FIGA Convention 2009 in Peoria


Both the St. Louis Banjo Club, under the direction of Jim Casserly and the STL BandJos Youth Band, under the direction of Ginny Luetje performed at the FIGA show on Friday, July 17. Below are some photos of these performances. The other youth event was a performance by more than 50 of the kids playing ukuleles. They were instructed by Buddy Griffin, Director of the Houston All-Stars Band.

Left: Mallory, Tasha, John, Megan, Louis, Casey, Sam, Clayton, Blake, Peyton & Kyle.

Below: John, Sam, Blake and Casey

Below: Mallory, Tasha and Megan on vocals with John, Louis, Casey and Sam backing them up.

Right: Megan on washboard, Louis on washtub, Mallory on banjo.

St. Louis Banjo Club on stage. Front row: Bill Gnuse, Mike Mason, Jim Casserly, Joe Feager, Don Kincaid, Karl Markl, Gary Mades. Back row: Don Dempsey, Ida May Schmich, Ginny Luetje, Marvin Rennard, Mark Hulse.

The KABAAM Band was a new feature for FIGA. Buddy Griffin turned 50+ kids into a performance band of ukuleles. Some of these kids had never picked up an instrument before the Friday afternoon rehearsal. The second photo shows Mallory of the STL BandJos accepting her prize from Mr. Buddy for a contest to give names to the boy and girl images on the KABAAM shirts. Her winning entry was for the names, “Melody” and “Rhythm”.

Beside the stage performances, the kids played in the Peoria Park as part of 150 banjo players entertaining a noontime crowd. They also joined a riverboat cruise and played with adults everywhere. Many members of FIGA have been concerned that there are not enough young people taking up the banjo. Having all of these youngsters showing their abilities was truly inspiring and exciting to watch.

There is hope for the four-string banjo!