UNCLE HENRY’S FAVORITES PERFORMS MUSIC
of the LEWIS AND CLARK ERA
During their arduous three-year journey through unknown territory, members of the Lewis and Clark expedition entertained themselves by making music, and dancing to the lively sounds of the fiddle. Meriwether Lewis wrote in his journal that even after an exhausting day of portaging their equipment overland, “Such as were able to shake a foot amused themselves in dancing on the green to the music of the violin which Cruzatte plays extreemly well.” Pierre Cruzatte, a one-eyed French-Canadian boatsman, entertained the adventurers, providing relief from the daily grind and also an essential means for communicating a cooperative spirit to groups of Native Americans that the adventurers met along the way. Cruzatte and his fellow fiddler George Gibson no doubt had a large repertoire of popular dance tunes of the era, passed along by ear from musician to musician.
Fiddle tunes and songs of the early 1800’s will live again at the Lewis and Clark Exploratory Center’s keelboat launch and celebration at Darden Towe Park, Saturday October 23, 2004 from 2:00-4:00 P.M. The music will be provided by lively string band Uncle Henry’s Favorites. Uncle Henry's Favorites old-time string band hails from Central Virginia, home of rolling hills, Jefferson cups, farms, Wahoos and Cavaliers, mountain streams, and a surprisingly active and dedicated community of old-time country fiddlers, banjoists, mandolinists, singing groups, guitar pickers, square dancers, cloggers, bass fiddlers, and countless other homegrown-music enthusiasts. Pete and Ellen Vigour, of White Hall, Jim Childress, from Free Union, and Mark Beall from Stanardsville, formed the band in 1985, and have performed their own special version of old-time music ever since, at social occasions throughout their local area. For the 20th straight year, the band presided over the Albemarle County Fair Fiddler’s Contest, this year drawing 30 fiddlers to compete and jam together.
Thomas Jefferson, himself an accomplished amateur violinist, had popular fiddle tunes in his collection, such as “Merrily Danced the Quaker's Wife," "There's Nae Luck About the House” and "Comin' Thru the Rye.”
Uncle Henry’s Favorites will make merry with the fiddles on October 23, 2004.
Jim and Pete take turns with the fiddle and guitar, Ellen plays the mandolin and various small musical instruments, while Mark provides the bass accompaniment. Pete also frails the 5-string banjo for the old dance tunes. Uncle Henry’s Favorites’ CD’s have won rave reviews, and the band reached a national audience with a recent appearance on national public radio’s "A Prairie Home Companion."
Come to the Lewis and Clark Exploratory Center’s special keelboat launching event at Darden Towe Park, Saturday October 23, 2004 from 2:00-4:00. Live music from the Lewis and Clark era will be provided by Uncle Henry’s Favorites. This event is free and open to the public.
Darden Towe Park is located just off of Rt. 20 N. just north of Charlottesville, VA.