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February 2010 Volunteer Spotlight - Mary Harkless and Richard Goldstein

Mary Harkless and Richard Goldstein

Dancers love MerleFest. Two of those dancers are volunteers Mary Harkless and Richard Goldstein of Princeton, West Virginia. "We love to dance -- ballroom, swing, salsa, Cajun, contra dance, and anything else we can jump into with four feet," comments the couple. Mary and Richard have recently been taking a line dancing class and, who sings one of the songs they are dancing to? The Zac Brown Band! Perfect timing for that band's appearance at MerleFest 2010.Feb 2010

During a visit to another festival, Mary and Richard saw MerleFest flyers and decided to make the springtime trip to Wilkesboro, North Carolina. On that first visit, they saw some MerleFest volunteers in action, talked to them about the volunteer experience, and then sent in their first volunteer application three years ago. In those three years they have worked in raffle, hospitality, and volunteer check-in at Flattop's Getaway.

By the time MerleFest 2010 rolls around Mary, a therapist, will be grandmom to a boy. He'll be born in March and is already named Noah. Richard works as a Legal Aid attorney.

The couple has some MerleFest favorite performers—Bearfoot, Scythian, Laura Love, Rory Block, Feufollet, and Donna the Buffalo. They'll be searching their schedules for those returning favorites as well as checking out "new" performers. "We love the whole experience of seeing young performers who represent the future of a tradition of music and dance that also includes legendary writers and performers like Doc Watson and Pete Seeger. There is so much energy and love for music, song, and rhythm packed into four days—we wouldn't miss it for anything."

One of Mary and Richard's favorite MerleFest memories came during the 2009 festival. "We'll never forget Linda Rondstadt's all-in-Spanish mariachi performance on the main stage. Talk about an amazing multi-faceted musical career! And how fitting that she came to MerleFest, where no musical holds are barred."

Of the MerleFest experience Mary and Richard say, "This is a textbook example of how music, commitment, and lots of hard work can bring people together. As for volunteering, we do it because it's a lot of fun."

MerleFest appreciates the loyalty and hard work of these fine volunteers and everyone in our volunteer family. Watch for Mary Harkless and Richard Goldstein as they dance their way through MerleFest 2010. They'll be the ones who look like "Dancing With the Stars" contestants when the Zac Brown Band plays.