County council recognizes YAMs

By Jason Evans
Staff Reporter

PICKENS — Pickens County Council unanimously passed a resolution recently recognizing the success of the Young Appalachian Musicians program and its parent organization, Preserving Our Southern Appalachian Music as “cultural ambassadors for our community.”

Attendees at the February council meeting had a chance to see some of the talented musicians firsthand, as the Sweet Potato Pie Kids performed before the start of the meeting.

Last month, the program held its 10th annual Winter Bluegrass Jubilee, an all-day bluegrass concert fundraiser.

Council chairman Roy Costner read the resolution aloud after the vote.

“As county council, we recognize Southern Appalachian music as being such an integral part of our heritage and our culture,” Costner said.

According to the resolution, the Young Appalachian Musicians program provides school-age youth “musical instruction and encourages appreciation for the heritage of our traditional Southern Appalachian music.”

Under the leadership of director Betty McDaniel, the YAM program has grown to include more than 300 third- through eighth-grade students enrolled in afterschool programs at 12 schools in Pickens County, the resolution said.

The resolution recognizes the “hard work and continued success” of the students, volunteers and organizers of the YAM program, POSAM and the jubilee.

The program’s growth and continued success “brings honor to our county, as well as recognition of shared cultural musical heritage,” the resolution said.

Knowing that there more than 300 students currently enrolled in the program, Costner said he asked McDaniel how many students have come through the program since its launch.

“She said ‘More than you can shake a stick at,’” he said. “It’s literally been hundreds and hundreds and hundreds of kids that are exposed to this program. It is absolutely phenomenal. We are so thankful to Betty, the board of directors and all those kids who participate.”