Bluegrass minus the graybeards
The average age of the Bluegrass at the Lake crowd was about 50, with a few gray beards sprinkled in among the spectators.
The elder statesman of the first featured act, KBA Treblemakers, is 14. Guitar player Dawson Tarrant of Conway Springs had the most experience of any of his five band mates; he’s been playing with different lineups of the Treblemakers since he was 10 years old.
The youngest member of the band, banjo player Mason Ruble of Minneapolis, is 10.
Band manager Karla Campbell of Wichita said the band is designed to bring a younger group of musicians to bluegrass.
It was created by the Kansas Bluegrass Association in 2009. The band was paid to perform at Bluegrass at the Lake through sponsorship money for the event.
Band members, seperated by about 160 miles, were auditioned for the group. Their talent exceeds their experience.
Alyssa Carlson of Falun plays 14 instruments. In addition to stand-up bass, which she plays for the group, she also plays cello, oboe, saxophone, mandoline, and guitar. Oboe is her best instrument, she said.
Wayne Ruble of Minneapolis had just started playing mandolin when he joined the Treblemakers in February. He said the transition from guitar has been easy.
“It’s just backward from the guitar,” he said.
This iteration of the band, with Caitlin Carlson on violin, has only played concerts together four times, including the Bluegrass at the Lake.
Band members are still developing chemistry.
“It’s fun for them to get to know each other,” Campbell said.
Some already do. Alyssa and Caitlin Carlson are sisters, and Wayne and Mason are brothers.
“The girls don’t have brothers and the boys don’t have sisters,” Campbell said.