Take a walk across the campus of Somerset Community College and you may encounter Avery Bradshaw. Odds are, however, that you will pass the unassuming nineteen-year-old student without taking notice.
If you were to find yourself in Renfro Valleys Old Barn Theater on a Thursday, Friday or Saturday evening, though, Bradshaws presence would be difficult to ignore. The college freshman is a featured performer, specializing in the banjo, at the entertainment center in Mount Vernon, KY.
Bradshaw began taking banjo lessons at age nine and has been honing his craft on stage since he was fourteen.
The banjo is my niche, he says. I took lessons for about a year and the rest Ive picked up along the way.
Bradshaw will be performing at SCC on April 1, 2016 as lunchtime entertainment at the Arnow Conference on Appalachian Literature and Culture. The conference, which honors celebrated novelist Harriette Simpson Arnow, brings together writers, scholars, academics, and others interested in literature and the arts for presentations, readings, and writing workshops.
This years conference will feature Robert Gipe, author of Trampoline: An Illustrated Novel; Arnow scholar Martha Billips; former Kentucky Poet Laureate Gurney Norman, author of Divine Rights Trip and Kinfolks; and Bobbi Buchanan, whose poetry collection Listen: Essays on Living the Good Life was published by Ginkgo Leaf Press in 2013. The conference will also include musician and storyteller Jonathan New.
Bradshaw is excited to be performing for Arnow Conference attendees.
I love that I have the opportunity to share my music at the conference, he said. I am looking forward to entertaining you all.
In addition to the banjo, he is also proficient on acoustic and pedal steel guitars, as well as bass, mandolin and harmonica.
As part of the show, Bradshaw mixes comedy with his playing. In fact, on the Renfro Valley website, he is listed as a Banjo/Comedian.
My entertainer side is just to act goofy and down-to-earth with the crowd, he said. I try to make it entertaining, to keep the audiences attention. I feel like that's my service to the world, to maybe make somebody happy with what I do.
The 14th annual Arnow Conference will be held on Friday, April 1 at SCC. It will begin in the Harold Rogers Student Commons on the Somerset North Campus, with registration starting at 8:30 a.m. The registration fee is $25 and includes a light breakfast and lunch.
For more information, visit www.somerset.kctcs.edu/arnowconference[BROKEN LINK].