Fletcher Bright received the 2018 TSDAR Historical Preservation Medal posthumously at the TSDAR State Conference. Nominated by the Chief John Ross Chapter, NSDAR, Mr. Bright received the chapter award on Dec. 18, just days prior to his death.
Chief John Ross Chapter Regent Jessica M. Dumitru accepted the Tennessee’s highest historical preservation award for the Bright family at the conference. “Those of us who knew and loved Fletcher Bright feel the void left in our community and the world of bluegrass and mountain music created by his death. He was truly our ‘Renaissance man’ - - a man with a passion for music and the preservation of that music and the folklore surrounding its origins - - a man profoundly generous with his multiple talents, his time and his financial support for the arts and historical preservation.
"It is my honor to accept the 2018 TSDAR Historical Preservation Award on the behalf of Fletcher Bright’s five children: George, Lizzer, Anne, Franklin and Lucy and his seven beloved grandchildren. Fletcher Bright’s legacy continues through his family as they keep their father’s dream of preserving the music alive. They invite you to visit Chattanooga in October for the Three Sisters Bluegrass Festival and to share in their memories of their father and our friend.”
In 1945, a group of students at the McCallie School in Chattanooga got together and began singing and playing bluegrass music and, 72 years later, the Dismembered Tennesseans, led by Mr. Bright, were still performing all across the United States and in Europe. Because Mr. Bright championed the survival of bluegrass and ‘mountain music’ and the Dismembered Tennesseans and the Fletcher Bright Fiddle Band have excelled at that mission, the group has performed in every possible venue from bluegrass festivals to major symphonies, including performances at the Kennedy Center, on the NBC Sunday Today Show and the ABC Evening News. Mr. Bright’s role in the bluegrass performance, preservation and educational movement is being acknowledged this week at the International Bluegrass Music Awards where he was honored with the 2017 Distinguished Achievement Award.
Mr. Bright endowed ‘fiddle programs’ in a number of venues including the Berkelee School of Music and has taught bluegrass fiddle in camps and programs across the nation, Canada and England for more than 25 years. He skillfully recorded the notes and words of thousands of bluegrass classics and relatively unknown ‘tunes’. Mr. Bright was been named a ‘History-Maker’ by the Chattanooga History Center, received the Tennessee Governor’s Folk Heritage Award, appeared on the cover of Fiddler Magazine and personally created and endowed one of the “top five Bluegrass festivals” in the world, the 3 Sisters Bluegrass Festival in Chattanooga.
“Fletcher Bright is a national treasure in the preservation of our historical heritage and the Chief John Ross Chapter, NSDAR is thrilled that the Tennessee Society joined us in recognizing Mr. Bright’s legacy with the 2018 Historical Preservation Award,” said Ms. Dumitru. “How fortunate for Chattanooga and the bluegrass world that Mr. Bright combined his love of music and his passion for service in a way that enhanced our community and added beauty and cultural context to our lives. ”