Thanks to the tireless efforts of Marci Wilcox and other volunteers, fingers were snapping, feet were tapping, heads were bobbing, and voices were humming to the music of Monroe Crossing and Ernie Evans’ Florida State Bluegrass Band at the Cedar Key School on Wednesday evening. Over 150 residents and visitors filled the auditorium at the nearly three-hour concert held to raise money for the school’s students.
Opening the evening was the Florida State Bluegrass Band with Ernie Evans on the guitar, Debbie Evans on the bass, Billie Swinson on the electronic guitar, and John Griffin on the banjo. “Ernie Evans and The Florida State Bluegrass Band represent what fans expect from bluegrass music today–an ability to bridge the gap between contemporary and traditional style,” boasts the band’s website. And, oh, so true, it was. The band’s rendition of “Carolina in the Pines,” “Dinah,” and “John Henry” mixed classical, jazz, and traditional bluegrass styles. The floridastatebluegrassband.com website hosts a remarkably busy schedule and wonderfully enjoyable audio and video clips.
Monroe Crossing, Minnesota’s Premier Bluegrass and Gospel Quintet, opened with the strong voice of Lisa Fuglie. Monroe’s website describes the group’s performance best: the quintet “dazzles audiences with an electrifying blend of classic bluegrass, bluegrass gospel, and heartfelt originals. Their airtight harmonies, razor sharp arrangements, and on-stage rapport make them audience favorites across the United States and Canada.” With Derek Johnson on guitar, Lisa Fuglie on fiddle and mandolin, Matt Thompson on mandolin and fiddle, Mark Anderson on bass, and David Robinson on banjo, the audience enjoyed their renditions of such songs as: “Long, Cool Woman in a Red Dress,” “At Last,” and “Joleen” as well as their own compositions.