By Mikie Dumire
The Parsons Advocate
Recently John Bowers was likened to Ray Kinsella from the 1989 movie Field of Dreams ‘If you build it they will come’ and come they did… all the way from Tahiti. 191 campers, numerous tents and just shy of 3,000 fans, from 28 states and two foreign countries, converged on the City of Parsons for the 10th Anniversary Celebration of Pickin in Parsons.
Brothers Robin and Laurent Hollinger, from Tahiti, set out on a 30 day vacation to the United States, with the intent to visit three Bluegrass Festivals. The brothers, along with their parents Adrian and Sylvia, made stops in Kentucky, Virginia and West Virginia. Robin said “We chose Pickin in Parsons because we knew Doyle Lawson was going to be here”.
Known as The Froggy Mountain Brothers, Robin and Laurent are the only Bluegrass Band in Tahiti. Adrian said “On our first visit to the US in 2006, we purchased a banjo and instruction book for Robin”. Robin said “I studied the instructions and watched legends such as Jim and Jesse and the Virginia Boys on YouTube.”
Laurnt said “Robin always practiced in his room, one day he came out of his room and hit up that banjo … so I said ‘I can do that too’, that’s when I got my guitar”.
Robin is the lead singer in Tahiti’s only bluegrass band with Laurent doing harmony and duets with Robin. Robin holds a PHD in Lasar Physics while Laurent is obtaining his PHD on Material Science. Both currently make their living with their music.
Although not on the schedule The Froggy Mountain Brothers entertained the crowd on stage Friday evening.
Also among the fans were Kent West a WWII Veteran who served in the South Pacific, and Pearl Kimble, a 90 year old lady who still plays the mandolin.
Campers Pat and Bud Perry and Dickie and Janet McCoy, all from Harrisonburg, Va. spent three weeks in Parsons in anticipation of the festival.
Pat said “We have been coming here for four years and we have meet the nicest people, we have met, Bob, Frank, Donna and Lucy the dog”. Pat said they take morning walks with a stop at McDonald’s. On the way Pat noticed a Blue Heron lawn statue in a yard, “I asked the lady if she would like to sale it and she said to just take it, she was so blessed she didn’t need anything for it. I couldn’t just take it, so the next day I made an anonymous donation for food for her cats. That’s how nice people are here.” Pat said.