The Surry Arts Council’s Old-Time Music Heritage Hall has a new home at the Earle Theatre at 142 North Main Street in downtown Mount Airy. A ribbon-cutting was held at the Tommy Jarrell Festival on Saturday, February 25. The hall was previously located beneath the Andy Griffith Museum.
The hall honors many of the giants of Surry County old-time music who have been highly influential in the perpetuation and revitalization of old-time music locally and across the country. Among them are Tommy Jarrell, Fred Cockerham, Kyle Creed, Benton Flippen, Verlen Clifton, Earnest East, Clyde Johnson, Paul Sutphin, Ralph Epperson, and Jimmy Vipperman.
Exhibits include larger-than-life portraits of the musicians and accompanying audio presentations which enable visitors to hear the musicians play and talk about their music in their own words. A new display case in the lobby of the theatre showcases a Jarrell family fiddle, a pair of Benton Flippen’s Stetson hats, a tabletop microphone from radio station WPAQ, awards, and historic photographs.
The hall is open seven days a week. The Earle Theatre, formerly the Downtown Cinema, also hosts jam sessions, radio broadcasts, music workshops, performances, and community dances.
The Old-Time Music Heritage Hall was developed with grant support from the Blue Ridge National Heritage Area Partnership.