Center for the Arts Presents Cherryholmes

Posted: March 18, 2009 at 1:00 am, Last Updated: November 30, -0001 at 12:00 am

Cherryholmes delighted audiences when they last performed at Mason’s Center for the Arts in 2007, and they return for a spectacular night of bluegrass on Saturday, April 4, at 8 p.m.

The six members of Cherryholmes have many qualities that make them unique, but their success lies in plain, old-fashioned hard work combined with dazzling talent.


Cherryholmes’ live shows include twin fiddles, Irish step dancing, classic country yodeling and old-time claw hammer in addition to their vibrant bluegrass music.

Each musician takes a turn singing lead and showcasing his or her abilities.

As little as 10 years ago, this group did not exist, and half of its youthful members hadn’t even picked up an instrument. Jere and Sandy Lee Cherryholmes met in their church, married and began raising their family outside of Los Angeles, with Jere working as a carpenter and Sandy Lee homeschooling their children.

In 1999, their eldest daughter Shelly died in her sleep from respiratory failure due to chronic heart problems. Shortly after her death, the family heard about a bluegrass festival and decided to attend to lift their spirits.

“It changed our entire lives, going to that bluegrass festival and spending that day with [our children],” Sandy Lee says. “On the way home, Jere said, ‘You know what we really need right now is to do something special with our kids. Let’s start a bluegrass group.’ We decided who would play what and I started giving them music lessons.”

A decade later, the couple and four of their children – Cia Leigh, B.J., Skip and Molly Kate – have received several Grammy nominations, the International Bluegrass Music Association (IBMA) award for “Entertainer of the Year,” a regular gig at the historic Grand Ole Opry and a touring schedule of almost 300 days a year.

In addition to playing bass, Jere serves as the band’s manager and sings, while Sandy Lee serves as administrator, plays mandolin and sings harmony.

Cia Leigh started out playing guitar at age 15, and switched to banjo a year later. She was named the Society for the Preservation of Bluegrass Music in America’s (SPBGMA) banjo player of the year for 2005 and 2006.

B.J. began playing fiddle at age 11, and he is featured on Rhonda Vincent’s live concert DVD and CD, “Ragin’ Live.”

Skip began playing mandolin at age 9, and switched to guitar a year later. He has been featured in Flat-Picking Guitar Magazine.

Cherryholmes’s youngest member, Molly Kate, began playing fiddle at age 6. She was a 2004 IBMA nominee for fiddler of the year, and SPBGMA nominated her as 2005’s fiddler of the year.

Cherryholmes has received industry nominations and awards, including Grammy nominations for their albums “Cherryholmes,” “Cherryholmes II: Black and White” and, most recently, “Don’t Believe,” on Skaggs Family Records.

A discussion, free to ticket holders, will begin 45 minutes prior to the performance on the Center’s Grand Tier III.

The Center for the Arts is pleased to recognize the generous support of PNC and the PNC Foundation as sponsors of the 2008-09 Great Performances at Mason season.

Tickets are $44, $36 and $22; tickets for children 12 and under are half price. Charge by phone at 888-945-2468 or visit

Write to at