COOK COUNTY -- In the Cook Middle School foyer at 1:30 p.m. Saturday, a group of about 60 gathered to hear guitarist Paul Massey and fiddler Henry Rutland perform in a tribute for deceased fiddlers Red Lindsey and John R. Griffin, both of Cook County. Audience members kept time to the music by clapping or tapping their feet, and one couple danced during one of the duo's numbers.
During the tribute, Laurie Sommers, director of the South Georgia Folklife Project, presented the families of the deceased men a picture of their loved ones.
"I thought it was very fitting," Sarah Lindsey said. As the granddaughter to the late Red Lindsey, who was inducted into the Atlanta Music Hall of Fame in November, she remembers a great man who was a great fiddler. "I think it's good that they're honoring the old ways that are being forgotten."
This was just one event of the Cook County's first Folklife Festival.
In the halls was the "Folklife of the Georgia Wiregrass" exhibit. Featuring photos and text, the traveling exhibit chronicles three aspects of Georgia life: agriculture, religion and community. The Georgia Humanities Council and the National Endowment for the Arts funded the exhibit, which will be on display during school hours through Feb. 25.
In conjunction to the Folklife Festival, the third annual Teen Expo, sponsored by the Commission of Children and Youth, was held in the school's cafeteria. Various booths provided pamphets and flyers. The Georgia Department of Labor and the Cook County Health Department and were just a few organizations that had booths and provided pamplets and flyers to passersby.
"I feel like its a good way to get a lot of information out," CCY director Zoe Taylor said.
On the way to the cafeteria were tables of student essays, poetry, maps and photos, the fruits of a folk lore and writing partnership between the Cook County School system and the Valdosta State University's Folklife Project. It was funded by a grant from the Georgia Humanities Council.
During the past few months, the students learned about Cook County traditions, people and places,by interviewing family and friends. They then wrote about what they learned, as well as about their favorite place.
Saturday was the project's finale, a chance for students to show the community what they had learned.
Vanessa Mitchell, a second grade teacher at Cook Primary School, said she tried to make the segments fun and educational. She took her students to see cane syrup making, and helped them interview their parents and other relatives to find out about
"It's very exciting to see them [express themselves on paper]," she said. "They were so proud of themselves, and took pride in their work....It's not over yet."
To contact reporter Marie Arrington, please call 244-3400, ext. 254.
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