Musicians, Officials Gather to Remember Life of Roy Everett

May 23, 2018

For more than nearly 45 years, Roy and Elaine Everett always knew what they were doing on Saturday evenings. As founders of the Pinelands Cultural Society, the couple coordinated concerts featuring bluegrass and county music.

But Roy Everett passed away in January at age 81. And on May 5, many musicians and longtime friends paid tribute to him at a special concert at the Albert Music Hall in Waretown, where concerts have taken place Saturday nights since January 1997.

The roots of the concerts date back to Saturday night gatherings in the 1950s to the early 1970s in a small Waretown cabin, where participants brought their guitars, mandolins, banjoes and other instruments.

The cabin was home to washtub bass player Joe Albert and his brother, George, a fiddler. During their music nights, “a handful of musicians would gather to pick and sing until the wee hours of Sunday morning,” according to the society’s website.

Huge crowds started attending. When George Albert died at 74 in October 1973, Joe, a year older, couldn’t handle the crowds on his own, and the music nights stopped.

But a group of bluegrass aficionados wanted to keep the music alive, so they formed the Pinelands Cultural Society. The first concerts were held in November 1974 at the old Waretown Auction, which is now the site of the Waretown Post Office on Route 9. Although a fire destroyed the building in July 1992, Saturday night performances continued uninterrupted in the parking lot in front of the ruins.

By late that summer, the PCS was able to temporarily present shows in the Frederic A. Priff Elementary School in Waretown. In May 1996, ground was broken for the society’s new Albert Music Hall building at 131 Wells Mills Rd. The 6,000-square-foot building was dedicated and officially opened on Jan. 5, 1997.

On May 5 the 350-seat venue was filled to capacity to honor Roy, who had been president of the PCS since its inception. Elaine was publicity director, but after her husband's death, she became president.

“There were 18 bands and each did two songs,” said Elaine Everett. “There was also a 10-minute biographical tribute on video. It was such a special evening and was very touching.”

She said there were presentations from state Senators Chris Connors and Diane Allen, along with numerous local and county officials.

“There were many plaques dedicated to Roy's memory,” she said.

Danielle Rozinski, publicity director, added, “The groups all played songs that they knew Roy loved.”  —E.E.


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