Music is a creative outlet for many people, and eighth grader Wyatt Blankenship is no exception. Blankenship is a musician with skill in a variety of areas, both instrumental and vocal.
“I play a wide range of music varying from country, gospel and bluegrass. I play these varying ranges of music because they are all very popular with the citizens of this county,” said Blankenship.
He plays traditional bluegrass instruments like the guitar, banjo, mandolin, dobro and harmonica along with the piano and violin. He taught himself how to play each with help from online resources.
“I learned most of them off the internet, studying different chords and notes,” said Blankenship.
He first played the recorder in fifth grade and received a banjo as a Christmas gift in 2015. Blankenship began playing the clarinet the following year, which he played in the school band until the end of seventh grade. In early 2017, Blankenship got a mandolin, which led into his start of the guitar a couple months later.
He shares his musical talents on Saturdays from May through October at the Orange County Homegrown Farmers Market in Orleans from 10:30 a.m. to 12 p.m. Blankenship also plays at the local Lost River Market and Deli every Wednesday from 5:30 p.m. to 8 p.m.
His biggest inspiration, his late grandfather, drove him towards the style of music he plays today. Because of his grandfather’s music taste, which featured bluegrass country, and gospel, Blankenship began to perform for public audiences.
“I started playing at the Orleans Farmers Market on August 19, 2017 as a tribute to my grandpa,” said Blankenship.
Blankenship sings and plays original songs, as well as covers. His songs reflect his high appreciation, respect and love for Paoli as well as the wildlife that surrounds him.
“I draw inspiration from my fellow classmates and the natural environment around me. I have several fall songs I’m working on and a few about Paoli I plan to write,” said Blankenship.
The most important part of music, according to Blankenship, is that one’s true self shines through, not how others feel about it.
“Do not care about other people’s opinions; if you feel in your heart and soul that what you sing or play sounds good, no one else’s opinion matters,” said Blankenship.
To create something personal and heartfelt and share it with others has been an amazing adventure Blankenship hopes to continue experiencing.
Story by Masden Embry