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Pickin' and grinnin' among hammers and nails

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It's become a Friday night tradition in downtown Waynesboro. That's when bluegrass musicians from three states flock to Beck and Benedict hardware store for an Old Tyme Friday Night Jam.

"They look forward to come and play in the hardware store on Friday nights," said store owner Dick Boschert. "It's the thing to do. It's a place to go and play music."

In just about every corner, and all throughout the aisles, you'll find bluegrass music being played at grassroots level. From duets to quintets, and groups even larger, more than forty players can be found strumming, fiddling and singing among the hardware and collectibles. Newcomers play along side veterans. This unique musical venue began shortly after Dick and Della Boschert took over the 113 year old business in 1986.

"The musicians got a place to play," Boschert said about the early days of the Friday night jams. " And the next thing you know, the people came around and they wanted to see and hear the musicians play. And the next thing you know, more musicians came around."

For many of the regulars, like Maryland resident Mack Woolard, it's a great place to learn and to teach.

"I always made it a goal of mine," he explained, " that any young person, or old person, who wanted to learn anything that I knew, I would always share it with them."

Across the hall from the hardware, glass shop, music shop, and train shop, they've added a Music Theatre where the roving musicians take turns on stage, playing to audiences of a hundred plus at times. The theatre also hosts scheduled monthly bluegrass concerts.

The store remains open for business during these Friday night jams. Boschert calls it mixing music and marketing.

"They come in and play the music," Boschert said. " They come in and listen to the music. But, they also walk around and they see what you got. And the next thing you know, they come by and they buy something."

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