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Music to everyones ears
Brandon McCoy
Brandon McCoy, above, evoked memories of Woody Guthrie with his performance. - photo by Photo by Rick Lott

This past weekend was filled with music as the Effingham Arts Council’s first Acoustic Music Festival took the stage over two days. Saturday’s lineup was held at the Effingham Board of Education’s Auditorium on Ash Street in Springfield and Sunday was a patriotic performance by the Effingham Community Orchestra at the ECRP Gym in Springfield.

Saturday’s performances included musicians from Effingham County as well as Savannah and featured nine different performers. Harry O’Donoghue, one of the area’s favorite Irish singer/songwriters headlined the day’s events, giving a rousing performance complete with audience participation. The stories O’Donoghue told of his homeland between songs were as entertaining as the traditional Irish tunes.

The day’s lineup got started with the strong country style of Josh Sanders. He was followed by young folk/pop area favorites, the Pace Brothers, Ethan and Julian. Julian carried the vocals and guitar work while younger brother, Ethan, switched from fiddle to stand up bass on original and cover songs. The show producers were grateful to Tracey Pace for running sound for the day.

The day was filled with a mix of completely different musical styles, which proved entertaining and educational. Savannah folk singers Daniel Shinall and Brandon McCoy had their own styles, with Shinall sounding like a young Bob Dylan and McCoy evoking Woody Guthrie in some of his ballads.

The musical gods were smiling and tapping their toes when Michael Maddox and Joe Nelson took the stage. Maddox played some tunes from the 1920s and ’30’s that were downright fun, as he played guitar, fiddle, ukulele and banjo-ukulele as well. He had the audience howling with his rendition of “Carve That Possum, Children.” Joe Nelson, an old friend of Maddox’s (both were founding members of the Savannah Folk Music Society), played some of country’s historic and authentic blues music.

Capping off the day was a performance by local musicians Nick Webb and Emily Hendrix. Hendrix’s vocals were exceptionally smooth and strong and Webb’s guitar work and harmonies tied it all together and put a bow on top.

“The festival was awesome — a bit of everything, including blues, my personal favorite,” said Roy Davis. “If the quality next year is as great as this year, people will be in for a thoroughly entertaining experience and not even leave the county.”

Andrea Huff, director of the Effingham Community Orchestra, said the Sunday performance was wonderful. They had a great audience who even supported their annual silent auction well. Audience favorites for the performance included “Georgia On My Mind” by the clarinet ensemble, which got a rousing round of applause, Tchaikovsky’s “1812 Overture” and John Philip Sousa’s “Stars and Stripes Forever,” both of which garnered standing ovations.

The Effingham Council for the Arts plans to make this an annual event in its programming lineup.

The next event is the Summer Arts Camp of Excellence, which begins May 24. Deadline for applications has been extended to May 7. For more information on the camp or the Arts Council, call 912-228-2028 or email: