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Saluting a Successful Shuffle

February 7, 2011

If I was asked to sum up this weekend’s Winston-Salem Shuffle in one word, I don’t know that I could. The diversity on stage, as well as within the crowd, set the tone for an entertaining, exciting, and all-around exceptional evening. Performers played everything from classic acoustic guitars to octave mandolins (and the standard type as well), blues harmonica and keyboard, and even a teeny, tiny toy piano.

While there is lots of room for creativity in performance style at the Shuffle, each performer/group must to comply with a few guidelines: no more than 3 performers on stage at a time, only all original or public domain material may be performed, and…you only get five minutes to wow the judges. This translated into a quite an interesting and eclectic evening of speed set-ups and sincere songs that ranged in style and sound. After all 15(-ish) groups had been scored for round 1, the top 6 continued on for the second round and were scored again. From this illustrious group, the top two (really the top four due to a three-way tie for second place) each performed one last piece. Singer/songwriter couple Matt and Kate, who had received no less than a perfect score in all three rounds,were announced as the winners of the Shuffle, claiming a prize of $100 and a pair of tickets to the Crossroads show here at SECCA on the 19th.

Although I’ve only been here for a few weeks, the Shuffle was hands-down one of my most favorite experiences at SECCA so far, probably because it really made me feel that I was “home.” Connecting with the performers through their songs, greeting and interacting with the crowd as they came in the doors to SECCA, and getting to experience some fantastic entertainment really made me feel that I was part of something larger than a music competition on Saturday night. I was part of the Winston-Salem community at SECCA.

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