Any of you with news of interest to the Gathering community should send a copy to the Gathering office, so we can publish it here… This year was notable for the loss of so many great friends and musical influences. Among the more notable losses to the folk community were David Crosby, Jimmy Buffett, David Lindley, Jesse McReynolds, Gordon Lightfoot, Bobby Osborne, and Robbie Robertson. But it is the loss of Gathering friends that cuts most deeply. All of us here in Swannanoa continue to mourn the passing of our great friend and wonderful human being, Al Petteway after a brief struggle with cancer. Al was the original Coordinator of our Guitar Week, a position he held for nearly 25 years. He won a Grammy, 45 WAMMIES (Washington Area Music Awards) and was a recipient of the Gathering’s Master Music Maker Award for lifetime achievement. If you’ve ever listened to Dream Guitars’ demo videos, chances are you’ve heard Al. His music is featured in several of Ken Burns’ films including The National Parks; America’s Best Idea and the recently released, The American Buffalo. But as brilliant a composer and fingerstyle guitarist as he was, he was an even better person, unfailingly kind, cheerful and humble. The world has lost some of its color without Al in it… We note the inaugural year for two new Coordinators: Matt Watroba for Traditional Song Week and Andrew Finn Magill for Fiddle Week, as well as the arrival of Warren Wilson College’s new President, Damián Fernández… Too late for last year’s newsletter, we note here the passing of long-time staffer and wonderful friend of the Gathering, David Surette. He is already missed… This summer’s Gathering missed the familiar voice and face of Jon Zachary who passed in November… In January, we lost the great acoustic bluesman Steve James. Steve was one of the mainstays of our Guitar Week, in which he taught for more than 25 years. His knowledge and reverence of acoustic blues traditions, his teaching skill and powerhouse performances were incomparable and he is dearly missed…Former staffer and wonderful fiddler Pete Sutherland left us last December. He was such an influence on so many… Congratulations go to staffers John Reischman and Patrick Sauber for their contributions to the International Bluegrass Music Association’s (IBMA) Collaborative Recording of the Year, Gordon Lightfoot’s “Alberta Bound”… Don’t forget to support your local Public Radio and Television stations. For other folk news, don’t forget the online resources AcousticGuitarForum.com, UMGF.com (The Unofficial Martin Guitar Forum), MandolinCafe.com, BanjoHangout.com, Mandozine.com and magazines The Old-Time Herald, Acoustic Guitar, Dulcimer Players News and Fiddler.