ANDERSON — The cars parked outside the Rangeline Community Center were packed almost as tightly as someone could pack the melting snow on Saturday.
The hot wail of a fiddle poured from inside of the building where the 25th annual Snowflake Bluegrass Festival was underway.
Hundreds gathered here to enjoy the traditional music featuring instruments like the banjo, fiddle, guitar and mandolin.
Among those kicking up their heels at the festival was Anita Erdos, 69, of Anderson.
Erdos and her husband were seated at the back of the room where they could easily slip onto a dance area.
“It just makes your body move,” Erdos said. “The music is fast and makes you feel good.”
She said the songs tell stories about early American times of coal mines and trains, but they aren’t sad.
“They play songs that tell you stories from our ancestors,” Erdos said.
Nearby the dancing couple, Larry Waters, 52, of Springport prepared to take the stage. Waters, a member of the band Lifeboat, said his band consists of family members.
“I’ve been playing with the band for 25 years, but I’m not an original member,” he said.
Bluegrass music is packed with emotion, which is why Waters said he likes to play it.
“I like the heart and soul it’s got,” he said. “You have to play from the soul or it’s not real. When it has no heart and soul, it just becomes music and there’s a difference.”
Other Lifeboat members joined Waters, and the men joked among themselves, giving Barnnie Woody, 36, of Muncie a hard time.
“He wants an application for singing, but we won’t let him,” Waters.
Woody laughed with Waters, who is his cousin.
“We won’t even let him hum,” said Delon Waters, 70, one of the original 1964 band members of Lifeboat.
Before performing at the festival, Larry Waters said he would attend the event to play in the jamming session and that’s where Roy Beck, 51, of Avon could be found.
“I came to listen and have a bowl of beans,” Beck said.
He also plays bluegrass music.
“I’ve been picking since I was 12,” he said with a nod toward his upright bass.
Beck said the jamming sessions, which are held in a room adjacent to the stage, are fun. He said in the world of bluegrass music there are about 20 songs that everyone knows so players can easily jump in and join each other.
“There are different playing levels and everyone enjoys everyone so it’s OK,” he said. “That instrument over there is out of tune and no one is saying anything to him,” he said.
That, Beck said, is what makes bluegrass music so enjoyable.
Back on the dance floor, Erdos and her husband glided with ease across the floor. She said the bluegrass music is what keeps the couple, who will celebrate 50 years of marriage, young.
“That’s the secret to life — just keep moving and don’t sit still,” she said with a laugh.
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