By CHERIL VERNON
The Anderson County Arts Council will continue its series of special events this month with concerts to promote the arts featuring the HWY 19 Band.
A concert will be held at 7 p.m. Thursday for the general public at Ben E. Keith Community Center in Palestine.
Tickets are $10 for adults, $5 for students ages 6 to 16 and free for children age 5 and under.
Three concerts are planned at area schools on Thursday and Friday.
The first concert will be held at 1 p.m. Thursday at Slocum School for the Slocum Elementary students. Concerts also will be held at 10:30 a.m. and 1 p.m. Friday at Elkhart Elementary for the elementary and intermediate students.
All three of the concerts planned at the local schools will be free to local senior citizens.
The HWY 19 Band is made up of four acoustic musicians who play guitar, fiddle, banjo and bass. Tammy Hassell-Anderson is on guitar; her daughter Andi Huff plays fiddle; Daron Stone handles the bass duties; and Stuart Anderson is the banjo player.
While their music has a bluegrass foundation, material is drawn from various genres (country, gospel and pop) and any decade going all the way back to the Civil War.
The group has been performing together since 2007 when Hassell-Anderson wanted an outlet for her daughter to present her talents on the fiddle. There have been several changes in bass players. Otherwise the group has remained unchanged.
HWY 19 has performed at festivals, monthly music shows, churches, and a variety of other events. The group mainly plays in Texas. They have a CD, “Look Down that Lonesome Road,” that was recorded in 2011. Another CD is planned for next summer.
Dr. Stuart Anderson is a professor of mathematics at Texas A&M University-Commerce. His current specialization is history of mathematics, but he also has developed much material on the origins of the banjo and various types of music played on the instrument. He has presented programs on history through music at several schools around Texas. In 2009, he was named Regents Professor of the Texas A&M System. He also has received numerous teaching and service awards at the local, state, and national levels.
Hassell-Anderson is a business owner and has performed trio music much of her life. For the last six years she has been the lead singer and guitarist for the HWY 19 Band.
Huff started playing fiddle at age eight. She is currently a sophomore at Texas A&M University-Commerce.
Stone is a senior political science major at Rice University and will enter law school in the fall. He plays bass in the group, but has played piano since age 5 and has continued studying piano at Rice. Both Huff and Stone have attended the Texas School of Southern Gospel Music for multiple years.
The band members all have a common love of music in general and historical American music in particular.
The Anderson County Arts Council raised funds to plan the concerts. Donations can be sent to: Anderson County Arts Council, P.O. Box 2323, Palestine, Texas, 75802.