Those of you who have been blues workshop participants the last few years will remember Lynn Volpe, John Cephas’ sweetheart, the woman who softened some of John’s edges in a quiet and understated way. Lynn is currently entrusted with carrying out John’s last wishes. If you knew John Cephas, you knew he understood his place and his responsibility in the unbroken chain of tradition bearers – he learned music from his cousin and his grandfather and his peers, and in his turn shared his gift unstintingly with anyone who showed an interest in his music. You would know of his unwavering commitment to teaching. And you would know of his belief that playing music was an organic process, that he “practiced on stage,” that you weren’t going to catch his music in the classroom alone – his house parties at the blues workshop are legendary.
As far as vehicles for passing on his music, the Port Townsend Blues Workshop was one of John’s favorites, and towards that end he wanted Lynn to fully scholarship a young and hungry and passionate guitar player to this year’s workshop. Just to be clear, this is above and beyond the Cephas and Wiggins Scholarship Fund created last year by Centrum, with the critical help of Barbara Hammerman and Raymond Lavine . This gift from John, through Lynn, will be bestowed upon one promising player selected by Phil Wiggins, John’s musical partner of 33 years.
If you feel inclined to honor John Cephas, consider a donation to the Cephas and Wiggins Scholarship fund. Your generosity will make a palpable difference. Contact Mary Hilts at Centrum – email@example.com, or 360-385-3102, ext 116.