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Saturday, Apr. 30, 2016

Bluegrass gospel to ring out at festival

Friday, April 27, 2012

Members of the CrossPoint String Band are pictured left to right: Rick Vella, Shelley Kosiorek, Sarah Vella, Amanda Ladanye and Glenn Kosiorek.
(Submitted photo)
If you like sweet vocal harmonies, the bright twang of flat-picked instruments and the whine of a fiddle or two, there's a free event for you next week.

Shelbyville's own CrossPoint String Band is hosting its fifth annual Bluegrass Gospel Festival, bringing bluegrass reverberations to the Lions Club Pavilion at H.V. Griffin Park on Friday, May 4 from 6 to 9 p.m.

Ten-year tradition

While "fifth annual" implies a milestone in itself, CrossPoint String Band and its leader Glenn Kosiorek are especially excited that the festival will mark the family band's 10th year playing music together.

And it's been a long 10 years. They've played in 23 states, traveled more than 400,000 miles and played more than 1,000 shows.

CrossPoint is composed of Glenn, his wife of 29 years, Shelley, their older daughter Sarah and her husband, Rick Vella, and youngest daughter Amanda Ladanye.

Music begins

Evangelism has long been a passion of Kosiorek's, but music is a new passion of his, comparatively.

"In 1997 I heard a boy playing a banjo in Ohio, and it stirred me up so much that i bought a banjo and video." Kosiorek explained. "I struggled for a couple of years, then took some lessons. To my amazement, two years later we were all playing."

The CrossPoint family made their way to middle Tennessee some nine years ago during a visit to Victory Baptist. They enjoyed the fellowship, and heeded someone's advice to look into moving to the area.

"Once we were here, everything took off," Kosiorek said. "It was the combination of having a central location, the makeup of the people, and the responsiveness to us and the music that we've received. We've been blessed and hopefully we've been a blessing to others, too."

Gift to Shelbyville

"This [festival] is something we want to give back to Shelbyville for all they've given to us," Kosiorek said.

And it surely is a great gift to the city. With family string bands coming from across the state and as far away as Arkansas and Michigan, Kosiorek has surely utilized his mission and network of picking friends for the better of the community.

Bands performing include CrossPoint String Band, Ward Family Bluegrass, the Bosheers Family, the Balos Family, and the Arbana String Band.

"It's a great community event," said Kosiorek. "It's feeding a hunger that people have for bluegrass -- especially bluegrass gospel -- with a good, strong message. I'm hoping that this year, it will be bigger than ever."

From the heart

"We want to give high-quality music in a festival setting, but we're not looking for groups trying to put on a show," explained Kosiorek. "We're looking for people who are doing it from the heart for the Lord. We've just found that a lot of people want that."

Kosiorek also expressed his gratefulness to the Shelbyville Parks and Recreation Department for all of their help with the even through the years. Silvia Pinson and Jennifer Swann have been a great help to Kosiorek in bring his festival to life.

The event is "rain or shine," and there will be BBQ pork available for purchase. Festival-goers are invitd to bring their instruments to pick after the concert. There's no charge for the concert, but a free-will offering will be collected to help with the bands' expenses and travel costs.

Learn more

If you have any questions about the festival contact Glenn Kosiorek, (931) 205-7105.

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