Letters: Surfing; The Father of Bluegrass

Melissa Block and Michele Norris read emails from listeners.

Copyright © 2011 NPR. For personal, noncommercial use only. See Terms of Use. For other uses, prior permission required.

MICHELE NORRIS, host: Time now for your letters. And last week, we aired a story about the first pro surfing competition held on Long Island, New York. Australian Owen Wright took the title and a line in the story by our reporter, Mike Pesca, caught the attention of one listener.

MIKE PESCA: But the events around the surfing, which were to have included concerts and other extreme sports, were all cancelled by the city of Long Beach, which cited drained resources after Hurricane Irene.

NORRIS: John Rasmussen(ph) of Denver, Colorado writes this. The reporter used a phrase that caught my ear, saying that the event was to be accompanied by concerts and other extreme sports. As a professional musician, I want to thank you, NPR, for recognizing that concerts are, in fact, extreme events. Maybe now it will be easier for some of us to make a living doing music.

MELISSA BLOCK, host: Speaking of music, yesterday, we marked the centennial of the birth of Bill Monroe, the father of bluegrass. He died 15 years ago. In our remembrance, we heard from his biographer, Richard D. Smith, who told us that Monroe's influence goes well beyond bluegrass and continues today.

RICHARD SMITH: Maybe he doesn't have the specific impact of a Louis Armstrong or an Elvis Presley or a Frank Sinatra, but over a spectrum of American music, this man was quite influential.

BLOCK: For Connie Fryermouth(ph) of Portsmouth, New Hampshire, hearing Monroe's music brought back memories. It reminded her of what she says was the biggest thrill of her life, one night when Bill Monroe and the Bluegrass Boys performed at the Portsmouth Music Hall in the late 1980s.

She writes this. During the performance, they asked for a young lady to come up on stage and dance with Mr. Monroe. I thought there would be a rush, but no one went up. Then they played another song. They made the offer again and I jumped out of my seat and ran up on stage. It was just like dancing with my father when I was a kid. I'll never forget it.

(SOUNDBITE OF BLUEGRASS MUSIC)

NORRIS: Well, here's our offer. If you can't forget something you hear on our program for better or for worse, let us know about it at NPR.org. Just click on Contact Us.

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