Mark Vann Foundation

 Mark Vann Foundation Benefit :: Boulder Theater :: Dec. 16

Let’s Pick!: Mark Vann Foundation hosts annual benefit at Boulder Theater

markvannbanjo.jpg copy

By Vince Herman

from Leftover Salmon

& Great American Taxi


Boy Howdy folks!


Through concerts, individual donations and merchandise sales, the Mark Vann Foundation — formed after the untimely passing of Leftover Salmon banjo extraordinaire Mark Vann — has been able to lend assistance to the Music Maker Relief Foundation, Conscious Alliance and the Tipitina’s Foundation. These organizations help needy musicians throughout the South and especially those affected by Hurricane Katrina.


The Mark Vann Foundation has helped preserve hundreds of hours of musical history through the Steam Powered Preservation Society, and has helped disabled kids gain independence through The Beginning Steps Foundation in San Francisco. The Mark Vann Foundation has also been encouraging kids to develop careers in the arts through the Van Go Mobile Arts Center in Lawrence, Kansas. This innovative, community-funded program helps kids get commissions for artwork placed in the community, from murals to benches. Kids at the workshop work on making a difference in their community and getting paid for it. Mark would have been particularly happy to encourage kids to make that leap of faith and pursue a career in the arts, having made that leap himself.


Van Go BIG!


The Mark Vann Foundation is also particularly excited about making music lessons affordable for kids wanting to work at it. By working with teachers in town, like John “Black Dog” Ridnell, they’re planting seeds for the next generation of pickers. Anyone knowing of a kid who could benefit from this aspect of the foundation’s work should let us know through


The Mark Vann Foundation will be hosting a wild picking party this month at the Boulder Theater to help the foundation do some of these good things in Mark’s name. Many of Boulder’s finest pickers will be there picking, singing and having a good time in order to do all of that.


The Shanti Groove boys will be going at it in that rock and roll bluegrass style with Jason “Mudflap” Flournoy on the five string. Flournoy is a real student of the BanJovi style which Mark pioneered and is carrying the torch well.

Arthur Lee Land’s innovative “bluegrassish” band will keep the place in boogie formation along with another banjo-less band, Great American Taxi. The Taxi is a pile of pickers devoted to bringing the hippies back to country music. Taxi keyboard player Chad Staehly has done all the legwork for this show and has been a major force on the Mark Vann Foundation Board.


Dr. and Nurse Banjo, Pete and Joan Wernick, will be on hand to put some banjo back into the night, along with the side project of Yonder Mountain String Band banjo picker Dave Johnston, who will bring his band Swingset.




As is the tradition of these holiday picking parties, there is no telling who will show up to celebrate our community and do a little good, while remembering our fallen compadre. Remembering the past, planting seeds for the future and having a good time while doing it.

Let’s PICK!


Mark Vann Foundation Benefit :: Boulder Theater :: Dec. 16


Spectate if you Gravitate:

• Leftover Salmon

• Shanti Groove

• Banjo jokes

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