The First Public Performance of the Pohick Pickers at the Pohick Country Fair, 1987
The Pohick Pickers were formed in the Fall of 1987, when I was serving at Pohick as a young seminarian. During the preceding Summer, the Fair Committee had decided it wanted some entertainment for the fairgoers. One of them approached a few of us with musical backgrounds to see what we could do. We were happy to oblige, and thus the Pohick Pickers were born.
There were originally four members in the group: Myself (acoustic guitar), Barbara Hoffman (now Barbara Lynn, banjo), Carolyn Duskin (electric bass), and Buddy Bryan (electric guitar). All of us provided vocals.
In those early days, we were essentially a once-a-year band, rehearsing on Apple Butter Saturday and playing for the throngs on Fair Day itself.
I graduated from seminary in 1989 and departed for Florida. Soon thereafter Barbara left the area for a time. The Pickers looked destined for the dustbin of Pohick history.
Into this void stepped our current band-leader, John Sessums (also now Pohick’s Sexton), whose skills as a professional musician have ably guided the Pohick Pickers ever since. Under his leadership, as well as that of his assistant, Chris Brown, the Pickers now perform not only during the Country Fair, but also at a number of other church activities throughout the year, including the annual Crab Feast in September, the Christmas Party for New Hope Housing in December, and other outreach events. The band also leads the communion music on the third Sunday of each month, and provides musical support for other less formal liturgical gatherings.
Since 1987, band membership has also grown. We’ve had as many as eight performing together on the same crowded stage. However, because most of us still have day jobs demanding our time, there are usually fewer than this number at a majority of the performances.
Although members have come and gone over the years (myself among them), most recently the band has included: John Sessums (guitar, banjo), Barbara Lynn (violin), Don Binder (guitar), Matt Johnson (guitar), Chris Brown (guitar), Mason Botts (bass), Alex Sessums (Bass), Bill Patton (drums), Carolyn Cockroft Brown (keyboard), Heather Seaton (keyboard), and Scot Seaton (penny whistle).
From its inception, the Pohick Pickers have had an eclectic repertoire—a result of both audience requests and the diverse musical interests of individual members. At its heart, however, the Pickers remain an old-fashioned folk group, with folk songs and spiritual revival standards forming the core of our musical catalogue. Around this hub have gravitated other musical styles, such as Pop, Country, Rockabilly, Bluegrass and Blues. Along the way, I began writing and eventually recording original songs that went along with the theme of our annual Parish Retreat—and these too are varied in style.
Whatever your own musical preferences, we hope that you will enjoy our ministry on Sunday mornings and at any of the events where our music is featured. We always perform for the love of Christ and the joy of the music—and we hope that you will catch some of each as you listen and sing along.