February 2012 - Volunteer Spotlight - Melanie Saramaha
“When you come to MerleFest, you get to leave your cares at the gate, forget what is going on out in the world for a while, relax, and get a new perspective.” That is how Melanie Saramaha, a paralegal from Winston-Salem, North Carolina, describes her MerleFest volunteer experience. She continues, “Doc Watson, the Kruger Brothers and Laura Boosinger are probably my favorites because their music is so soothing. It is like putting a balm on anything that may be bothering you.”
Other than music, Melanie’s interests include clogging, reading and Bible studies.
Melanie is impressed each year at MerleFest with the new talent she sees. Some of her favorite new-comers have been the former Reel Time Travelers and more recently, Blind Boy Chocolate and the Milk Sheiks. “These musicians are mastering music from our country’s past. You feel like you are being transformed back into time to a simpler life. What better way to learn history than through music! Seeing the big name artists is great, but these others are what make the festival unique.”
One of Melanie’s favorite MerleFest memories occurred one year on Sunday night at the end of the festival. She and her friends went to eat dinner at a near-by restaurant when a group of people came in including Pete Seeger and Béla Fleck. “They were so excited about the festival—especially about the locals at the Pickin’ Place and the music being preserved. It was just a blessing to see and hear how much they had enjoyed the festival.”
Melanie says, “Everyone should volunteer at least once at this festival. You meet people from all walks of life that have a real love for music. Also, it is a real eye opener when you get involved and realize how much thought has been put into the festival and the care these groups receive while they are at MerleFest.”