Congratulations are extended to musician Steven Moore of Bethesda for winning the banjo contest at the 16th annual RenoFest bluegrass festival in Hartsville, S.C.
The festival is named in honor of the late bluegrass musician Don Reno. He was best known as a banjo player, so that makes Moore's victory even sweeter.
Moore is already well known in the Ohio Valley. The young musician plays with the Almost Famous bluegrass band that performs frequently in the Music at Epworth summer series presented at Epworth Park in Moore's hometown of Bethesda. The group also plays at several other area venues in outdoor summer concerts. Perhaps with Moore's win at RenoFest, the band should change its name from Almost Famous to Now Famous.
Describing Moore's appearance in the competition, Ted Lehmann wrote in his bluegrass blog: "Competing at RenoFest for the first time, Steve Moore took home the beautiful Yates stressed banjo with an inspired and risky performance featuring 'Super Grouper,' a Noam Pickelny original in the finals. Steve is a recent graduate in biochemistry from Marietta College in Ohio as well as a former banjo contest winner at Winfield, when he was 15, and at Rockygrass in Colorado."
The blogger also said of Moore, "We've watched him for the past five years years, first as a member of the MACC (Musicians Against Childhood Cancer) Children's Band and then as an instructor there as well as with the Youth Band at IBMA's Fan Fest. His growth as a person as well as a musician has been a pleasure to watch."
For those outside the industry, IBMA is the International Bluegrass Music Association.
More good news arrived this past week for Wheeling native Sean Hennen who works in Los Angeles as a staff writer for the CBS television drama, "Person of Interest."
Hennen learned that he will be returning as a member of the show's writing staff for the third year. Recently, CBS renewed "Person of Interest" for a third season.
A March episode of "Person of Interest" that Hennen penned was the fourth most-watched show for that week, according to the TV ratings.
Hennen is a graduate of Linsly School and Elon (N.C.) University.
He is the son of Mike and Sherry Hennen of Wheeling.
Meanwhile, another Wheeling native will soon be heading to sunny LA.
Talented musician Nate Strasser, who has earned a sterling reputation as a performer of classical, jazz, country and Christian contemporary music, has been accepted into the highly competitive graduate program for film scoring at the prestigious University of Southern California.
Strasser has been living and working in Nashville. With his acceptance to USC, he and his wife, Sarah, will be moving to Los Angeles this summer.
Reportedly, USC accepts only 20 people out of more than 400 applicants worldwide for the film scoring program.
Strasser is a graduate of Wheeling Park High School and West Virginia University. He is the son of Robert and Cathy Strasser of Wheeling.
Linda Comins can be reached via email at: lcomins@the intelligencer.net.