By NECIA P. SEAMONS
Citizen staff writer
With his name in lights, Tate Bradfield once dreamed of fame and fortune, picking his banjo with a traveling band. Been there, done that, he said and now he’s hoping his banjo will help him preach the gospel.
Bradfield, a 2013 graduate of Preston High School, spent last summer traveling Utah and Arizona with CrosStrung – winners of the National Family Talent Search. The group features bluegrass, Celtic and gospel music and is performing in Preston on Nov. 2, to help their former band member raise funds to serve a mission for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
Bradfield said he crossed paths with CrosStrung in 2012, when the Utah family came to the Franklin County fair to perform. The band features Sheri Cluff on the guitar, drums and flute, her daughters, Emma, Sarah, and Leah, who play the mandolin, guitar, fiddle, bass and bass guitar, and Sarah’s husband, Dan Riggs, on the fiddle. Tate plays the banjo and sings.
When the Cluff family invited Tate to play on stage with them, the kid was elated. Two weeks later, he received an invitation to tour with the group, said his mother, Mariann Bradfield. While performing with the band, Tate said he enjoyed meeting popular singer Alex Boye at the Celebration of the Family in Sandy, Utah.
Tate picked up the banjo following an accident on a four-wheeler that ended his activity in sports when he was 15 years old.
“I asked my mom for banjo lessons for my birthday,” said Tate. Mariann rented a banjo and enlisted Dave Taylor, of Smithfield, Utah, to teach her son, and then wondered what she’d done.
“He’d drive me crazy. He played all the time,” she said. Tate couldn’t get enough of the banjo “twang” he loves, so his mother would send him out on the porch to practice.
“I think that is why these bluegrass bands are (affiliated with) the front porch. They are loud,” she laughed. To help Tate learn to play with other musicians, Randy, his father, dusted off his guitar and practiced with his son. “They really got close playing together,” said Mariann.
This story is sponsored by LaMonts Automotive.
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