SILT — Not many 15-year-old bluegrass musicians can say they’ve played with world-famous picker David Grisman.
Waldorf School alumni Zachary Baker and Miles Petterson have those bragging rights.
“We played at Steve’s Guitars in April of 2012 just before Chatham County Line took the stage, and that was a big thrill,” Baker said. “The next month, we were honored to be invited to open for the David Grisman Bluegrass Experience at PAC3 in Carbondale. It was an incredible opportunity.”
Baker and Petterson comprise the Fresh Cut Mandolin Duo, a two-person bluegrass and progressive mandolin group performing at 7 p.m. today at the Silt Historical Park, 707 Orchard Ave. The teens will play music and explain the construction and history of their instrument of choice. The free concert — donations are welcome — also includes tours of the historical park and a vintage instrument display.
“I like playing for local audiences because it feels like it’s an intimate environment where we can interact with the audience,” Baker said.
Along with gigs throughout the valley, the Fresh Cut Mandolin Duo has played by invitation at L’Hostaria in Aspen the last two summers. Baker started playing mandolins and making his own instruments after being given an acoustic guitar and music lessons for his 5th birthday from his parents.
“I was further encouraged by a young band named Bearfoot from Alaska that toured the country offering bluegrass camps for kids,” Baker said. “When I turned 6, I picked up the mandolin and began working with it.”
After several summers of music instruction at the Lyons, Colo.-based Planet Bluegrass Rocky Grass Academy, Baler constructed his own mandolin from a partial kit during a four-day instrument-building class.
“A couple of years later, I chose to build an A-style mandolin as an eighth-grade project,” he said. “I was mentored under master luthier Bobby Winteringham, of San Juan Mandolins in Dolores, Colo.”
Petterson has also built his own mandolin, which he proudly played on stage with Grisman.
After successfully studying at the Rocky Grass Academy, Baker and Petterson have gone on to playw consistently together since September of 2010. They first met at the Pagosa Bluegrass music festival and later attended Waldorf together, having competed in the Glenwood Springs Kiwanis Stars of Tomorrow competition.
The concert is a treat for the Silt Historical Park, said Pattie Peterson, who helps with programming at the donation- and grant-funded outdoor venue. The Fresh Cut Mandolin Duo opens the summer season, which continues at 7 p.m. Saturday, June 15, with Ken Carlson portraying Mark Twain.
“If frogs are available we also hope to have a frog jumping competition,” Peterson said.
At 7 p.m. July 20, the Silt series presents Donald Brehm in Teddy Roosevelt character.
”He plans on talking about TR’s efforts in conservation and the hunting he did in the area,” Peterson said. “We also tentatively have Judith Hayward portraying Jerusha Sipperelle on Aug. 23 and everyone’s favorite, Anita Witt, in September.”