Musician entertains, educates kids

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Grammy Award-winning musician Dom Flemons plays his four string plectrum banjo and sings Friday at the Lucy Ann Boddie Brewer Unit of the Boys & Girls Clubs of the Tar River Region. Flemons played banjo, resophonic guitar, harmonica, rhythm bones and pan pipe for the club members and staff during his visit.


Staff Writer

Saturday, August 12, 2017

A group of local youths got a visit from a very special guest Friday at the Boys & Girls Clubs of the Tar River Region Lucy Ann Boddie Brewer Unit in Rocky Mount.

Grammy Award-winning musician Dom Flemons, who is a former member of the famed Carolina Chocolate Drops, stopped by the center to spend some time with its members and perform. Flemons’ visit, which was just one part of a daylong visit to Rocky Mount, was sponsored by Capitol Broadcasting and Rocky Mount Mills.

Boys & Girls Clubs of the Tar River Region Board Chairman David Joyner offered his thanks to both groups for making Flemons’ visit to the facility — and his performance Friday evening at Rocky Mount Mills — possible.

“We are so excited to have Dom here. He is such a great role model for these young people,” Joyner said. “We are just as thankful to Capitol Broadcasting and Rocky Mount Mills for their continued support of the Boys & Girls Clubs of the Tar River Region and for bringing Dom here to Rocky Mount.”

Flemons’ visit to the Boys & Girls Club unit at 405 West Raleigh Blvd. was highlighted by an intimate 30-minute concert for club members. The songs Flemons performed for the children, which included a variety of folk and bluegrass standards, quickly had their hands clapping and toes tapping while smiles beamed bright across their faces. He also shared stories related to the songs and some music theory and history lessons, including a surprising lesson about the banjo’s African-American roots.

Ron Green, Boys & Girls Clubs of the Tar River Region chief professional officer, said having Flemons visit was important because most of the club’s members likely were not familiar with him or with folk and bluegrass music.

“They’ll see a side of music, through Dom’s performance, that they don’t normally see,” Green said. “If we said Chance The Rapper was coming or some other star, they’d go crazy — so this gives them something different. I think this is a cool thing. It’s going to be different for them.”

The fun did not end for Flemons’ young audience after his concert ended. Once he was done performing his set, Flemons presented a short question-and-answer session for the children, to which they immediately responded.

One girl asked how he kept from getting bored playing the same songs multiple times. Another child asked how he reduced wear and tear on his bones and joints from playing so much. Other questions including his influences were also raised.

Flemons is not the only major celebrity to visit the organization’s Rocky Mount location. Green said famed pop star Trevor Jackson visited the facility in 2012.