No Rest for the Pickers to open for Monroe Crossing in May 7 concert
No Rest for the Pickers is made up of teenagers Sawyer Corcoran on fiddle, Johnny Pfaff on bass and Aidan Larson on mandolin. They met at Headwaters fiddle camp a few years ago and struck up a friendship. Joining them are a pair of 33-year-olds, Joel Verschay on guitar and Corey Campbell on banjo.
BEMIDJI — Monroe Crossing will be the headliner, but an up-and-coming local band featuring three talented teenagers will get things started at the Chief Theater on Saturday, May 7.
No Rest for the Pickers will open the show at 7 p.m. with a 30-minute set. The event is a major fundraiser for Headwaters Music and Arts, providing funds for its music scholarship program.
A limited number of tickets priced at $25 may be available at the door or by calling Headwaters at (218) 444-5606.
No Rest for the Pickers is made up of teenagers Sawyer Corcoran on fiddle, Johnny Pfaff on bass and Aidan Larson on mandolin. They met at Headwaters fiddle camp a few years ago and struck up a friendship.
Joining them are a pair of 33-year-olds, Joel Verschay on guitar and Corey Campbell on banjo. The band was formed three years ago.
Verschay, a teacher at Leech Lake Tribal College, said he and Campbell are happy to be along for the ride as the youngsters develop their skills.
“They’re just very talented, and they get better and better,” Verschay said. “It’s cool to see them grow as musicians and individuals. Corey and I very much view our role in the band as being support. The young guys keep us honest, too, because we’ve got to pick up our instruments and practice just to keep up.”
The group was scheduled to open for Monroe Crossing in Bemidji two years ago, but that concert was canceled because of the coronavirus pandemic. Meanwhile, No Rest for the Pickers has played a variety of gigs in the region, including a John Prine tribute event at Headwaters in April.
“This is an awesome opportunity,” Verschay said. “It’s about two years in the making. It’s kind of like a good bookend to it, to be able to do that two years later. We’re a different, tighter band now.”
Headwaters executive director Tricia Andrews remembers the young musicians meeting at fiddle camp and bonding over a shared love of music.
“That connection with fiddle camp and that good experience is special,” Andrews said. “It’s our longest-running summer program. It makes me happy knowing that sort of thing happened. They formed a friendship and it grew to this. I’ve seen them grow and become more confident as performers.”
Leah Corcoran, who manages the band, said her son wanted to put together a bluegrass-style band that he could play in on a regular basis.
“We sort of scouted people out,” she said. “Johnny and Aidan were a natural fit, of course. At the time, however, Aidan wasn’t playing mandolin at all. He was playing viola. But he has since learned and mastered the mandolin, so that’s been a really cool thing to watch.”
They also reached out to find a banjo player and a guitarist to complete the group.
Campbell, who works as a forestry technician for Beltrami County, heard Sawyer jam with a Celtic group at Brigid’s Pub, where Leah was a server. Verschay is a family friend.
“They hit it off right away,” Leah said. “It started out very informally. But as their individual skills developed, they grew musically as a unit, and they’ve really evolved as a band.
"They started with mostly bluegrass with some folk-rock mixed in, but they kind of have their own groove now that people come to expect to hear from them. They’re very lively. They really get people moving.”