A Brief SCBTMA History by Pat Ahrens The SCBTMA was co-founded in 1991 by the late Bill Wells
and Pat Ahrens. Two people who were instrumental in
its organization were Frank Stover, who helped write the
Association By-Laws, and Terry Murphy, who helped secure the
501 C-3 articles of incorporation. As required by law,
public disclosure and the names of its officers appeared in
local papers. The officers elected were: President: Bill Wells; Vice President: Pat Ahrens;
Secretary: Susan Coleman; and Treasurer: Terry
Murphy. The Board of Directors included Homer "Pappy"
Sherrill, Claude Lucas, Dr. Larry Klein, Frank Stover,
Lester Gantt, and State Department of Parks, Recreation & Tourism Liaison Joan Davis.
Membership goals included providing a "family setting"
to allow experienced musicians to orally pass on this
musical heritage to youngsters. The Association
strives to publically recognize outstanding S.C. musicians
and to work with other national organizations having the
same goals. Its educational programs include presenting
concerts by both professional and local amateur bluegrass
bands, holding workshops for teaching the acoustic stringed
instruments played in the genre, and publically supporting
For over a decade, the Association has presented a
program at the SC State Museum which includes a brief
history of the music and a performance from a live bluegrass
Early on, the Association had partnered with the Parks,
Recreation and Tourism (PRT) to produce day long bluegrass
festivals throughout various SC Parks such as Oconee,
Redcliffe Plantation, and Givhans Ferry. Bluegrass
luminaries such as Alison Krauss, J.D. Crowe, Del McCoury,
Laurie Lewis, and The Nashville Bluegrass Band were
presented in concert by the Association.
The attractive Association logo was designed by graphic
artist Dee Lucas and Pat Ahrens.
A newsletter featuring current news of interest and a
calendar of band appearance dates was mailed to members. At that time, the Association had 7 bands who were members.
Board member Larry Klein served as host of the NPR radio program
"The Bluegrass Sound" and retired in 2015 after over 30 years of playing
the best in contemporary and traditional bluegrass music.
The Association's "home address" has always been Bill's
Music Shop & Pickin' Parlor located at 710 Meeting Street in
West Columbia, South Carolina.
A purely social event and yearly highlight has been the
traditional Christmas meeting where everybody brings their
favorite dish and "Pot Luck" reins among the jamming by
The Association has a proud history of past accomplishments. Some
of these include sponsoring:
Alison Krauss & Union Station concerts at the Koger Center in 1994 and
A Bill Monroe Tribute concert at the State Museum in 1996.
A concert at the State Museum by former Blue Grass Boy Butch Robins, a
master of the 5-string banjo, in 1999.
A concert with comments by renowned country music historian and author
Bill C. Malone in 2002.
Although the Association became inactive in 2006, it
was re-activated in 2014 by enthusiastic new officers and a
Board of Directors that includes: President: Tommy Thomas; Vice President: Merdick Brown;
Secretary: Kathy Klein; and Treasurer: Willie
Wells. The Board of Directors includes: Past President: Pat Ahrens; Dr. Larry Klein, Ben Wooten, Staci Jones,
Ashley Carder, Ken Baldwin, and Leo Pearson. Frank
Stover still serves in an advisory capacity, and Allison
Caldwell helps with publicity. In 2015, artist and board member Ken Baldwin designed a
beautiful T-shirt for the Association that has been a
popular fundraising item. An afternoon of
bluegrass documentary movies plus a bag of popcorn morphed
into a pot-luck dinner, and a membership "jam" was another
Association fun fundraiser.
The Board has worked hard over the past several years to get the
Association name into public notice by partnering with USC's
McKissick Museum during their Folk Fabulous Festival; the SC
State Museum's montlhy Tuesday night jam session in conjunction with their Carolina Makers exhibit, and the
Congaree Bluegrass Festival by both being a sponsor and
hosting a tent for "jamming" during the event.
For more infotmation, the Association can be reached through Bill's Pickin'
South Carolina Bluegrass and Traditional Music Association