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Concert to raise funds for interactive trail

W hen Steve Cook first walked an interactive music trail, he was captivated. A longtime musician, Jonesborough resident and creator of the town’s Music on the Square, Cook knew a good idea when he saw it.
“It was in Sedona, Arizona,” Cook recalled “It just caught my eye and I thought, ‘What a great thing. We could do this downtown.’”
The outdoor site featured larger-than-life, specially made instruments designed to provide interactive musical fun and education for the musical and nonmusical alike.
“They’re tuned to a certain scale,” Cook said. “There are no wrong notes.”
Instruments can include metalphones, bells, drums and more, and are used anywhere from urban streets to suburban parks.
Cook began to research the possibilities for Jonesborough as soon as he got home. Then he started talking to town and county officials, neighbors, friends and fellow musicians.
The general consensus seemed to be that it would be a great addition to the town’s historic district, Cook said — perfect for all ages and abilities, and perfect for a town already known for its music and storytelling.
That’s when Cook, along with fellow musician Don Burger, came up with another great idea.
Burger had recently been in touch with some longtime friends, the members of Mustard’s Retreat, who were going to be in the area and were interested in playing some music.
A fundraising concert to help fund the effort seemed the perfect solution.
The benefit concert, co-sponsored by the Town of Jonesborough and Music on the Square and scheduled to be held Sunday, Jan. 18, at 3 p.m. at the McKinney Center at Booker T. Washington School, will give area residents and visitors a perfect opportunity for an afternoon of inspiring and funny music, along with refreshments and sing-alongs for all ages — all while helping support the proposed trail.
“One thing about Mustard’s Retreat is that they spent years touring with Peter, Paul and Mary,” Burger said. “They’re the unsung heroes of folk music.”
For the past 40 years, in fact, this duo of David Tamulevic and Michael Hough has been entertaining audiences with their special brand of folk music
A Jonesborough trio, known as Local Relish and made up of Don and Deb Burger and Peter Montanti, will open for Mustard’s Retreat.
Tickets are $15 each, $25 per couple and $10 for anyone over age 65 or under age 10.
Money raised will go toward a series of public arts projects, the first initiative of which will be the interactive music walk.
According to Cook, they’ve already been in touch with Freenotes Harmony Park which produces the instruments and are eager to get started.
According to the company’s website, Grammy award-winning designer Richard Cooke created Freenotes to ensure musical success for all players.
In Jonesborough, the task would be the same.
And the fit, according to Cook, would be ideal.
“Music on the Square is the Friday night place to be in the summer,” Cook said. These instruments would help broaden that appeal.
“You can hardly walk by them and not participate,” he added. “Everybody has some kind of music in them. This will help bring it out.”
For more information or tickets for the benefit concert, visit or call 753-1010.