Adamstown teens in farm show talent contest

By on January 7, 2015

Five young bluegrass musicians, including two from Adamstown, representing both Berks and Lancaster counties, will perform together in the 2015 Pennsylvania Farm Show GOT TALENT competition on Sunday, Jan. 11, at 1:30 p.m. in the PA Preferred Banquet Hall.

The boys, ages 14 and 15, will be playing their rendition of a famous Stanley Brothers’ bluegrass song. The competition is open to musicians and vocalists ages 9 to 19 performing solo or as a group.

The band members, Conlan Kerschner on banjo, Kenneth Barley also on banjo, Colton Gotwals on fiddle, Tyler Hertzog on guitar, and William Gow on bass, assembled as many bands do, quite by chance.

Set to jam at the 2015 Pennsylvania Farm Show GOT TALENT competition are, from left, Conlan Kerschner, Colton Gotwals, Tyler Hertzog, and Kenneth Barley.  Kerschner and Hertzog reside in Adamstown.  Missing from the photo is group member William Gow.

Set to jam at the 2015 Pennsylvania Farm Show GOT TALENT competition are, from left, Conlan Kerschner, Colton Gotwals, Tyler Hertzog, and Kenneth Barley. Kerschner and Hertzog reside in Adamstown. Missing from the photo is group member William Gow.

Kerschner of Adamstown and Barley of Millersville first met as competitors at the 2013 farm fhow GOT TALENT competition, both performing in the instrumental category, playing banjo. As dueling banjoists, they met again at the 2014 competition and dueled once more.

Having been introduced to fiddle player Gotwals of Oley through music instructor Ken Gehret, the three decided that they would meet in Kerschner’s home later in January 2014 to “jam.” They soon added one of Kerschner’s classmates, Hertzog, also of Adamstown, to the jam mix. Seeing the potential and enthusiasm for bluegrass jamming, Kerschner’s mother, Wendy, began seeking opportunities for both a jamming location and funding to grow the youth jam group.

Dave Kline, also known as East Side Dave of the Mountain Folk Band, connected the Kerschners with the Reading Musical Foundation which offers funding for paid musical instruction.

A scholarship was awarded to Kerschner to fund a monthly youth bluegrass jam with paid instruction by Gehret of West Lawn. Meanwhile, officials of the Gouglersville Fire Company, Route 222, in Sinking Spring, Berks County, offered their lower level banquet facility at no charge for the group’s monthly practice sessions.

The jams began in March 2014 and continue to grow steadily. This is where the group met bass player Gow, who will be the fifth member of the group.

As an additional honor, banjo entertainer and band contestant member Kerschner has been invited to play as a solo musician for the opening ceremonies of the 2015 PA Farm Show on Saturday, Jan. 10, at 10:30 a.m. for Gov. Tom Corbett and State Secretary of Agricultural George Greig and other dignitaries.

The Pennsylvania Farm Show is the largest indoor agricultural event in the nation, featuring nearly 6,000 animals, 10,000 competitive events, and 300 commercial exhibitors. The show begins Saturday and runs through Saturday, Jan. 17, at the Pennsylvania Farm Show Complex and Expo Center in Harrisburg.

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