Luke Hampton
In honor of Luke Hampton

The LUKEfest Memorial Sunday Concert in Crouse Park kicks off summer with an afternoon of musical entertainment that commemorates Luke Hampton, a high school athlete crippled by a freak accident that has left him challenged by a lifelong disability.

Dec. 3, 2011, then Alleghany High School Senior, Luke Hampton, the state’s top-ranked 1A wrestler at 182 pounds, tripped as he lunged at his opponent. He went head-first into a wall and fell lifeless to the floor. Lives change in an instant.

Air-lifted to Wake Forest Medical Center in Winston-Salem, emergency surgery repaired damage to his C5 and C6 vertebra.

Even before the full extent of his injuries were known, “the school came together to support one of its own,” AHS Principal Chris Barnes said. Students showed up wearing green and yellow ribbons (school colors) as a tribute. T-shirts were printed for sale. Signs — large and small, some hand-lettered — began showing up in town and along US 21, all proclaiming the same sentiment: Our thoughts and prayers are with you.

Fund raising began for the $40,000 not covered by insurance to airlift Luke to the Shepherd Center, a center for spinal injuries in Atlanta. In spite of lean times and a county population under 12,000, a BBQ lunch and auction raised over $20,000. The high school’s electrical trades instructor found volunteers who began building a handicap friendly addition to the Hampton home with donated materials.

Even arch-rival Ashe County High School helped raise money and received the 2012 NC Spirit of Sport Award from the NCHSAA (North Carolina High School Athletic Association) for their efforts.

Parents Randy and Benita were overwhelmed by the response of the community. Thank you seems inadequate an expression.

Luke is now back in Sparta, and his mother a community college administrator, has learned how to feed her paralyzed son, bath him, and move him with a lift.

In the frenzy before his high school graduation, he was still a center of attention. He received the Coach’s Award to add to his numerous athletic trophies and recognition. He was invited to speak at graduation. “I cried all the way through it typing it up for him,” his mother said.

It was also a bittersweet time. Friends were moving on with their plans, college or a job. Luke waited for a miracle.

His family has had to learn patience and small improvements give them hope. “Doctors tell us the spinal cord was not broken, but it’s slow to heal. It may be years before we know how much he can recover,” she said.

More than two years after his injury, Luke still requires mechanical assistance to breathe and has no use of his arms or legs. In spite of his need for ongoing daily care, he remains at home.

36 | Remember Luke

LUKEfest 2014
Sunday · May 29 · Crouse Park · Sparta NC

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The Harris Brothers, hailing from Caldwell County, make their debut performance at LUKEfest 2016. They will share the stage with another popular LUKEfest duo, Wayne Henderson and Jeff Little, along with our own Crouse House Pickers

LUKEfest is a benefit concert held each year in Sparta, NC at Crouse Park. This year’s concert is May 29 starting at 1 p.m. Bring a lawn chair or blanket to spread out on the grass in front of the Crouse Park Stage. Concessions will be available.

The festival is named for Luke Hampton, a high school athlete paralyzed in a wrestling tournament. No admission is charged, but donations are appreciated. The event is sponsored by the Alleghany Boy Scouts. All donations and proceeds from the concert go to the Alleghany Education Foundation. In case of rain, the concert will be performed in the Alleghany Auditorium at 450 North Main Street (U.S. 21).

In recognition of Memorial Day weekend, the VWF begins the afternoon with a Color Guard and the national anthem at 1 p.m. Everybody on stage is donating their time and are playing at no charge for this special concert.

Sparta is located in North Carolina's Blue Ridge Mountains and is the most convenient mountain community to the NC Piedmont. From I-77 take exit 83 (northbound traffic only) or exit 85 and follow US 21 North for 29 miles up the mountain to Sparta. At the second traffic signal, go right onto NC 18 North. Crouse Park begins at the second left at the intersection with Grayson St.

Find us on Facebook for photos from previous concerts. Like us for updates and share to help get the word out. The more of your friends that show up for LUKEfest, the more delightful an afternoon for you.

The tentative schedule for the afternoon is as follows:
Color Guard, 1:00 p.m.
The Harris Brothers, 1:30 p.m.
Auction from the stage, 2:30 p.m.
Wayne C. Henderson & Jeff Little, 3:00 p.m,
Crouse House Pickers, 4:00 p.m.
ending about 5:00 p.m.

The Harris Brothers draw from a vast repertoire of American traditional music – “Americana” is often used to describe their style, but the Harris Brothers just call it music. It’s blues mixed up with traditional Appalachian music, jazz, country, bluegrass and rock n’ roll; it’s stripped down, intense and real. Grammy Award-winner and previous performer at the Montana Folk Festival David Holt says “The Harris Brothers are one of my favorite groups. Great playing, singing and soul. It just doesn’t get any better than this.”

The Harris Brothers

Reggie and Ryan Harris were born into a musical family in Caldwell County in the foothills of western North Carolina and have been picking and singing since they were small children. They most often perform with just an acoustic guitar, a bass, a suitcase used as a kick drum, and their two voices (switching between lead and harmony vocals), but they have been known to throw in a fiddle, banjo or electric guitar now and again. Listeners often ask, “How can two people put off such a big sound?”

The Harris Brothers have been playing steady gigs for many years – from honkytonks to large venues like the Blue Ridge Music Center and festivals like MerleFest, Hickory Fest and the Wayne C. Henderson Music Festival. They have lent their talents to projects such as Vassar Clements’ Vassar’s Jazz (Winter Harvest) and Dead Grass (Cedar Glen), two Summerville projects with Nashville bassist Ross Sermons, several Caldwell County Traditional Musicians Showcases, as well as albums of their own. The brothers have shared the stage with such accomplished musicians as Vassar Clements, Bobby Hicks, David Holt, Peter Rowan, David Grisman, and Laura Boosinger, to name a few.

With their showmanship, diverse repertoire and ability to improvise, no two shows are ever the same. And, with their hearts truly in the music they are playing, the Harris Brothers are sure to captivate any audience.

Wayne Henderson & Jeff Little

The Henderson-Little duo returns from the 2015 LUKEfest. Rugby, Virginia guitarist Wayne Henderson is also renowned as an instrument maker. He was the subject of the book, “Clapton's Guitar: Watching Wayne Henderson Build the Perfect Instrument.”

The Washington Post said Boone, NC, pianist Jeff Little brought fast, tricky fiddle tunes to the piano much as Doc Watson brought them to the guitar. When you put an innovator like Little together with Henderson’s top-notch finger-picking style, even bluegrass and mountain standards take on new life.

The Crouse House Pickers

The Crouse House Pickers is the name for a jam session of musicians that have been getting together every Monday evening for more than two decades and for the last decade in the Crouse House located at the Park. The years have given them a familiarity with each others’ styles such that they have a range of music from bluegrass and gospel to country and a bit of the blues.





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