The first meeting of the Atlanta Open Band took place on Sunday, August 29, 2010, in the living room of Bob Kirkman's former house. The original flyer is attached below. The first meeting drew over 20 players (half of them playing guitar) and we completely overwhelmed the place. After a short discussion, we were making music together and on our way to becoming a band.

The Atlanta Open band (AOB) was the brain child of Bob Kirkman, a classically trained violinist who had recently picked up his violin again and started playing old-time music. As he and his family became more involved in the local contra dance scene, he saw a need to develop new local talent to keep the dance alive and make it thrive. Bob's love of music drives him to continue honing his craft through workshops and time with other musicians. The more he learns, the more he shares with the AOB, raising all members up. Though he's affectionately referred to as the Dark Fiddle Overlord (DFO), it's hard to imagine a more supportive and effective leader.

In addition to Bob, the AOB DFO, the band owes many thanks to its Patron Saint, Janet Shepherd. Janet has graciously opened her house to the band, providing free rehearsal space almost since the band's conception. Janet's basement has become the band's home.

As the band continues to grow musically, the members continue to nurture each other and create something more than a performance group. It's family. The connection is aided in no small part by the semi-annual Backyard Barbeques hosted by member Ralph Reiley and family. Members come together for a potluck meal around Ralph's famous Smoked Butt (after many jokes!) and end the evening playing music in the backyard. It's truly a wonderful, meaningful evening.

So, that's a little about the AOB. We'd love to have you join us!