Concert to honor musician's memory

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Friday's “Blue Ridge Backroads” show is the first in a series leading up to a new music festival dedicated to young banjo player Houston Caldwell.

By Brian Funk, Editor

The Rex Theater's “Blue Ridge Backroads Live” radio show will host a concert Friday in memory of young musician Houston Caldwell, who passed away on April 30.

The concert, featuring The Snyder Family Band with Zeb & Samantha, is the first in a series to be held at the Rex, leading up to the first-ever HoustonFest in Felts Park in Galax on May 6-7, 2011.

Admission to Friday's concert will be $5 at the door. Proceeds from the concert series will benefit the Houston Caldwell Foundation, which has been formed to honor Houston's spirit and legacy by transforming lives through the power of music and community service.

Proceeds from HoustonFest will be used by the Houston Caldwell Foundation to provide funds to the Galax Volunteer Fire Department and discretionary grants to non-profits geared toward youth music education, said HoustonFest Director Debbie Robinson.

The Nov. 5 concert falls just two days after what would have been Houston's 19th birthday. A special slide presentation will be shown on the Rex movie screen preceding the concert. The same slide presentation was recently featured at the Nashville Convention Center during the annual International Bluegrass Music Awards convention. 

Houston was a regular attendee at the event and played a leading role in IBMA's “Kids On Bluegrass” for approximately five years.

“A fairly large group of Galax fans were there at the IBMA convention to support the Caldwells and about 30 young kids paid tribute to Houston with special music,” Robinson said. “Two of the young performers had written songs in memory of Houston.  They were joined on stage by [musicians] Ron Block and Sierra Hull.”

Robinson said HoustonFest organizers are delighted that The Snyder Family will return to the Rex for this special performance. “The family has fond memories of Houston and had participated in jam sessions with him on several occasions and spent time with Houston and his family at Merlefest on April 30, just hours before his tragic accident.”

Houston died in a motorcycle accident that night.

Autographed merchandise from some of HoustonFest's nationally and regionally known artists has been donated and will be auctioned during Friday's concert. 

Robinson said an additional fundraiser is in the works and details will be released soon.


HoustonFest Benefit Concert

Featuring The Snyder Family Band with Zeb & Samantha

Friday, 8 p.m., Rex Theater, E. Grayson Street, Downtown Galax

Admission: $5 at the door

For more info about HoustonFest, contact Debbie Robinson at (276) 233-3345 or HoustonFest2011@yahoo.com.

The festival's website is