Photo providedPrairieTown, a new string band, features Noblesville’s Janet Gilray, Dan Wethington (left) and Bob Foster.
Photo provided

PrairieTown, a new string band, features Noblesville’s Janet Gilray, Dan Wethington (left) and Bob Foster.
You might know Janet Gilray as Miss Melody, a schoolmarm from Possum Holler who plays her old Martin heirloom guitar and sings "Antique Stories in Song" for kids on the second Saturday morning of the month at Old Picket Fence in downtown Noblesville.

Or maybe you've seen Miss Melody teaching school and singing songs in the little one-room schoolhouse in the Pioneer Village at the Indiana State Fair.

Or singing at the 2016 Pioneer Party in the Park, a public event she organized to celebrate Indiana's Bicentennial.

This year, we'll find her promoting a new String-Time Concert Series on the Courthouse Square in celebration of the 10th anniversary of Legacy Keepers, an educational charity that Gilray started in 2007 to offer musical family programming and of which Gilray is executive director.

"We're hosting our concert series simply because we want to share the music we love and encourage others to play 'old-time' (music) as we celebrate 10 years of musical mentoring in Central Indiana," she said.

"Our band members are veteran players who love seeing youngsters take an interest in this style," Gilray said. "As part of the Legacy Keepers music organization, we work to encourage them and provide performance opportunities."

The series kicks off a week from Saturday, 7:30 p.m. to 9 p.m. on July 22, with PrairieTown, a new string band featuring Gilray, Dan Wethington and Bob Foster, also of Noblesville. She proudly said the group plays "the best old-time sound for miles around."

Plus, she's especially proud of their opening act, The Wild Flowers, a bluegrass band that will join them for the launch of the String-Time Series. The group consists of three girls from the local area, ages 11-14, who've participated in Legacy Keeper Music programs over the past few years. "Their graceful ways, lovely voices and easy guitar music music seems to charm audiences everywhere they play," Gilray said. "Other kids love to see them perform." The girls' resume, Gilray said, includes Indiana Landmarks Center, Indy Bicentennial Colts Stage, Indiana State Fair and Pioneer Party in Forest Park.

The series continues July 29 with Cornfields & Crossroads band, featuring Wethington, Mark Graham, Joe Flowers and Darrell Duety; Aug. 26 with Blackberry jam, a folk band featuring Jean Roberts, Steve Kobe, Leslie Selden, Lisa Schroeder, Kevin Reynolds and Bill Bailey; and on Sept. 2, with Gold Country, "a surprise line-up" featuring "all-star country singer musicians with Nashville awards and recording credits," Gilray said. "Everyone is from Noblesville, with a special guest from the Old West to delight the children. Wear your cowboy hats."

Gilray suggests that concert-goers bring lawn chairs, and a few dollars for a raffle drawing that will occur at the 8 p.m. intermission to benefit Legacy Keepers Music family programs and Bluegrass Boot Camp in Brown County.

All of the events are free. Sponsors helping to make the series possible include Bob Foster's Hedgehog Music Showcase in Arcadia, Old Picket Fence Antiques, Nancy Myers Salon and Whimzy Unique Finds of Noblesville. The series on the Courthouse lawn culminates with a Pioneer Party in Forest Park, an old-time music festival in its second year, from noon to 5 p.m. on Sept. 16, with live music, historic re-enactments and more.

For details, contact Gilray at (317) 919-6188.

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