10th Annual Snow Hill Blues Jam Organized As Mike Armstrong Tribute

Mike Armstrong

SNOW HILL – The Snow Hill Blues Jam will celebrate 10 years with a tribute to a local musician.

The 10th annual Snow Hill Blues Jam is set for March 11 at the town’s old firehouse. This year’s event will honor Mike Armstrong, a local musician who passed away in September.

Armstrong was a member of the Snow Hill All Stars, a group known for its participation in the Blues Jam.

“We can’t wait to strum the guitars in Mike’s honor,” said Margot Resto, another longtime member of the Snow Hill All Stars. “We feel lucky to have known this wonderful man and grateful for all the music he gave us.”

The Snow Hill Blues Jam was started a decade ago as a fundraiser for the town’s arts and entertainment committee.

“It grew and got to be a signature event for Snow Hill,” said Michael Day, the town’s economic development consultant.

He says it’s become a popular social gathering that attracts attendees from not only Snow Hill but Berlin and Salisbury as well. Because of the limited amount of space in the firehouse, only 250 tickets are sold each year.

“It normally sells out,” Day said.

He said this year’s event nearly didn’t happen. After the death of area blues and jazz musician Burley Strand—better known as Mr. B—in  late 2014 and the more recent death of Armstrong, the local music community was depressed.

“It was almost canceled,” Day said, “but the community got together and said this is going to be a tribute to Mike Armstrong.”

Resto said local musicians were eager to honor Armstrong with their performances at the Blues Jam.

“Mike will be present in every note played,” she said, “as his virtuosic guitar and his unyielding spirit touched all who shared the stage with him and knew him.”

Performers for the Snow Hill All Stars at this year’s Blues Jam will include Resto, her husband Angel, their 15-year-old son Gabe, 17-year-old Chris Sajadi, Miss T and Robert “The Great Unknown” Buckner. The two teenagers are students at Salisbury’s Academy of Music Performance.

The headliner for the Blues Jam will be the Daryl Davis Revue. Davis, a Chicago native who was mentored by pianists Pinetop Perkins and Johnnie Johnson, will bring a group of hand-picked musicians to perform with him in Snow Hill.

Day says both groups will offer one-of-a-kind performances. The Snow Hill All Stars rarely perform and Davis is putting together a group of musicians just for this event.

“The music is going to be phenomenal,” he said. “You don’t get to see this all the time. This is not a group you see together.”

In addition to the live music, attendees at the Blues Jam will be offered a barbeque dinner, cash bar, raffle and silent auction. Tickets are $25 and are on sale at www.snowhillmd.com or at the Town of Snow Hill office.

About The Author: Charlene Sharpe

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Charlene Sharpe has been with The Dispatch since 2014. A graduate of Stephen Decatur High School and the University of Richmond, she spent seven years with the Delmarva Media Group before joining the team at The Dispatch.