I’m a pickin’

Written by: Pamm Tucker, Entertainment Editor, Americana Media Group | Photos by: Budd Walker, Americana Media Group

What a great way to spend an hour and accomplish something! Recently, I spent an hour with Lucas Ross at the American Banjo Museum where he teaches “Pick a Tune with Lucas”.

Ross, a local television personality, son of a bee keeper, and banjo picker takes time out of his busy schedule to teach a class of beginners, enthusiasts and people like me. “People that can’t even begin to fathom how to play a banjo”. In fact, I was almost 10 when I learned to tie my shoes, but I accomplished so much more that Saturday. Within 5 minutes, of picking up the instrument, I was shocked to see that I could chord Happy Birthday and still sing in tune.

While the class is limited to five participants, this Saturday was truly special as not only did I get to attend, but there were OTHER famous people learning to play the banjo as well. Leonard Coffee, Lindsay, Oklahoma resident, and his son Carson also picked up the stringed instrument for the first time. Coffee, originally from Elmore City Oklahoma, was one of the inspirations for the movie Footloose. Coffee’s wife, Dianna had recently met Lucas at an event at Children’s Hospital in OKC, where he mentioned his “Pick a Tune” class at the American Banjo Museum. Within moments, Dianna had made reservations for the family to attend the class. While she didn’t participate, she manned the camera in pro style. This is where the day gets a little more bizarre. I attended Lindsay High School, where Dianna and I had always been very good friends. Here we are sitting in the parlor, and learning how to pick a banjo, and other than social media haven’t seen other in over 20 years.

Lucas’ Banjo Basics includes teaching “open g tuning”. Our class started learning to chord Happy Birthday and played it with Ross’s covering all our mistakes with his talent. Lucas‘ humor kept the time rolling along, and there was no pressure in acquiring the skills of learning. Participation was 100% on your own, while banjos, picks and smiles were provided by the American Banjo Museum. At the hours end, as Lucas shuffled out the door to go hear Steve Martin, banjo Hall of Famer, our lesson had come to a close. The four of us had acquired the talent to play the intro to “Cripple Creek”, and we learned a really important thing. For future reference, ladies with long fingernails, you don’t have to wear finger picks to roll,( in fact you can’t) I just used my nails.

To get on the list to learn how you too can pick a banjo, email events@americanbanjomuseum.com or call 405-604-2793. Lucas Ross will be hosting the next class on the 13th of January, each participant will receive a coupon for 10% off purchase of banjo, strings, and books at the American Banjo Museum. Visit www.americanbanjomuseum.com for future Pick a Tune dates and other events.