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March 2009 Volunteer Spotlight - Carrie and Nathanael Willis

Carrie and Nathanael Willis

MerleFest volunteer applicants sometimes request to be scheduled with spouses, friends, or family members. Debbie Cangiolosi, MerleFest volunteer coordinator, makes every effort to accommodate these requests. Carrie Wills and husband, Nathanael, are two of those who make such a request each year. Carrie and Nathanael have worked together as stage crew members since 2002 and have worked almost all the stages.

Their MerleFest experience began in 2001 when a friend, who had been attending with his family for years, told them about the festival. Carrie and Nathanael attended for only one night that year; but like so many others, they fell in love with MerleFest and were hooked. The next year Nathanael, who was chairman of the Appalachian Heritage Council at Appalachian State University, learned about volunteering through that group, and he and Carrie have volunteered every year since.

Each year they leave Little Rock, Arkansas and drive to North Carolina to meet up with friends and enjoy the music. "MerleFest is basically a reunion each year for our college friends and us. We know we'll always see everybody there. We know we are there once we're on the Boy Scout bus with everybody singing, wet from the rain and mud, and heading back to the campsite to hear more good music." Some of their favorite festival entertainers are David Rawlings and Gillian Welch, The Wilders, BeauSoleil, and Riley Baugus.

Back in Arkansas, Carrie works as volunteer coordinator for the Winthrop P. Rockefeller Cancer Institute, and Nathanael teaches Spanish and runs an after-school program. They love farming, gardening, cooking, and, of course, music. Their immediate family includes their dog, Wrigley, and seven chickens.

MerleFest appreciates all the volunteers who make the festival possible, especially volunteers like Carrie and Nathanael who return year after year.

If you haven't experienced the fun and satisfaction of getting on that Boy Scout bus and volunteering at one of the finest music festivals in the world, contact Debbie Cangiolosi and join Carrie and Nathanael Wills at MerleFest 2009.