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Memories and insights from Henry Fulcher

It was a pleasure getting to hear from WFLO AM and FM Co-Owner Henry Fulcher on April 26 at the Longwood Center for the Visual Arts (LCVA). Fulcher, a nationally recognized figure in the world of country and bluegrass music, was accepting the Barbara Ann Dixon Lifetime Achievement Award at the LCVA’s 2019 Community Achievement in the Arts Awards. He has been on the radio since 1956 and is the longest-running on-air announcer at WFLO in the history of the station.

During his speech, he expressed his gratitude to the LCVA for recognizing him, and he shared lessons learned and memories from his more than 62-year journey with music. He even recalled the seed moments that led to the journey.

“When I was 5 years old, two people came to visit — the neighbors that lived across the road about 25 miles from here out in Buckingham,” he said, noting they were two young brothers. “… They were at our farm where all 11 of us kids were born and raised, and they were getting up hay. … The grown-ups were throwing forkfuls of hay up on the wagon, and those two young men were up there packing the hay. This is in 1943, and they were singing ‘You Are My Sunshine,’ and that’s the first time that music really grabbed a hold of me.

“My older brothers and sisters would sing at night around the house, and I developed a love for music,” he continued. “And then in 1948, we were sitting, listening to the Grand Ole Opry, and Bill Monroe & The Bluegrass Boys came on, and Bill said, ‘I’d like to call my banjo player, Don Reno, around here to do the White House Blues.’ Well, I had never heard that three-finger style — some folks call it Scruggs style — that three-finger style of banjo played, and the crowd went wild. And then he did another tune after that, and I don’t remember the name of it, but it was years ahead of its time, and it captivated my soul. And from then on my life has centered around music.”

He highlighted three great focuses of his life during his speech: God, people and music.

“Music has allowed me to experience and to meet the greatest folks in the world,” he said. “… I found out the Lord will put around you the people that are necessary to help you carry out His plan, and the circumstances, He’ll control.”

One of the folks Fulcher met was Meherrin-born country music star Roy Clark. Fulcher remembered some advice he received from Clark and applied it to his situation at the LCVA’s awards ceremony.

“He told me once, he said, ‘You always have to be a good receiver else you destroy someone’s opportunity to be a good giver, and you don’t have a right to do that,’” Fulcher said. “But I don’t have to wonder about anything tonight. I can’t believe that you folks would be remembering me in such a wonderful way, and I hope this will mean something to my daughter and (my) two little grandchildren, little granddaughters, 10 and 5.”

TITUS MOHLER is the sports editor for The Farmville Herald and Farmville Newsmedia LLC. His email address is Titus.Mohler@FarmvilleHerald.com.