Pickin’ on the Jones House

By Jesse Campbell (jesse.campbell@mountaintimes.com)

Article Published: May. 16, 2013 | Modified: May. 16, 2013
Pickin’ on the Jones House

Instructor Deborah Jean Sheets leads a room full of guitar students.
Photos submitted

To supplement its current list of musical offerings, Boone’s Jones House Community Center will begin offering free public pickin’ parties in June.

The informal musical gatherings will begin each Thursday at 5 p.m.

“We have a long-standing tradition of music, including our Thursday evening jam sessions, and that will continue,” said Mark Freed, cultural resources director for the town of Boone. “These pickin’ parties are a break during our music lessons and offer an opportunity for folks to get involved in music. This is free and is (good) for folks unsure of playing, but are curious to learn a new instrument.”

Part of the musical introduction will include an instrument petting zoo, where people can “try out” more than 50 musical instruments to practice with.

The pickin’ parties are also geared toward intermediate players who wish to step their game up so to speak, Freed said.

This gives players a chance to “play a little bit with other folks in a coaching environment,” he said.
The Jones House’s traditional Thursday night jam session will follow the pickin’ parties at 7:30 p.m.
The pickin’ parties come in between the center’s schedule of paid music lessons and are structured as an introduction to rising players and those who enjoy traditional folk music.

“Come and check it out,” Freed said. “It’s free to try. If you’ve ever been interested in trying a folk instrument or learning more about them, then come on down. Maybe you’ve just wanted to learn what a ukulele or dulcimer is. Come down, and we can explain it, put an instrument in your hand, and show you how to strum. This will also be beneficial to those who already play something but want to try another instrument. This is also for younger players bouncing around and trying to find which instrument they would like (to learn).”

The center’s next music lesson series begins July 11. Freed said the paid lessons feature formal instruction in a group setting.

About the Jones House

The town of Boone acquired the historic Jones House in the early 1980s. The acquisition was made possible by Mazie Jones Levenson, daughter of John Walter Jones, who built the house in 1908, according to the center’s website.

Today, the house is listed on the National Historic Register and is home to the Downtown Boone Development Association, as well as gallery spaces and meeting place for community groups.

For more information about pickin’ parties or music lessons, contact Freed at (828) 262-4576.

Additional Images

Instructor Deborah Jean Sheets leads a room full of guitar students.
Photos submitted

Regular jammer Sam Gobble has fun with the banjo.

Instructor William Ritter points out banjo fingering to student Maia Yarborough at the Jones House Community Center.

Jammers gather in the Jones House parlor room.

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