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Jean Laney Harris Folk Heritage Awards

2017 Recipient: Dan and Norma Hendricks


Dan and Norma Hendricks
Advocacy - Bluegrass and Traditional Music


Dan and Norman HendricksTraditional music is a way of life for Dan and Norma Hendricks, connecting them to their roots, their community, and to generations of young people they have mentored. As a young girl, Greenville, S.C. native Norma Hendricks sang with her father and learned to play piano by ear. In 1989, when she heard Benny Hart flat-picking a guitar at Bluegrass Express in Hartwell, Ga., she set out to play “just like Benny,” learning by listening to music and attending jams. Closer to home, in 1989, she founded a Pickens jam, which moved in 1991 to the Oolenoy Community Center in Pumpkintown, S.C, where it has been a Friday-night fixture ever since.


Dan Hendricks grew up in Pickens. When Dan was 12, his father bought him a Silvertone guitar and music book, promising to buy him a “good” guitar if he learned to play. Dan’s next guitar was a National. He learned by listening to 78 rpm records and to radio stations WELP/WESC, imitating what he heard. In 1990, he attended Norma’s Pickens jam. They married in 1996 and together continued the Oolenoy Friday Jam.

Norma and Dan Hendricks are both accomplished musicians, between them playing guitar, upright bass, mandolin and fiddle. Formerly, they played in the Oolenoy Valley band, and currently they perform with Heartstrings. Their traditional music advocacy shines bright in their mentoring and support of other musicians, especially young people. The Hendricks have been instrumental in the creation and success of such programs as Young Appalachian Musicians (YAM) – an after-school music program for 3rd-8th graders – YAM’s support organization Preserving Our Southern Appalachian Music (POSAM), the Sweet Potato Pie Kids – YAM’s performance arm – and more recently the Am Jam, a weekly gathering for amateurs at Pickens’ Hagood Mill. At festivals, jams, and in their home, the Hendricks are ever on call to teach and back up young musicians. Many of their protégés have gone on to form their own bands, record CDs, win competitions, attend college as music majors or minors, and become instructors themselves. Old-time and bluegrass music have been a mainstay in the greater Pickens community for more than 100 years, played in churches, homes, front porches, and barns throughout the Upcountry. Dan and Norma Hendricks have brought bluegrass and traditional music to the forefront of their mountain community through their enthusiastic participation and advocacy.

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.