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 28 · Crouse Park · Sparta NC

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LUKEfest is a benefit concert held each year in Sparta, NC at Crouse Park. This year’s concert is May 28 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.

Yates Family Band

Local Alleghany Boy Scouts will be cooking hamburgers & hotdogs, to raise money for camp. 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 the proceeds will go to local youth, either in the way of scholarships or camp fees. 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:
Colors by the Boy Scouts, 1:00 p.m.
National Anthem, Karis Howell, 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.

Wayne Henderson & Jeff Little

LUKEfest 2017 is proud to announce the return of its famous duo – Wayne C Henderson and Jeff Little. Both Master musicians/artists with roots in the Appalachian Mountains. Wayne & Jeff have played together for so many years that it is almost like they are “connected” with their top-notch finger picking styles and shows engrained in old time country bluegrass and traditional mountain music.

Wayne has built his reputation as a well versed guitarist and a great renown Luthier. He was the recipient of a National Heritage Award and has performed at Carnegie Hall and the 1992 Presidential inauguration, just to name a few. He was most comfortable playing in his shop, at his lifelong home place in Rugby, Va., population 7, where he plays with friends and neighbors who drop by for a visit.
In 1995, Wayne established the Wayne C Henderson Festival & Guitar Competition, that has helped fund college scholarships for young musicians. Each year, the winner of the guitar competition receives a Henderson guitar. The competition, itself, has raised nearly $250K in scholarships since its inception.

Good friend Doc Watson was quoted as saying Wayne’s handmade instruments were “as good as any he’d had his hands on. And that was saying a lot because I’ve picked up some good ones”. Blue guitarist John Caphas said that Wayne “is probably the most masterful guitar maker in the whole United States”. Notable clients include: Eric Clapton, Doc Watson, Gillian Welch, Peter Rowan, Rosanne Cash & Vince Gill. Clapton ordered 2 identical guitars, waiting over two years on “the waiting list”. One for himself and the other to auction off for charity. The second brought $31,200 – the highest ever paid for a guitar made by a living American luthier- at Christie’s auction house in 2006.

Jeff Little “picks” the piano, although rarely thought of as a lead instrument in Appalachian music, Jeff proves he is the “exception to the rule”. His distinctive style with breathtaking speed and precision, make Jeff’s two-handed performance an echo of old time country and traditional blues, that dates back to his younger years, growing up in Boone, NC, playing in the family music shop.

One of his influences was also Doc Watson, who helped shape Jeff’s approach to the piano. Performances include the Smithson Institution, the National Folk Festival and he was inducted into the Blue Ridge Mountain Hall of Fame in 2014.

As with Wayne, Jeff and he have played music since before the age of 14 and when these two get together, it is a magical spectacle NOT TO BE MISSED!

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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