The Hayslett Collection - A Musical Tribute is an exciting new CD of classical, old-time and contemporary music performed by 18 of West Virginia’s finest musicians on stringed instruments made by Harold Hayslett of South Charleston, WV. The CD is a fundraising effort produced and engineered by musicians Bob Webb and Heidi Muller to benefit the Music Mentors program that provides free music lessons to young children whose parents cannot afford them. The release of the CD is timed to celebrate Mr. Hayslett’s 90th birthday in December. The official release concert is Sunday, December 16, 2007 at the West Virginia State Cultural Center.
There are exciting performers here from the southern WV old-time music community, folk scene and WV Symphony. They include: Jenny Allinder, Barb Kuhns, Linda Scutt, Greg Bentle, Dave Bing, Amelia Chan, Luigi Peracchio, Sandra Groce, Andrea Di Gregorio, Cathy Grant, Kim Graham, Dean Pauley, Darrell Murray, Dan Boyer, John Lilly, Arie Lipsky and the New Arts Trio, Bobby Taylor, Andrew Dunlap, Heidi Muller and Bob Webb.
Harold Hayslett is a true West Virginia master who has provided both local musicians and professionals around the world with quality musical instruments for the last 40 years. Born and raised in Putnam County, WV, he made his first violin at age 14. He served in France in World War II and worked for 33 years as a pipefitter at Union Carbide. He continued to learn the craft of violinmaking throughout his life, and upon retirement devoted his energies to making instruments fulltime, resulting in 80 violins, 63 cellos, 13 violas, five bows, one bass, one mandolin, and one electric cello. Mr. Hayslett is still actively building instruments. At age 89, he just completed his 80th violin in November, 2007. One of his cellos won the Violin Society’s Gold Medal for tone in their international competition in 1980. He also carved a new archtop for a vintage F-hole guitar that a friend of his had found broken in the trash.
That one-of-a-kind guitar makes its debut on The Hayslett Collection CD, played by John Lilly, and can be seen and heard at the release concert on December 16. Eight of Mr. Hayslett’s violins, three of his violas and six cellos are some of the instruments played by the musicians mentioned above. This gathering will be a rare opportunity to hear such a wide range of Mr. Hayslett’s instruments at one time, including the mandolin and electric cello. And it all benefits a great cause!
Music Mentors is currently in its third year of teaching music lessons at the East End Family Resource Center in Charleston. A community-based music education program, Music Mentors offers one-on-one music lessons to at-risk and low-income children in grades K-5 whose parents cannot afford private lessons. Since its beginning in 2005, over 50 children have participated in mountain dulcimer, drum and keyboard lessons. One 8-year-old student already distinguished himself by winning 2nd Place in the Vandalia Youth Dulcimer Contest, leading the Charleston Gazette to write a feature article about him. Children look forward every week to their lessons taught by Bob Webb, Heidi Muller and Tim Courts. The program has been supported by grants from the WV Commission on the Arts, The Greater Kanawha Valley Foundation and the Sustainable Kanawha Valley Initiative. However, more funds will be needed to continue and to expand the program into other after-school settings. As more children join the program, more instructors will need to be hired. The money raised by sales of The Hayslett Collection CD will go into the Harold Hayslett Music Mentors Scholarship Fund, which will help more children to receive private lessons.
For more information, please visit Music Mentors’ web pages at www.musicmentorswv.org, or see www.heidimuller.com for background on Heidi Muller and Bob Webb, producers and recording engineer for the album.