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Public Screening Set for PBS Documentary on Jake Krack

An advance screening of the one-hour documentary scheduled for 7 p.m. Sept. 30, in Baird Lounge of the Alumni Building on Berea’s campus will kick-off with a brief performance by Jake and fellow members of the Berea Bluegrass Ensemble, the College band Jake performs with. Admission is free to this community-wide event, sponsored by Berea College and Campus Activities.

Jake Krack

PBS will feature Jake in a documentary to premier on public television stations throughout the United States on Thursday, October 7, 2004 at 10 p.m. EST (locally on KET2, channel 46). An advance screening of the one-hour documentary scheduled for 7 p.m. Sept. 30, in Baird Lounge of the Alumni Building on Berea’s campus will kick-off with a brief performance by Berea College student Jake Krack and fellow members of the Berea Bluegrass Ensemble, the College band Jake performs with. Jake is a young fiddler from West Virginia who play old time Appalachian music. Admission is free to this community-wide event, sponsored by Berea College and Campus Activities.

“Soundmix: Five Young Musicians,” profiles Krack and four other teenage musicians with deep connections to American musical traditions. Each story explores the music, mentors, communities and cultures that fuel the passions of these young players. The program includes hometown profiles and scenes from a workshop where the musicians meet for the first time and share their musical styles.

The one-hour special is also scheduled to air locally three additional times (EST): 4 a.m., Oct. 8; 5 a.m., Oct. 10 on KET2; and on KET1 (channel 13) on Wednesday, Oct. 27 at 10 p.m.

Jake, a Berea sophomore from Nicut, W. Va., is a seasoned performer and recording artist, who at age 19, has already notched a lifetime of achievements. He’s won places in many of the top mountain fiddle contests; recorded or played on eight CDs; appeared on radio’s “A Prairie Home Companion” and “Mountain Stage;” performed at the Kennedy Center in Washington D.C., and been featured on CNN and in the ”New York Times.

This summer he won the 33rd Annual 2004 Mt. Airy, N.C. Fiddlers Convention-Old Time Fiddle Contest; and with the "Whoopin Hollar Stringband, won the 69th annual Galax Fiddlers Convention in Galax, Va. and placed second at the Appalachian Stringband Festival in Clifftop, W.Va. Last summer, he performed at the Smithsonian Folklife Festival in Washington and also won the 68th Galax, Virginia fiddle contest. In 2002, in Charleston, W. Va., he took first place in the 26th annual Vandalia Gathering fiddle contest for fiddlers under the age of sixty, becoming the youngest contestant ever to win this award, and also in 2002 won the Mt. Airy, N.C. Old-Time Fiddle Contest.

Jake started playing the fiddle when he was three years old. When he was 11, he and his family moved from Indiana to West Virginia so they could be closer to the late master fiddler Melvin Wine, Jake's long-time mentor and friend. In West Virginia, master fiddlers Lester McCumbers and Bobby Taylor have also mentored Jake. Jake has studied with these fiddlers as part of the Augusta Heritage Center Folk Arts Apprenticeship Program.

"When I started learning I made a promise to Melvin, I've now made a promise to Lester and Bobby, that if they teach me, and they've taught me for free, then I will preserve it and keep it going and pass it on to somebody else who's younger," says Jake.

Jake's father makes all of his fiddles—including Jake's first one made out of cardboard. Jake's mom, an old time guitar player, practices and performs with Jake. They play together at festivals and local old time jams where musicians young and old come together to celebrate the unique music of the region.

At Berea, Jake leads a well-rounded life. His job in the College’s Labor Program is at Woodcraft. In addition to performing with the Berea Bluegrass Ensemble, led by Al White, veteran performer and guitar teacher at Berea, Jake is a member of the College’s Ultimate Frisbee Team.

Additional information is available at Jake’s website, www.jakekrack.com

In addition to Krack, "Soundmix" introduces Troy "Trombone Shorty" Andrews, a jazz horn player from New Orleans; Hovia Edwards, a Native American flute player from the Shoshone-Bannock Reservation in Fort Hall, Idaho; Camilo Molina Gaetan, a Latin drummer from New York City; and Gabrielle Athayde, a classical cellist and rock 'n roll bassist from the San Francisco Bay Area. Mentors featured in the program include trumpeter Wynton Marsalis, the late old time fiddle legend Melvin Wine and master Latin drummer Louis Bauzo.

Accompanying the broadcast is a website that includes lesson plans for middle- and high-school music and social studies classes.  This resource for schools can be found at www.freerangeproductions.org.

"Soundmix: Five Young Musicians" is a Free Range Productions project produced by Pamela Benson and Claudia Mogel. Major funding for the project was provided by the Corporation for Public Broadcasting Diversity Fund, with additional funding from the by Native American Public Telecommunications (NAPT). Additional outreach funding was provided by Latino Public Broadcasting (LPB).

For more information on Jake and the local screening contact: Julie Sowell, (859) 985-3028, or Jay Buckner, (859) 985-3023.

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