Popular bluegrass series to benefit Johnson City Ronald McDonald House
Sue Guinn Legg
May 18, 2012 at 5:45 PM
Beginning tonight and for the rest of this year, 100 percent of the proceeds from the popular Historic Jonesborough Bluegrass Series will go to the Southern Appalachia Ronald McDonald House in Johnson City.
Steve Johnson, president and CEO of Mountain Music Entertainment, which produces the popular music series at the Jonesborough Visitors Center, announced the series new charitable alliance with Ronald McDonald Charities Friday at the guest house that provides rooms, meals, snacks and comfort to families from outside the region with children receiving care at Tri-Cities area hospitals.
Johnson said the bluegrass series is a charitable outreach of the for-profit entertainment production and artist management company and was created as a way for he and his wife to give back to nonprofit organizations in the local community. Staged three to four times annually at the visitors center in Jonesborough, the series typically feature three groups, including at least one nationally know band or performer. Proceeds have previously supported causes including the Jonesborough Heritage Alliance and the Lyric Frizzel Child Cancer Treatment Center in Nashville.
At the series’ last production in February, Johnson said he announced a search for a new local nonprofit organization to partner with and was approached by a guest who offered to put him in contact with the local Ronald McDonald House. With his personal background in health care and his familiarity with Ronald McDonald Charities, Johnson said the house was a perfect fit.
“I have always had a philanthropic spirit and a desire to give back to the community in some way. I hope by offering the bluegrass series and donating proceeds to the Ronald McDonald House we can help by providing more music to the region and supporting a worthy cause in our area,” he said.
Rowena Bailey, executive director of the Ronald McDonald House located adjacent to Johnson City Medical Center, said the guest house staff, volunteers and supporters are extremely exited about the new alliance with the Johnsons and the popular bluegrass series. “It’s through partnerships like this that we are able to do what we do for the patients and families we care for at our house,” Bailey said.
Ronald McDonald House services are provided at low or no cost to families in order to allow them to focus on their child’s healing rather than where they can afford to stay or eat. Members of a guest family at the house at lunchtime on Friday were treated to a performance by Mark Newton and Steve Thomas of the Stillhouse Band who helped Johnson announce the new partnership. “Great, we loved it,” a surprised mother said afterward.
Johnson said the series has come to be nationally known and to attract sold-out crowds to the visitor center’s 300-seat auditorium. In addition to The Stillhouse Band, tonight’s show will feature the award winning Gibson Brothers and Blue Edition. Doors open at 6 and the show will begin at 7. Tickets are $20 or $10 for East Tennessee State University students and children under 12.
More information about the series is available online at www.jonesboroughbluegrass.com. More information about the Ronald McDonald House is available at www.rmhsa.org.