On a recent trip to Epcot I got a rare musical treat. While strolling around the World Showcase promenade I decided to stop by the American Adventure pavilion to see one of my favorite live acts. Unfortunately, when I reached the entrance to the rotunda a Cast Member informed me that the Voices of Liberty were on vacation. Saddened by this news I started to turn away when she spoke up and said that there would be another live musical act performing today if I would like to stay and watch. Of course, this peaked my interest so I stepped inside to take my usual place on the floor beneath the rotunda.
After a few minutes of waiting anxiously to see who this new group was, they rounded the corner. Out came three men and two women all decked out in their best Western attire. The first thing that was different about this performance was they did not want anyone to be sitting in the floor beneath the rotunda because they would utilize the entire space. I shifted to have my back facing the pavilion entrance to get a prime viewing spot. The leader of the group brought out a fiddle and a small amplifier in order to take advantage of the great acoustics the rotunda offers. The other members of the band all played their string instruments acoustically and the sound was outstanding.
The group took no time to get the show started and hit it off with a great high tempo Country/Western song that also showcased some great tap dancing. The tap dancing was a mix of traditional and almost Celtic like moves. When this member of the group was not dancing she was showing off her skills with a wooden spoon. As with many of the performances in Disney this one also provided some comic relief. The group members played off one another, and we also got a great show from the member playing the banjo. As he stepped up for his “big solo” he acted as if he couldn’t deliver and instead brought out a harmonica. As if his great playing wasn’t enough he then added a second harmonica to the mix and this really got the crowd clapping along. Unfortunately I did not catch the names of all the songs they played, but a few of them were Take Me Back to Tulsa, The Tennessee Waltz, and The Orange Blossom Special.
Even though I missed my favorite performers that day, I was very glad to get to hear this group. After the show I approached them to ask their name and how long they’d been playing together. I was informed they were called The Hometown Jamboree. Several of the members have been playing together for almost ten years, and they do fill in for the Voices of Liberty on occasion. It’s hard to believe that out of all the times I’ve been in Epcot I’ve never heard of them. Because of their sporadic appearances not much information is out there about this group but I look forward to seeing them again someday. Make sure to check your times guide or stop by each time you are in Epcot, and you too may get the chance to see this group that does an amazing job of showcasing American folk music.
Contributed by: Shalon Given (NDI#167) Shalon is the DDL Music Blogger.