Young Adamstown banjo player garners new recognition

By on April 13, 2016
Photo courtesy Nelson Martin and Kerschner family Conlan Kerschner joins the Mountain Folk Band playing an opening number prior to the 2015 Riders in the Sky performance at the Santander Performing Arts Center in Reading.

Photo courtesy Nelson Martin and Kerschner family.
Conlan Kerschner joins the Mountain Folk Band playing an opening number prior to the 2015 Riders in the Sky performance at the Santander Performing Arts Center in Reading.

Conlan Kerschner, 15, of Adamstown, a student at Cocalico High School who has become a noted regional bluegrass musician, has been selected to perform at MerleFest 2016 in Wilkesboro, N.C., on Saturday, April 30.

Kerschner was introduced to the banjo by his grandfather, Randy Steffy, who played bluegrass music on the radio in his garage.

His grandfather paid for Kerschner’s lessons. Since summer 2008, he has been taking banjo lessons at Kupp-Tone Music Studios in Adamstown. Kerschner was first taught by Cookie Texter and then advanced to become a student of Keith Kupp.

Kerschner enjoys sharing banjo music, having played for school events, community groups, weddings, senior living communities, as well as participating in various bluegrass festivals. He also shares his music as a hospice volunteer.

Kerschner will perform twice that day &tstr; once in the afternoon and again in the early evening in the Acoustic Kids showcase. The song he has been asked to play is “Whistling Blues.”

MerleFest is considered one of the premier music festivals in the country, serving as an annual homecoming for musicians and music fans.

Held on the campus of Wilkes Community College in Wilkesboro, MerleFest was founded in 1988 in memory of the late Eddy Merle Watson, son of American music legend Doc Watson.

Organizers say MerleFest is a celebration of ‘traditional plus’ music, a unique mix of music based on the traditional, roots-oriented sounds of the Appalachian region, including bluegrass and old-time music, and expanded to include Americana, country, blues, rock, and many other styles.

The festival hosts numerous artists, performing on 13 stages during the course of the four-day event. The annual event has become the primary fundraiser for the WCC Endowment Corp., funding scholarships, capital projects and other educational needs.

Kerschner is becoming increasingly well known in the regional bluegrass and country circuit. He has performed with the Mountain Folk Youth Bluegrass Jam Band which garnered awards at the Pennsylvania Farm Show.

He has also performed, both solo and with other musicians, in a variety of venues throughout Berks and Lancaster counties.

Kerschner is also part of a select group known as Tomorrow’s Bluegrass Stars, according to his mother, Wendy Kerschner.

Watch Conlan Kerschner’s audition for MerleFest:

There are four groups and three individuals in the showcase at MerleFest.

About dreed

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *