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Sparta, Tennessee, Hometown of Lester Flatt, Honors Legendary Musician with Historical Marker

Sparta, Tennessee, Hometown of Lester Flatt, Honors Legendary Musician with Historical Marker

Above L-R: (seated) Blake Williams, Tammy Brumfield, Roland White,
(standing) Danny Clark, Kyle Cantrell, Joe Lurgio, Ashlee-Jean Trott,
Mayor Jeff Young, Kimberly Williams, Mike Brumfield, Ray Seckler, TN
State Representative Paul Bailey, White County Executive Denny Wayne
Robinson, Don Clark
(Photo Credit: Tonya Tindle, City of Sparta, TN)
Sparta, TN (October 16, 2014)—Bluegrass and Country music legend, Lester Flatt,
was honored in his hometown of Sparta, Tennessee recently when city and
county officials joined forces to unveil an historical marker in his
honor during Sparta’s annual event, Liberty Square: A Lester Flatt Celebration
for the marker began nearly 18 months ago when Sparta residents, Blake
and Kimberly Williams presented the idea at a White County Commissioners
meeting to have a marker placed at Oaklawn Cemetery where Flatt is
buried. “Lester was a very humble man and when he passed away, he didn’t
want a lot of attention,” explains Blake Williams, who is a former
member of Flatt’s band, the Nashville Grass, and was also a pallbearer
at Flatt’s funeral. “Kimberly and I have talked to many people who
worked with Lester over the years and also to his family, and we’ve all
felt the same way—that we wanted to do something in his honor. Since he
would have been 100 years old in June of this year, it just made sense
to do it now.”
commissioners agreed and voted unanimously to pass the budget for the
marker. Sparta’s Mayor, Jeff Young, was at the meeting and without
hesitation volunteered to pay for half the cost and offered any
assistance needed to see the project through. “With the green light from
both city and county officials in place, Kimberly began the legwork
that involved working with the officials, tasking music journalist Barry
Mazor, with the text for the marker and enlisting the help of W.D.
Stone & Associates on a design.”
The historical
marker was unveiled during the city’s annual event, named for Flatt, on
Saturday, October 11th. “We’ve been producing ‘Liberty Square: A Lester
Flatt Celebration’ for well over a decade now and were thrilled to be
able to commemorate Lester Flatt’s 100 years in bluegrass with this
marker and some very special guests,” states Sparta Mayor, Jeff Young.
The 45-minute ceremony included a special music presentation by Blake
Williams who enlisted the help of another Nashville Grass alumni, Roland
White, as well as Michael Cleveland, Wayne Southards, Dwayne Anderson
and a guest appearance by Darin Aldridge. Tennessee State Representative
Paul Bailey presented a proclamation on behalf of the State of
Tennessee honoring Flatt’s contributions to bluegrass and country music
and Kyle Cantrell, former Grand Ole Opry announcer and current program
director for SiriusXM Bluegrass Junction, spoke on Flatt’s impact on him
personally and professionally. In attendance and recognized during the
ceremony were Flatt’s granddaughter Tammy Brumfield and her husband
Mike;  Don Clark, owner of the Bluegrass Bus Museum;  Danny Clark, an
International Bluegrass Music Association (IBMA) Board member; Joe
Lurgio, IBMA staff member; Ashlee-Jean Trott, associate producer of
Music City Roots; Ray Seckler representing his father Curly Seckler; and
White County Executive Denny Wayne Robinson.

The historical marker will be placed at Oaklawn Cemetery located on Hwy 70 just outside of Sparta, TN in the next few weeks.

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