I met Doug Eyink nearly 15 years ago when he called me to help present and promote a Doyle Lawson & Quicksilver concert at Centerville, Ohio High School. He said, “I’m a banjo player who teaches music and orchestra to over 600 students, and I want them learn about bluegrass." I was immediately excited!
Doug has now inspired hundreds of former students and families with his passion and skills. He began the Alternative Strings program to teach select orchestra students bluegrass, Celtic, jazz and other music styles, and has showcased the students as performers in the bluegrass community, extensively. Doug and his Alternative Strings students have hosted concerts and performed with The Radio Ramblers many times, as well as Sierra Hull, Special Consensus, Doyle Lawson, Russell Moore & IIIrd Tyme Out, Darin & Brooke Aldridge, Rhonda Vincent, Nothin’ Fancy and many others through the years.
When JMRR and Alternative Strings first partnered to perform and video record our song “Some Kind of War,” Doug was fighting his first battle with colon cancer. It was an emotional time for his family, his students, alumni and everyone who so enjoys working with this wonderful teacher. The fight has continued and Doug’s doctor recommended his retirement from teaching this year.
I want Doug's impact and legacy to always be appreciated and represented in Ohio schools so I contacted his dear friend Hillary Wagner, an Alternative Strings assistant and coordinator, and asked her to help launch the Doug Eyink Alternative Strings Scholarship. Doug, the Eyink family and many Alternative Strings alums were thankful and eagerly approved of the effort. We have even received a MATCHING GRANT from a former student of up to $5000!!
I hope you will participate in contributing to our first fundraising campaign during the Industrial Strength Bluegrass Festival, November 11, 12 and 13, 2021. The Radio Ramblers will host a “Fan Feast Brunch” on Friday morning of the event at 10:30am. Net proceeds from the breakfast and ALL tips and donations from this activity will benefit the scholarship fund. The brunch has a limited capacity but we still have room and advance tickets are available here. Brunch is sponsored by Tudor’s Biscuit World and The Radio Ramblers will be serving their fantastic biscuits and gravy.
In addition, a gorgeous custom guitar has been donated by Frank Howard of Centerville to assist in raising funds and will be awarded to a lucky winner. An Alternative Strings booth at the festival will give all attendees an easy opportunity to make a donation, and each $5.00 donor receives a raffle ticket for the guitar drawing Saturday evening.
Please, seek out the Alternative Strings representatives during our festival. We would love to have your help creating the scholarship fund that will allow us to encourage future generations.