Galax JAM

The Fall 2018 semester is Thursday, September 6 - Monday, November 26. To register, either fill out the online registration form, or print the attached pdf and bring your completed form to CCSA at 100 N Main Street, Galax VA, 24333. If you have any questions call Kevin at 276-236-3500.

Chestnut Creek School of the Arts is the home to the Galax Junior Appalachian Musicians (JAM) Program.

JAM introduces children to old-time music. Instrument, dance and vocal instruction are augmented by string band classes providing children opportunities to play and perform in small and large groups. Traditional Appalachian music is primarily an oral art form—tunes are passed primarily by ear rather than from a written page. This ‘by ear’ transmission is what accounts for regional styles as opposed to a more homogeneous art form. In keeping with this tradition, JAM students are taught foremost by ear.

Galax JAM meets after school 2 afternoons per week (Monday and Thursday), and accepts students from grades 3 - 9. Enrollment for the JAM program is held twice a year, for the Fall and Spring semesters. JAM students come from Galax Elementary or Middle School, from Grayson and Carroll County schools, or are home-schooled.

Galax JAM provides instruments for students to use during the JAM semester free of charge.

Instructors are invited to teach based on their expertise and reputation in the area. Instructors for the fall and spring semesters this year are:

  • Stu Shenk-fiddle
  • Jacki Spector- clawhammer banjo
  • Chester McMillian-guitar
  • Stanley Widener - mandolin
  • Terry Gleason - group session instructor


History of the Regional JAM Program

Realizing the need to preserve this vital aspect of mountain culture, as well as to offer positive activities for underserved youth, local musicians and educators founded the program in Sparta, NC in 2000.

Now in over a dozen mountain counties in North Carolina, South Carolina, and Virginia, JAM is providing access to the joy of music to hundreds of youth, while instilling renewed interest and pride in the area’s heritage and traditions.

Galax JAM was formed in 2010 and is supported through donations from individuals, foundations, and organizations including the Frances Block Foundation, Galax Moose Lodge #733, and the Wayne Henderson Festival. Galax JAM would also like to thank Barr's Fiddle Shop for their generous support repairing our instruments when needed.