pickers

Brown Elementary students compete at Cookeville High School, directed by Becky Bull with banjo accompanist Bill Bruce.

Brown Elementary's Pint-Sized Pickers swept up numerous medals on Saturday, March 31 in a 10-county music competition held at Cookeville High School. More than 1,000 students from seven of those counties competed in the string, wind, singles, ensemble and duo categories.

Cumberland County is blessed in having the first elementary school bluegrass band. Four guitars, five fiddles, two banjos and an upright base make up the group, directed by Becky Bull and accompanied by volunteer banjo picker Bill Bruce.

The band has been playing together for several months and meets Friday mornings at 7 a.m. for a 30-minute practice session before classes begin and has booked several performances this summer.

A bluegrass program was envisioned by Bull from her love of music. Thanks to her volunteer efforts, supportive parents and students with desire and determination, the band is on a successful course that will enhance and keep alive the music of the mountains.

Quoting Elliot Eisner from "Ten Lessons the Arts Teach," "The arts' (music included) position in the school curriculum symbolizes to the young what adults believe is important," and these children are on a bluegrass roll.