The Mountain Laurel
The Journal of Mountain Life

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Heart of the Blue Ridge

Photo Contest Winner

By Susan M. Thigpen © 1986

Issue: October, 1986

Mildred (banjo) and Beverly (fiddle) Thompson, making music together for 50 years.Mildred (banjo) and Beverly (fiddle) Thompson, making music together for 50 years.Congratulations to Mac and Jenny Traynham.

They are the first winners of our Photo Contest! They will be receiving a free three year subscription to The Mountain Laurel for their contribution. The following is the letter that accompanied the front page photograph.

Dear Mountain Laurel,

I would like to enter these photographs in your mountain people category of your photography contest. The pictures are of Mildred (banjo) and Beverly (fiddle) Thompson from the Rich Valley section of Smyth County, Virginia. They are friends of mine who live on a beautiful farm and who have been playing music for over 50 years together. They can be heard playing "Little Brown Jug" on a County Record album entitled "Clawhammer Banjo".

The picture was made on their back porch on a beautiful afternoon in April, 1986. The banjo in the picture with Mildred is a fretless banjo made by me in the fall of 1985. I have made and sold over two dozen open back banjos since 1978.

My wife and I are musicians performing duet singing. We will be living and working in Franklin County beginning in September. We really enjoy reading about and learning about the old time mountain way of life.

Mac Traynham

Editor's Note: We have received many beautiful photographs and the contest is ongoing. You can still send photos in.