(D&D Little Branson)
(Johnson Community Building)
(Mtn. Grove School)
(North Town Mall)
Webster Co. Opry
Competitions and Festivals:
Branson Fiddle Contest, Compton Ridge, and Ozarks
Ava and Ebenezer
McDowell Gold Jubilee
Every other Saturday
Between October and May
The well-attended event, which was started principally by Raymond
and Norma Clevenger, has been around for decades. Today
Betty and Benny Henderson manage the program, which features
country music and bluegrass. The Hendersons also play in
a band called Country Colors, pictured on the right (Betty on
bass; Benny on guitar on the right; Bob Nichols on guitar on
the left, and Raymond Thomas on fiddle).
|The weekly gathering is held in an old school building
in the small town of McDowell, and is similar to an opry in that
bands rotate on the stage. Although it is not a "true" jam
where musicians gather in a circle, it is open to everyone and
has an informal non-commercial quality. Anyone is allowed
to perform, admission is free (donations encouraged), and it has
a strong community atmosphere. The event, which starts at
7:00, will often last until after 1:30 A.M. Each single performer
is allowed three songs, and each group is allowed twenty minutes. Unlike
the other music events profiled in this project, the McDowell Gold
Jubilee is closed throughout the summer.
Directions from Springfield: drive southwest on US-60 for about
29 miles to Aurora; drive south on MO-39 for 4 miles; drive west
on MO-Z for 4 miles; drive south on MO-VV for 5 miles; the building
is on the left just before you enter the town of McDowell [See
map]. Photographs from November 11, 2000.
||As bands arrive and express an interest in playing,
Betty Henderson adds their names to a list on a large blackboard. Typically
around twenty-five bands play in a single night.
||A flashing light over the piano lets the groups know
their time is almost up. Flatcreek Bluegrass with Dallas
Hick sing old-time bluegrass music.
||Instruments typically include guitar, fiddle, mandolin,
banjo, and occasionally piano and dobro. This band features Flonnie
Henry on vocals and her husband Bill on guitar next to her.
||Over the years, the organizers have decided that
establishing some rules helps the performances run smoothly. Here
Betty Daniel sings with the group Country Line.
||Occasionally younger singers will bring contemporary
country songs to the audience. Here Mariah Hartkoff and Mandy
Ennis sing a Dixie Chicks song.
||In one of the side rooms off from the main performance
room, musicians enjoy jamming with each other.
||Betty sits in front of the concession stand. The
light at the entrance to the old school building shines bright
until late at night.