Updated Fri, Jul 12, 2013 2:15 pm
Ask almost any expert in any field and they'll tell you the same thing: If you want to be really good at something, start young.
The Yurco Boys of Cambridge certainly have that covered.
Tanner Yurco, 12, Lane Yurco, 11 and Clayton Neil, 15, are already pro pickers on the banjo, mandolin and guitar respectively.
The brothers will have a chance to show off those skills when they open the Tuesday, July 23 Celebrate New Concord concert in Village Park, with headliners Northwest Territory.
Pretty good, considering Northwest Territory has been playing longer than the boys have been alive.
The three brothers, with the support of their parents Rob and Tammy Yurco, are already veterans on their instruments. Tanner, a seventh grader at East Muskingum, has been playing since he was eight years old; Lane, an East Muskingum sixth grader, has played since age eight, and Clayton, a sophomore at John Glenn High School, started when he was 11 years old.
And play they do. Clayton explained that the trio practices about two hours a day, and the day starts at 5 a.m.
"We get in about a half an hour before we have to go to school at 5:30 a.m.," he said, "and at least an hour-and-a half after school."
On top of that, they've all been taking lessons since they started, working to master bluegrass, which is their favorite music to play. But that wasn't always the case, at least for Clayton.
"When I got my guitar," he said, "I thought I was headed for rock and roll. But it's an acoustic guitar, and you don't see a lot of that in rock, so bluegrass is what we're working on."
The boys have appeared in many far-flung venues, from the Pumpkin Festival to the Quaker City Banjo Contest, and they're headed for the Muskingum County Fair this year. That would be plenty of success for some, but they hope that's only the start.
Tanner likes to talk about playing at the National Banjo Championship in Winfield, Kan., someday, and Clayton isn't afraid to dream big.
"We're just trying to take this as far as we can," Clayton explained. "Who knows, maybe even something like America's Got Talent on TV."
The July 23 Celebrate New Concord performance will begin at 7 p.m. in Village Park, and the Yurco Boys will be immediately followed by the return of Northwest Territory, one of Celebrate New Concord's most popular bands.
Northwest Territory has been performing its own style of bluegrass music since its first performance in 1989. The trio's style covers not only bluegrass but country, folk and gospel, and their performances also include original material.
The band prides itself on a fast-paced and vibrant stage presence. They have performed at venues from Canada to Florida and New York to Illinois, including bluegrass festivals, summer concert series, fairs and art centers.
The group includes its founding member, Mike Gorrell, who plays guitar, mandolin and sings; Randall Boring, on banjo and lead and harmony vocals; and Mary Kettering, an accomplished fiddler.
The concert is free and open to the public. Visitors are encouraged to bring a lawn chair or blanket for seating. In the event of rain, the performance will be moved into the firehouse at the park.
Food service will be provided by Ruritan, with proceeds benefitting the New Concord Food Pantry.
Celebrate New Concord is sponsored by the Village of New Concord and the New Concord Area Board of Trade, and is made possible with the support of the members of the Celebrate New Concord Patronage Program.
For more information on upcoming performances, call the recorded information line at 740-826-6392 or find Celebrate New Concord on Facebook.