DISCOVER SOME HIGHLIGHTS OF THE COMMUNITY OUTREACH DEERING HAS DONE BY READING BELOW.
DISCOVER SOME HIGHLIGHTS OF THE COMMUNITY OUTREACH DEERING HAS DONE BY READING BELOW.
HIGHLIGHTS OF DEERING COMMUNITY OUTREACH
Beginning in 2019 Jamie Deering has served on the local Casa de Oro Alliance Board for the San Diego region she was born in, and the home of the Deering Banjo Company factory. The Casa de Oro Alliance (CDOA) is committed to the economic and social development of the Casa De Oro community. This includes community clean-ups, organizing sidewalk installations, public safety and equality, and creating growth and improvement of the area. They are 100% volunteer based.
In the summer of 2020 Janet Deering was asked to take on, and accepted the roll of Chair for the Casa de Oro Alliance Advisory Committee made up of local community leaders, business owners and residents who advise and support the CDOA Board efforts.
Donated a Goodtime Banjo with custom drum head with “This Machine Surrounds Hate & Forces it to Surrender” circling it, along with an accessory package to the California Bluegrass Association to raise funds for musicians out of work due to Covid 19.
Through friendships made in her first trip down to South Africa in 2016, Jamie Deering stayed in touch with an elephant sanctuary of the Rory Hensman Conservation & Research Unit (RHCRU) doing important work. In her visit down in 2019 she was able to spend more time with the elephants and they "kissed" a banjo head for her. With this the custom Elephant Charity Banjo was created and auctioned off online in 2020. The proceeds were donated to the dedicated work the RHCRU does. This is a South African based non-profit who researches and educates toward handling a wide variety of issues to better understand and help African elephants continue to live healthy and safe lives. They have the mission to foster an environment of collaboration among experts, fueled by the common passion to conserve wildlife. Conservation starts with understanding.
Amid the world pandemic Deering sponsored the Porch Pride: A Bluegrass Pride Queer-antine Festival. This aired over the weekend of June 27th and 28th 2020. This was a streaming festival featuring more than ten hours of live music over what would’ve been Pride weekend in San Francisco. This contributed to the performers being paid for this event. As Justin Hiltner, IBMA-nominated banjo player of the year and chair of Bluegrass Pride’s Board of Directors shares- “Porch Pride reinforces that our mission is about people first and foremost and that Bluegrass Pride exists everywhere—from the Bay Area to Appalachia to New England and beyond!”.
Donated a White Lotus banjo to the Bela Fleck: Blue Ridge Banjo Camp that was signed by the 2019 Camp instructors: Bela Fleck, Tony Trischka, Kristin Scott-Benson, Noam Pikelny and Alan Munde. This was auctioned off on the Deering website for the Camp to raise funds for sponsoring deserving players in the next Camp year.
Giving back to the region where all Deering and Goodtime Banjos are made and in honor of Mumford & Sons headlining the local KAABOO Del Mar Fest, the San Diego Charity Banjo was created and personally signed by Mumford & Sons. It was auctioned off online benefiting an incredible local San Diego non-profit: The Voices of Our City Choir. The Choir has been transforming the perception and experience of homelessness through the healing power of the arts. Founded in 2016 by San Diego based musicians, the choir serves as a space for mutual aid and community building, as well as giving voice to San Diego's homeless community. They have grown and continued in their community work since, you may have caught them bringing down the house in the 2020 season of America’s Got Talent.
In the spirit of giving to the communities welcoming them, Mumford & Sons and Deering Banjos continued with the Delta Tour Charity Banjos January through August of 2019. In total for this year 21 custom one-of-a-kind Artisan Goodtime Banjos were crafted representing locations the band played on their Delta tour around the world. Each were personally signed by Mumford & Sons and auctioned online benefitting hand-picked local human needs charities in the tour regions; ranging from all around the US and Europe, to Wales and all the way south to Australia. These were auctioned off raising $64,323 that went to benefit the charities.
Through friends in the music community Deering learned of Lazarus and his mission. Lazarus has albinism, which in his home country Malawi and surrounding countries makes you a target for attacks and killings. He has bravely dedicated his life to handling these longstanding abuses through advocacy, education and music. When Deering was informed of his need for a new instrument to record and perform with others on they created and donated to him this properly scaled Goodtime 4-string Oil Can-Banjo, or as it was nicknamed “Can-jo". The response from Lazarus on his new instrument was "It's so fantastic! My home made canjo has strings made from bike brake cables and they're jagged and used to cut my fingers, especially when I was busking every day, sometimes 7 hours each day. This new canjo also stays in tune very well. I love it!" Deering has since helped educate others on this human rights atrocity and the work of Lazarus so others can also lend support to his mission and music. You can read the full story here.
Greg and Jamie Deering volunteered their time to be an active member in the 2018 NAMM Fly In. Each year, a group of National Association of Music Merchant members and special guests gather in Washington, D.C. to serve as advocates for the right of every child to learn and grow with music by meeting with their elected representatives on Capitol Hill.
At the Walnut Valley Festival this year Deering provided six banjos at no cost and participated in the Feisty Music Camp for kids! This is an education program brought in by the festivals introducing kids to many musical instruments with hands on experience. Deering continued in providing banjos for this workshop in 2019.
In November of 2018 Mumford & Sons kicked off their Delta Would Tour. Continuing in the spirit of giving to the communities welcoming them, Mumford & Sons and Deering banjos continued their philanthropic partnership with 8 one-of-a-kind Delta Tour Charity banjos. Human needs charities helping real people daily were hand-picked for each tour location. A Custom Artisan Goodtime Two banjo representing each location of 2018 around the UK and Eastern US was created by Deering and signed by each member of the band. These were auctioned off raising $43,600 that went to benefit the charities.
In contribution to the Bluegrass Music Hall of Fame & Museum grand opening of their new facilities in Owensboro, KY, Deering donated a Calico banjo and Artisan Goodtime Two. These banjos were for and remain part of the museums Picking Room where visitors of all ages are welcome to take them off the wall and play them.
Deering donated a custom Goodtime Banjo to Europe’s largest bluegrass festival, La Roche Bluegrass Festival. Located in the French Alps close to Geneva, this is the destination for pickers all over Europe. Not only is there jamming among many nationalities, all the concerts are free and brought to life by the community of the historic French town La Roche. With all this festival has given to the bluegrass community of Europe and extending across to American artists and fans, Deering wanted to give back and thank them. They did so by donating a one-of-a-kind custom Goodtime Banjo with the 2018 La Roche Festival logo burned into the peghead! During the festival this was auctioned off. The proceeds went to the festival's chosen beneficiary “Association Art de Vivre”, a group of volunteers who work with a retirement home in La Roche. They provide companionship, organized outings, and shows enriching the lives of those who need it in their community.
Deering Banjo Company and Elderly Instruments of Lansing, MI, partnered in offering Deering’s 100,000th milestone Sierra banjo, up for special auction where all proceeds went directly to the IBMA Trust Fund. In 2014 Deering Banjos achieved a milestone in banjo manufacturing history, building their 100,000th banjo! To commemorate the achievement the banjo was presented to longtime friend Stan Werbin, owner of Elderly Instruments, who has been a dedicated Deering Dealer for 40 of Deering Banjos 41+ years. The 100,000th banjo is a custom Sierra, a long-standing flagship in the Deering line.
The International Bluegrass Music Association Trust Fund was established in 1987 as a means to offer financial assistance to bluegrass music professionals in times of emergency. Often the Fund is called on for medical emergencies, at times of death, natural disaster or other hardships. $8,000 was raised for the Trust Fund in this special banjo auction.
Deering donated a Goodtime Banjo for a fundraiser benefitting the Veterans Village of San Diego which has served America's Veterans in overcoming homelessness and related challenges since 1981 and is dedicated to “Leave No One Behind.” Each year VVSD provides services to more than 3,000 military veterans throughout San Diego County.
The founders of Voices of Our City Choir reached out to Deering when they discovered one of their choir members had always wanted to learn to play the banjo. Deering made it happen to donate a Goodtime banjo to the Choir who presented it to him at one of their rehearsals. The Voices of Our City Choir is transforming the perception and experience of homelessness through the healing power of the arts. Founded in 2016 by San Diego based musicians, the choir serves as a space for mutual aid and community building, as well as giving voice to San Diego's homeless community. They have grown and continued in their community work since, you may have caught them bringing down the house in the 2020 season of America’s Got Talent.
Deering donated a high-end banjo and auctioned it online in partnership with The Bluegrass Situation to help fellow banjo builder, Romero banjos, who had just lost everything in a workshop fire. The banjo donated was a Deering Deluxe 5-string banjo, included was a banjo head that Jamie Deering had gotten autographed by Ed Helms and all the guests at the 2016 Bluegrass Situation Bonnaroo Superjam (including Sam Bush, Sara and Sean Watkins, the Steep Canyon Rangers, Lee Ann Womack, and many others). The proceeds for this auction were sent in full to the Romero family. Their loss hit very close to home for Jamie, "The Romeros make beautiful banjos, and I love the old-time folk style of music they play," she shared. "I can only imagine if something like this had happened to my folks in the early years of Deering and how devastating it would have been. The entire Deering family and crew are happy to help in this way and look forward to hearing they are back going strong again.” You can read the full story here.
Partnering with Mumford & Sons, Deering created 13 one-of-a-kind Charity Banjos for each concert on their USA Arrow Through the Heartland Tour in April 2016. Care was spent to find effective local human needs charity organizations in each location to benefit from these special banjo auctions. These ranged from local food banks and homeless solutions, to youth health and education support.
As Mumford & Son’s home country, great pride was taken in making this one of a kind banjo a true representation of Britain. On Friday July 8th, 2016 the day Mumford & Sons performed in Hyde Park as part of the British Summer Concert Series in London, the Great Britain banjo was signed by Mumford & Sons. The auction to win it went live online July 9th benefitting the respected UK school Ark, specifically their music program. Ark is an international charity, transforming lives through education. Ark exists to ensure that every young person, regardless of their background, has access to a great education and real choices in life. During the week of the auction friend of the band Bobby Banjo, and Jamie Deering also visited one of the Ark school music classes and gave a free banjo workshop to the students.
Deering teamed up with The Avett Brothers and Cheerwine for the fifth and final year of the Legendary Giveback Campaign! This saw another one-of-a-kind Cheerwine Banjo created and auctioned online raising funds to benefit Hungry for Music. Since their establishment in 1992 Hungry for Music has placed more than 14,000 instruments into the hands of aspiring musicians. Children whose trajectory has been altered by the uplifting and life-changing gift of music.
Sixteen-year-old Ashe County High School student Trajan Wellington was presented with the 2016 Brian Friesen Award at the MerleFest Jam Camp on Wednesday, April 27. “It’s just a great honor. I don’t even feel like I deserve it, there’s a thousand other people that could’ve got it before me,” Wellington said. “I’m just blessed they decided to choose me, I can’t even describe it in words.” Greg, Janet and Jamie Deering, flew to Wilkesboro from California early Wednesday morning to personally deliver the Brian Friesen Award Deluxe banjo to Wellington. “He’s grown into being a very fine picker, and he was in a situation where he couldn’t afford a good instrument, and he’s very deserving of one,” Greg Deering said about Wellington. “That’s the foundation of what the Brian Friesen Award has always been: Helping a young man or a young woman who is showing great promise and needs something special to happen.” Tray became the second musician of color to receive the Brian Friesen Award, following Michael Morrison in 1998. He has become a respected professional musician, now playing Bluegrass, Jazz, Blues and much more. In 2019 Tray won the IBMA Momentum Instrumentalist of the Year award.
*The Brian Friesen Award was established in 1995, scroll to that year to learn how it started and who it is presented to.
Not only is California the home state for Deering Banjos, but in honor of Mumford & Sons concerts in the Golden State this year Deering created the one of a kind California Goodtime Charity Banjo! This was signed by the band at the San Diego show and auctioned online benefitting the NAMM Foundation. The NAMM Foundation (National Association of Musical Merchants Foundation) works to advance access to music education and active participation in music making across the lifespan by supporting scientific research, philanthropic giving and public service programs. The NAMM Foundation programs include advocacy, music making grants to domestic and international non-profits; research; award recognition for dedicated music programs; professional development programs; and strategic partnerships to advance music making at all levels.
Together with Mumford & Sons, Deering created 11 custom European Charity Banjos, for each country the band played on their European tour this year. Countries including Finland, Sweden, Norway, Denmark, Germany, Switzerland, Austria, Czech Republic, France, Holland, and Belgium. These unique banjos were auctioned off online with proceeds going to meaningful human needs charities local to the areas of the tour addressing areas from homelessness and children in need, to food to the hungry and elderly care, and much more.
In February of this year Deering had the opportunity to take the banjo back to its roots in Africa and help the people there through three special South Africa Mumford & Son Charity Banjos. Jamie Deering visited this beautiful country for the first time to manage this campaign and had the privilege to see the work of the Cape Town charity with one of its founders, Paul Hooper. The Homestead Project for Street Children is a grass roots organization founded in 1982, providing outreach, stabilization, residential care, family reunification and job creation programs to children living, working and begging on the streets of Cape Town. They have helped thousands of children get off the street and living fulfilling lives. Over $8,000 in total was raised for these charities through their banjo auctions. You can read more about this here.
Cape Town, SA- The Homestead Project for Street Children
Durban, SA- Gods Golden Acres Orphanage
Pretoria, SA- The Potato Foundation, for Neglected and Forgotten Children
In June of 2016 until 2019 Jamie Deering joined and volunteered her time to the NAMM Young Professionals (YP) Board. This is a fully volunteer run, non-governing board under the umbrella of The National Association of Music Merchants (NAMM) with the purpose of being a home and networking community for those young professional entering the music products industry. This ranges from manufacturing teams, to retail stores and everything in-between. As a NAMM YP member, at no cost, one is invited to exclusive NAMM YP events where one can connect with like-minded peers, build solid business relationships that can turn into lifelong friendships, and learn from the veterans who've shaped the industry. The National Association of Music Merchants (NAMM) is the not-for-profit association with a mission to strengthen the music products industry. NAMM is comprised of approximately 10,300 members located in 104 countries and regions. NAMM events and members fund The NAMM Foundation's efforts to promote the pleasures and benefits of music, and advance active participation in music making across the lifespan of all people.
After a summer of providing and managing the auctions for the Gentlemen of the Road Charity Banjos, benefiting various human needs organizations throughout the US and UK. As the summer came to a close and the auctions were completed Mumford & Sons asked if Deering could create similar charity banjos for their tour Down Under in November 2015. One custom Goodtime Banjo personally signed by the band for each city of their Australia/New Zealand tour destinations was created. Proceeds went to four equally amazing and noble organizations doing much to help those in need:
Brisbane, Australia- Red Cross of Brisbane
Auckland, New Zealand- Auckland City Mission
Melbourne, Australia- Feed Melbourne
Sydney, Australia- White Ribbon
For the fourth year Deering, Cheerwine and The Avett Brothers partnered in the Legendary Giveback Campaign! Deering designed and built the "Legendary Giveback IV Banjo" unique and different from the previous ones. It was inspired by the campaign artwork by Mariano Arcamone, an artist from Argentina. This was donated and auctioned off as part of the Legendary Giveback IV fundraising to benefit these charities:
Through the years of 2015 to 2018 Greg volunteered his time serving on the NAMM Board of Directors. The National Association of Music Merchants (NAMM) is the not-for-profit association with a mission to strengthen the music products industry. NAMM is comprised of approximately 10,300 members located in 104 countries and regions. NAMM events and members fund The NAMM Foundation's efforts to promote the pleasures and benefits of music, and advance active participation in music making across the lifespan of all people. Each NAMM board member serves a three-year term and provides oversight, input, and direction to the NAMM organization. This all-volunteer board of directors is a remarkable group of industry leaders who through their advisement help to advance and strengthen the industry.
In celebration of Deering Banjo Company’s 40th Anniversary, Deering organized and put on a Benefit Concert on the iconic “Star of India” Ship in the San Diego Harbor. This benefitted the “Music In the Schools” programs of the local San Diego Music Foundation. Through live and silent auctions throughout the night, and an evening of music including the Kruger Brothers, $12,800 was raised for the Foundation through this event. In the photograph is the MC for the evening celebration, local San Diego News personality Brad Perry, in the middle of an entertaining live auction of a Sierra Banjo signed by Steve Martin.
Carrying on with their work together benefitting the towns Mumford & Sons brought their Stopover events to, Deering created and donated five Gentlemen of the Road Charity Banjos for the Stopovers in 2015, These are a global series of events in small cities and towns around the world, celebrating local people, food, and culture, where everyone pitches in and everybody gets something back. Each one-of-a-kind banjo was signed by all four members of the band and auctioned off with all proceeds going to a local human-needs charity in each Stopover location around the world:
Seaside Heights, NJ- Big Brothers Big Sisters, Ocean County
Waverley, IA- Waverly-Shell Rock Area United Way
Aviemore, Scotland UK- Aviemore Medical Practice
Walla Walla, WA- Walla Walla Housing Authority
Salida, CO- Chaffe County Family & Youth Initiatives.
For a second year Deering contributed their time and efforts at each Mumford & Sons Stopover festival (locations above). They brought a slew of banjos and several banjo teachers who gave free one-on-one and group banjo lessons throughout the two day event to those attending. By the end of each 10-15 minute lesson they had people playing and singing along to the timeless classic “You Are My Sunshine”. Hundreds of people played the banjo for the first time, for several it was their first time playing an instrument at all. Many thanks to the teachers who joined Deering for these events, including John & Trish Kavanaugh of Kavanjo Banjo Pickups, Bennett Sullivan, Arthur Hancock, Galen Green, Charlie Schwartz of Bob’s Guitars music shop and David Bandrowski.
Greg and Janet Deering volunteered their time to be an active member in the 2015 NAMM Fly In. Each year, a group of National Association of Music Merchant members and special guests gather in Washington, D.C. to serve as advocates for the right of every child to learn and grow with music by meeting with their elected representatives on Capitol Hill. While there Deering donated a Goodtime Banjo Ukulele to a local elementary school with a ukulele music program.
Deering volunteered their time and resources in building an interactive workbench for the Museum of Making Music’s Banjo Exhibit “Banjo: A New Day for an Old Instrument” in Carlsbad, Ca. This was a work bench with the main parts of the banjo laid out so they could be taken apart and put together interactively by all those visiting the museum.
Deering, Cheerwine and The Avett Brothers teamed up for a third consecutive year for the Legendary Giveback III Campaign. As part of this Deering created a new one of a kind “Cheerwine Red” maple banjo with custom banjo head bearing the campaign art and signed by The Avett Brothers. This was donated and auctioned off as part of the Legendary Giveback III fundraising to benefit these charities:
Brian Friesen award presented to 12-year-old Liam Purcell from Deep Gap, North Carolina. He began learning to play guitar when he was only 5 through music lessons at their local Community Center. By the age of 10 Liam had learned to play five instruments: banjo, guitar, fiddle, mandolin and dulcimer. Liam was presented the Brian Friesen Award banjo of an Eagle II by Pete Wernick and Janet Deering on stage at the Merlefest Festival in April 2014. Liam has continued to play music to this day and is an active part of the music community as a multi-instrumentalist in Liam Purcell & Cane Mill Road.
In contributing to the Earl Scruggs Center in Lenoir, NC, Deering donated 7 Goodtime banjos for the museum’s use. These have been used in teaching about the history of the banjo, as well as banjo lessons and workshops for visitors and members of the community.
Deering donated approximately 800 banjo parts, maple necks and rims, that became the “Banjo Stand” surrounding the statue of Sir Walter Raleigh in front of the Raleigh, NC Convention Center during the International Bluegrass Music Association’s World of Bluegrass Conference from 2014 – 2018. This was a space open to the public, and created a gathering place for jamming and photos for people during this event for these years. In 2019 this was transformed into a permanent installation of art that now hangs in the Raleigh Convention Center.
In collaboration with the Forecastle Festival and the brand Kentucky For Kentucky, Deering donated a Goodtime Classic banjo with a custom Kentucky Kicks Ass banjo head made by Remo. This was signed by the musicians playing the festival and included as part of the Silent Auction at the fest raising funds for The Forecastle Foundation. This Foundation is a non-profit with the mission to protect and connect the world’s natural awesome by funding projects that help protect the world’s natural resources with a focus on biodiversity hotspots. Deering continued in this collaboration donating the Kentucky Kicks Ass banjo to raise funds at the festival for the Forecastle Foundation in 2015 and 2016.
In 2013 Jamie was elected by the members of the non-profit music association, the International Bluegrass Music Association, to serve on the Board of Directors representing Merchandisers and Luthiers. This is a fully volunteer governing Board with the purpose of oversight, input, and direction in carrying out the mission of IBMA: to connect, educate, and empower bluegrass professionals and enthusiasts, honor tradition and encourage innovation in the bluegrass community worldwide. A significant function of IBMA is the formation and funding of the IBMA Trust Fund that gives real support for bluegrass professionals in times of emergency need. In 2016 Jamie was reelected to this Board position and completed a second term, 6 and a half years in total, in service to the Bluegrass music community.
Deering donated 4 Goodtime Banjos to the Musical Instrument Museum in Phoenix, AZ. These were for their hands-on interactive room and have been enjoyed by thousands of visitors of all ages since.
For a second year Deering teamed up with The Avett Brothers and Cheerwine on Legendary Giveback-II, a one-night-only charity benefit concert at North Charleston Coliseum in South Carolina. For this Deering created the Legendary Giveback II Vega Senator banjo. It was personally signed by The Avett Brothers the night of the concert and donated to be part of the nights fundraising efforts in benefit of these charities:
Mumford & Sons began the Gentlemen of the Road Stopovers in 2012, a global series of events in small cities and towns around the world. The vision was to create a music festival that celebrated local people, food, and culture, where everyone pitches in and everybody gets something back. With this same spirit Deering created five one-of-a-kind “Gentlemen of the Road Banjos” - one for each Stopover for 2013. Each was signed by all four members of the band and auctioned off with the proceeds going to hand picked local human-needs charities in each Stopover town:
Lewes, UK – The Oyster Project
Simcoe, CAN - Norfolk Association for Community Living
Troy, OH - The Corner Cupboard
Guthrie, OK- Logan Community Services
St. Augustine, FL- Communities in Schools of St. John’s County
For each Mumford & Sons Stopover festival in the summer of this year (locations above) Deering volunteered their time and efforts and brought a slew of banjos and several banjo teachers who gave free one-on-one and group banjo lessons throughout the two day event to those attending. By the end of each 10-15 minute lesson they had people playing and singing along to the timeless classic “You Are My Sunshine”. Hundreds of people played the banjo for the first time, for several it was their first time playing an instrument at all. Many thanks to the teachers who joined Deering for these events, including Arthur Hancock, Ben Wright of The Henhouse Prowlers, Ashley Campbell, Mike Pham, Vinnie Carlini, Lynn Hancock, Eagle Music Shop, Chad Kopotic and David Bandrowski.
The Avett Brothers, Cheerwine, the legendary soft drink of the South, and Deering joined their resources in an effort to help improve the world community through the Legendary Giveback. In contribution to this campaign Deering created the very first “Cheerwine Red” maple banjo with a custom head signed by The Avett Brothers. This was donated and auctioned off as part of the Legendary Giveback fundraising efforts benefiting these charities:
As part of a special fundraiser event put on by The Bluegrass Situation in Los Angeles, Deering created and donated a Goodtime Banjo with the LA Bluegrass Situation logo on the drum head. This was live auctioned off by Ed Helms to raise funds for “LA Music in Schools” programs.
In partnership with local San Diego radio station 94.9 and Dropkick Murphys, Deering donated a Dropkick Murphys Tenor Goodtime Banjo signed by the band. This was auctioned off online to raise funds for the Autism Discovery Institute at Rady Children’s Hospital. The mother who won the auction got it for her teenage son with autism who is a massive Dropkick Murphys fan. He was very excited about getting one of their banjos and learning to play. Deering was able to connect them up with a local banjo teacher who had experience in teaching music to individuals with autism.
Deering sponsored the documentary “Give Me the Banjo” narrated by Steve Martin. This film made great strides in educating the world on the full history of the banjo, its checkered African heritage and telling the story of many of the black musicians who inspired others to pick up the instrument, through how it structurally evolved, to how it has been part of connecting everyday men and woman of America of all colors and style of music.
Brian Friesen Banjo Awarded to Liza Karpatcheva. Liza grew up in an orphanage in Russia, she was 15 and played a banjo that she borrowed from a friend at the time. She did not speak any English, but played in a bluegrass band. U.S. Ambassador to Russia John Beyrle personally presented her with the Eagle II, Brian Friesen Award banjo. This year's award was meaningful, because it had gone to its first female and international recipient. "Liza is a member of a band in Russia called 'Cheerful Diligence,' " Pete Wernick shared at the time "They are mentored by a teacher in the town of Obninsk. She is a good player." Pete had brought Liza to the attention of Janet Deering and Orin Friesen. Liza has carried on playing and has become a multi-instrumentalist. She is now in university getting a degree in music.
Donated an Eagle II banjo and helped organize a benefit concert for the San Diego East County Economic Development Foundation who have helped students who might otherwise “fall through the cracks”. They have done this by developing and funding programs to continue shop classes in East County San Diego high schools. The Foundation has made upgrades to machinery, bought basic tools and supplies, and provided raw materials for projects. Deering also donated materials to students who were making banjos in several of the local woodshop classes.
A Sierra banjo was donated to help raise funds to aid the millions in Haiti affected by the devastating 7.0 earthquake and its 52 aftershocks.
Donated a Sierra Banjo to the San Diego East County Economic Development Foundation. This was auctioned off to raise funds for their community work. The EC ECD have helped students who might otherwise “fall through the cracks” by developing and funding programs to continue shop classes in East County San Diego high schools. The Foundation has made upgrades to machinery, bought basic tools and supplies, and provided raw materials for shop projects.
Donated a banjo to the recently established American Banjo Museum in Oklahoma City. Since this time Deering has donated half a dozen banjos to their community outreach programs. Some are used in the “Pickin’ Parlor” at the front of the museum where guests can experience playing the banjo, often for the first time.
Brian Friesen Award was presented to Daxson Lewis. He was presented with a Calico banjo on the Grand Ole Opry by Mike Snider. Daxson is currently an instructor at the Kentucky Center for Traditional Music at Morehead State University. He also plays banjo with the McLain Family Band, and has toured around the world with that group.
When Deering found out about the first Black Banjo Gathering taking place in Boone, North Carolina, in April 2005 they reached out to contribute. Deering became a sponsor for the event and donated a custom black Goodtime banjo for their raffle. Rhiannon Giddens was the graphic designer for the event and an attendee, she was also the lucky winner of the banjo donated. This is where the founding members of the Carolina Chocolate Drops met.
Brian Friesen Award presented to Jessie Baker, a 14 year old banjoist. Jessie was presented the Brian Friesen Award banjo of a Saratoga Star by the Riders in the Sky band at the Grand Ole Opry. He has gone on to have a prolific musical career both as an award winning Bluegrass banjo player and songwriter.
Deering donated a Goodtime Special Banjo to help raise funds to support those affected by Hurricane Katrina.
Brian Friesen Award presented to Jesse Friesen, Brian’s younger brother. Jesse received this award 10 years after Brian passed away. The Golden Era Award banjo was presented to Jesse by Bela Fleck after Jesse demonstrated his playing to Bela and Jerry Douglas on their tour bus outside the Orpheum Theater in Wichita, Kansas. Jesse has continued making and recording music since then and into adulthood. Most recently in 2020 Jesse joined the famous Flying W Wranglers, the original chuckwagon band that was formed at the Flying W Ranch in Colorado Springs in 1953.
As part of a city wide campaign in San Diego to help our troops heading from the local ports to the Iraq War, Deering donated Goodtime Banjos with lesson books to several aircraft carriers deployed to give the soldiers an uplifting activity on the long voyage.
Brian Friesen Award presented to Michael Morrison, who was a 6 year old boy of Hispanic descent from Mesquite, Texas with great promise as a player. Michael was presented the Brian Friesen Award Banjo of a Golden Era by Mike Snider on the Grand Ole Opry in Nashville, TN. He carried on playing Bluegrass music professionally into adulthood.
Brian Friesen Award presented to Ryan Holiday, who at 4 years old had mastered Mandolin, but had always wanted to play the banjo. Ryan was presented the Brian Friesen Award Banjo of a Golden Era by Mike Snider on the Grand Ole Opry in Nashville, TN. A short time later in 1998 Ryan returned to the Opry and got to perform on his new banjo with Mike Snider. Ryan became the youngest person to play on the Opry at the age of 5 years old (video). He has since carried on a continuing music career in Nashville, both as a youth and into adulthood as a multi-instrumentalist. He is currently in a trio named Levon based in Nashville.
Spearheaded by Janet Deering, Deering Banjo Company donated 25 Goodtime Banjos to the Owensboro Bluegrass Museum (now known as the Bluegrass Music Hall of Fame & Museum) for community use in workshops, lessons and musical enrichment activities. These are still used to this day. Some are in use in the museum’s free instrument loan program for students enrolled in their Saturday group lessons program. Others travel with their Education Director, Randy Lanham, for use in the classroom in the local school system through their Bluegrass in the Schools program.
In 1996 Janet Deering was elected by the members of the non-profit music association, the International Bluegrass Music Association, to serve on the Board of Directors representing Merchandisers and Luthiers. This is a fully volunteer governing Board with the purpose of oversight, input, and direction in carrying out the mission of IBMA: to connect, educate, and empower bluegrass professionals and enthusiasts, honor tradition and encourage innovation in the bluegrass community worldwide. A significant function of IBMA is the formation and funding of the IBMA Trust Fund that gives real support for bluegrass professionals in times of emergency need. Janet served one term until 1999.
Together with Pete Wernick, Deering helped established the MerleFest Banjo Contest, donating a Golden Era banjo as the grand prize. This contest carried on for 17 years bringing players together to showcase their banjo chops. Deering sponsored this event until the festival moved away from instrument contests in 2014.
Brian Friesen Award presented to Casey Murray at the International Bluegrass Music Association Fan Fest by Steve Dilling of IIIrd Tyme Out, and Pete Wernick.
Deering established the Brian Friesen Award with long-time friend Orin Friesen, who runs the Cowboy Hour Bluegrass show on KFDI, Kansas. This was to honor and carry on the memory of his son Brian Friesen, who passed away of a sudden brain aneurysm at the age of 7 in 1994. Brian had always loved music and especially the banjo. The photo is 4 year old Brian with Bela Fleck. This award was established to provide an instrument to a young person who shows interest and promise in playing the banjo, and who would not otherwise have the means to acquire a professional level instrument to continue to grow with as a player. The award is a professional level Deering Banjo with “Brian Friesen Banjo Award” and the year hand engraved on the arm rest. There is no application or timeline for this award, it is presented as Janet and Orin discover a deserving youth they wish to honor.
In September 1995, the first Brian Friesen Award Golden Era banjo was presented to 10 year old Benji Flaming. This was presented to him at the International Bluegrass Music Association Fan Fest in Owensboro, KY by Bela Fleck, along with Pete Wernick. Benji is still active in playing music, mostly as a solo performer.
In 1978 Greg Deering began hand crafting and donating the contest trophies for the local Julian Folk Festival’s Banjo and Fiddle contest. The name plate shown was made of Mother of Pearl. He would bring the trophies up the festival each year and when the winners were announced he would have his tools with him and would personally engrave their name in the pearl when they won. He donated his time and materials for this community event for 8 years.