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Jean Laney Harris Folk Heritage Awards

2010 Recipients


The awards were presented at the Statehouse on May 6th, 2010. McKissick Museum in Columbia also hosted a casual drop-in reception to recognize both recipients, Wednesday, May 5th, 6-8 p.m. in the museum’s second floor lobby.


See photos from both events on our Shutterfly page >>


Read the press release >>

The South Carolina Arts Commission and the University of South Carolina's McKissick Museum are pleased to announce the recipients of the 2010 Jean Laney Harris Folk Heritage Award. The state legislature created the Folk Heritage Award in 1987 to recognize lifetime achievement in traditional arts. The honorees, in their categories, are:


Harold Wayne TurnerHarold Wayne Turner
Pickens, S.C.
Maker of Stringed Instruments


At age five, Harold Wayne Turner picked up a banjo for the first time. Within a short period, he taught himself to pick out a rough approximation of "Cripple Creek." This childhood experience began a lifelong love for music that eventually led him to become a respected crafter of musical instruments, both in his local community of Pickens, South Carolina, and among the wider society of professional luthiers.

The woodworking tradition in Turner's family can be traced to his grandfather, Wil Turner, who learned the art of making violins in the early 1900s. Harold Wayne's father never mastered the art of making instruments, but he was an exceptional woodcarver. Turner supplemented the woodworking skills he picked up from his father with the expertise of his cousin, Freeman Patterson, who kept the instrument-making tradition alive in the family. A noted violin maker in the Carolina hills, Patterson passed on both technical skills and an emphasis on artistic creativity to Harold Wayne.

Combining the woodworking skills handed down from his father with the instrument-making techniques gathered from his cousin, Harold Wayne became a talented luthier in his own right. Though he prefers to make violins, Harold Wayne regularly crafts dulcimers, or "hog fiddles," as well as the occasional banjo, guitar, or bow fiddle. He is known for his creative use of recycled and natural materials, from old fence posts and coffee tables to mussel shells and grits for decoration. Turner's artistic innovation reflects a childhood in the Pickens Mill Village where many learned to make what they needed and wanted from materials in the surrounding environment.

As a respected contributor to craft publications and a regular attendee of luthiers’ conventions, Turner shares his knowledge well beyond Pickens County. Those who know him well attest to Turner's unassuming intelligence and irreverent wit as well as his strong, determined work ethic and his deep sense of family pride and tradition.

For many years, Turner has contributed to the preservation of the instrument-making craft through programs at schools, demonstrations at historic sites, such as the Hagood Mill, and through participation in the South Carolina Arts Commission's Institute for Community Scholars.His daughter, Sandy Foster, a talented journalist and emerging instrument-maker, may be the one to pass the tradition to future generations of the Turner family.


Freddie VanderfordFreddie Vanderford
Buffalo, S.C.
Piedmont Blues Harp


Growing up in Buffalo, S.C., Vanderford first learned to play the harp from his grandfather, who played "old mountain songs" on the instrument. Initially, Vanderford blended the country style of his grandfather with the sound of the Chicago blues. One day on the way to school, however, Vanderford turned on the radio to hear Arthur "Peg Leg Sam" Jackson play the Piedmont Blues. When the Union County teenager discovered that the blues harpist and former medicine show performer lived nearby, he set out to meet him, hoping to learn something of his skill and his style. The two eventually developed a close relationship, and today, Vanderford's playing represents one of the closest remaining links to the musical tradition of the early masters" of the Piedmont Blues.


In a pattern common to any folk tradition, Vanderford combines his traditional blues roots with his own variations and new material. He entertains audiences with his renditions of the blues, playing solo or with fellow musicians such as "Little Pink" Anderson, Brandon Turner, Steve McGaha, and others. His discography includes Piedmont Blues, recorded with Brandon Turner under the name of the New Legacy Duo. His music is also featured on Feel the Presence: Traditional African American Music in South Carolina, an album produced through the McKissick Museum's Folklife Resource Center, and in Stan Woodward's film BBQ and Homecooking, a documentary on foodways in the state.


Vanderford's passion for the blues shines through in performances, at venue s from clubs and juke joints to the historic Hagood Mill. His enthusiasm for the blues is also apparent in his willingness to pass on the tradition. Radio appearances, guest lectures, participation in workshops, and to serving as a mentor to aspiring musicians are just some of the ways Vanderford ensures that the tradition of the Piedmont Blues will continue to thrive.

About the Folk Heritage Awards


For more information about the Folk Heritage Awards, please contact Laura Marcus Green (803-734-8764), South Carolina Folklife & Traditional Arts Program Director.