February 24, 2020 – Cuthbert, Ga. – Andrew College students and community members drifted into the Randolph Welcome Center as the musicians warmed up for the final Smithsonian Museum on Mainstreet Exhibit’s collaborative scheduled event, “Sounds from Randolph County.” The musical event was held in the restored courtroom on Thursday, February 20.
Selections from Boudleaux Bryant, country music and pop songwriter from Shellman, Georgia, were performed by touring bluegrass and country music artist, Dave Shepherd. Shepherd interlaced his musical selections with fun and informative facts about Bryant, including how he and his co-writer and wife, Felice, met—and their short two-day courtship before eloping.
Following Shepherd, other regional musicians, under the direction of Andrew College Music and Jazz Professor Dan Kolan, performed lively selections from Fletcher Henderson. Henderson was born in Cuthbert and was an American pianist, bandleader, arranger and composer. He was important in the development of big band jazz and swing music.
A Fletcher Henderson Jazz Festival is held in Cuthbert every October, and the City of Shellman commemorates the legacy of Boudleaux Bryant and Felice Bryant each fall with a festival, as well as a memorial marker in the City Park. Fletcher Henderson is also featured in two murals in downtown Cuthbert.
Mary Jane Salter, special assistant to the president at Andrew College and site co-director of the Smithsonian’s Rural Exhibit, said, “I’m so pleased that we were able to bring such amazing musical talent to the Cuthbert community. This was our third and final collaborative scheduled event and it rounded off the six-week visit of the Exhibition, perfectly. We are so happy that the community has come together during this time with their financial support and volunteer efforts. We are already looking at more ways to keep the momentum going so that we can work together in future endeavors to attract tourism and highlight all that we have to offer in Randolph County.”
There is still time to visit the Smithsonian Exhibit located at 72 Dawson Street. It is open through February 29, on the south side of the square in Cuthbert. To date, close to 2,000 people have visited the site and attended collaborative events. Andrew College is hosting the exhibition.