CHARLESTON, W.Va. — Three brothers with Wayne County roots who are known for their hard-driving old-time and bluegrass music will be honored Friday, May 25, 2012, as this year’s recipients of West Virginia’s highest folklife honor, the Vandalia Award.
As part of the 36th annual Vandalia Gathering, Mike, Dave, and Tim Bing will be recognized for their lifelong contributions to West Virginia folklife and traditional culture during a 7 p.m. ceremony and concert in the Norman L. Fagan West Virginia State Theater in the Culture Center, State Capitol Complex, Charleston.
Mike Bing, born in 1951, is an accomplished mandolin player, forester, teacher and founder of the Allegheny Echoes traditional arts education program in Pocahontas County, where he lives.
Dave Bing, born in 1955, is a skilled player of the fiddle, banjo and guitar, and is a renowned violin maker, woodworker and teacher who lives in Harmony in Roane County.
Tim Bing, born in 1958, is an award-winning banjo player, and an iron worker, teacher and performer who lives in Huntington.
The Bing brothers grew up in a musical household and taught themselves to play their unique style of music that includes a rustic repertoire, aggressive tempos, and boundless energy. The original Bing Brothers Band that performed from the mid-1970s until 1997 featured Dave on fiddle, Tim on banjo, and Mike on mandolin. The band also included a guitar and often an upright bass.
The Bings were exposed to traditional music early in life. Mike remembers hearing his great uncles harmonize on traditional gospel songs and hearing Lester Flatt & Earl Scruggs play on local radio and television. He and his brothers also drew inspiration from Sherman, Burl and other members of the Hammons family in Pocahontas County, who played archaic melodies, often with irregular meter and odd tunings.
Since the mid-1970s when they began playing at taverns, honky-tonks and such festivals as the West Virginia State Folk Festival in Glenville, the Vandalia Gathering, the Galax [Virginia] Old Fiddlers Convention, and at the Appalachian South Folklife Center, the three men have performed, competed, taught, and promoted their music to enthusiastic audiences across the globe, including Ireland, England and Australia.
For more information about the Vandalia Gathering, the Vandalia Award or the 2012 honorees contact Caryn Gresham at (304) 558-0220 or [email protected].
The West Virginia Division of Culture and History is an agency within the West Virginia Department of Education and the Arts with Kay Goodwin, Cabinet Secretary. The Division, led by Commissioner Randall Reid-Smith, brings together the past, present and future through programs and services focusing on archives and history, arts, historic preservation and museums. For more information about the Division’s programs, events and sites, visit www.wvculture.org. The Division of Culture and History is an Equal Opportunity/Affirmative Action Employer.
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Media Note: Photos are available upon request