Appearing on the Bear on the Square Mountain Festival’s MainStage for the ninth consecutive year are students from the Georgia Pick & Bow Traditional Music School Program, an after school program in Dahlonega. Pick & Bow is a bluegrass and old-time mountain music school for young people grades 4 through 12. Students are taught by top music instructors who are skilled in playing traditional string instruments.
Performing at Bear on the Square this year are the Pick & Bow All Stars, a group of advanced students from the program, which is currently serving over 100 young people. The Georgia Pick & Bow program seeks to preserve the traditional “roots” music of North Georgia with classes at schools across the county, as well as a summer camp.
The Pick & Bow All Stars recently opened for a recent Holly Theater show which featured three celebrity songwriters, including Amy Ray of the Indigo Girls. Groups of Pick & Bow student musicians have been featured at numerous other public gatherings, including the National Conference of Chief Judges; the Student Showcase at East Tennessee State University; the farewell party for Kathy Cox, former Georgia Superintendent of Schools; the Georgia Supreme Court; the Appalachian Regional Commission; visiting university leaders from Liaocheng, China; and "New Harmonies," the Smithsonian Traveling Exhibition about roots music of Georgia. Pick & Bow bands have performed at several festivals and have either won or placed high in band competitions at some of these events.