The local Bluegrass Minstrels band seemed to enjoy playing together as much as the audience enjoyed listening and dancing to their music. Photo by Hugh McMillan

Seats were filled and some took to dancing on the parquet as the Coyote Hill Bluegrass band electrified the crowd, with sound waves reverberating inside and out the landmark Longbranch Improvement Club, on July 25.

Concert-goers dined on pulled pork sandwiches prepared by chef Oliver Coldeen and nibbled on strawberry shortcake while listening to the original bluegrass gospel sounds of the music.

Between sets of the featured band, Coyote Hill Bluegrass, pastor John Day joined two of his brothers, David and Daniel, to keep the music flowing.

The brothers grew up near Stanwood and sang about the Stillaguamish River. They were instilled with a love of music by their father.

“Father played a banjo-uke, and whistled and sang,” John Day said. “Mother forced us to play piano.”

Fifteen years ago, all three brothers started playing stringed instruments. Daniel lives in Oklahoma and David in Portland. They both earn their living as chiropractors, following in their fathers footsteps. John studied theology and earned his masters degree at Western Seminary in Portland. He went on to get his doctorate from Dallas Theological Seminary. He came to the Key Peninsula four years ago to become the pastor at Longbranch Community Church.

Every summer, the band hits the road for the touring season. They came to the Key Peninsula for a fundraiser for the church and the LIC, paying their own way including lodging. Tour expenses are paid by love offerings and CD sales, they said.

A silent auction and raffle contributed to the fundraiser.

The local-based Bluegrass Minstrels jammed outside until they took to the stage at 5 p.m. Other musicians, including bass player Joe Casalini from Seattle, took a turn in jamming with the band.

“I think the Longbranch Church did a great job putting it on,” said Dorene Paterson, a banjo player with the Bluegrass Minstrels. “The music was varied and the Day brothers played songs from their first CD “Prime.” It was a great day all around.”

The Minstrels played “Blackberries,” a song written by musician and chef Oliver Coldeen, who came out of the kitchen long enough to listen while they wowed the crowd.

Another local song written by Evergreen Elementary School teacher, Teri Hamon, was another hit.

The song was written for the school kids to sing at a school play, “Down Key.” The Bluegrass Minstrels had played the music for that event, and laid down a great rendition for the general audience at the festival.

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