Benefit sale for Scott County JAMs

Marci Gore • Oct 27, 2016 at 8:30 PM

HILTONS, Va. — Tim “Beech” Wells says his late wife, Scott County native Sue Ella Boatright-Wells, had her own unique style — as well as “a weakness for clothes.”

Boatright-Wells passed away in August. Her lifelong friend, Linda Burkett, has helped Beech organize a benefit sale of the many clothes, shoes and accessories Boatright-Wells left behind.

The sale will be held at Burkett’s historic home, located at 6474 Bristol Highway in Hiltons, Va., from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., Friday through Sunday. Proceeds will go to the Scott County JAMs program, which teaches traditional mountain music to local students.

Boatright-Wells, who was passionate about keeping the culture and traditions of the Southwest Virginia region alive and growing, was also instrumental in helping to bring Scott County JAMs to the county’s students.

Through her interactions with musicians throughout the region, Boatright-Wells established the Mountain Empire Community College’s Mountain Music School in 2004. This unique educational program offers opportunities for students age 10 and older to experience traditional Appalachian old-time music in a fun, enriching and supportive environment.

To further expand traditional music education in Southwest Virginia, Boatright-Wells worked with school divisions throughout the region to establish the Junior Appalachian Musicians programs. These after-school programs, like Scott County JAMs, have allowed hundreds of students to learn the music, traditions and heritage of the Appalachian culture.

The Scott County JAMs depends heavily on volunteers and donations and has experienced some financial challenges lately.

Although letting go of a loved one’s belongs is hard, Burkett and Beech said Boatright-Wells would appreciate a benefit sale such as this — one that will help a cause that was so near and dear to her.

“Every penny will go to Scott County JAMs,” said Burkett. “(Sue Ella) started in it in Wise County and Scott County. She always said she’d rather see a little girl or boy pick up a fiddle than to see the Eiffel Tower. She grew up with that type of music and it was her calling to promote it.”

Burkett said Boatright-Wells’ style could best be described as “Bohemian” and visitors to the sale will find a variety of items.

“There will be something for everybody. She had a lot of vintage jewelry, silver jewelry, pearls, Brighton jewelry. There are a lot of very nice purses. She had a unique style of dress, but it’s across the gamut in terms of dress clothes, formal wear and casual clothes. She wore a size 10 at her best weight, but there are a variety of sizes because she wore a lot of loose things, a lot of flowing skirts. There are also coats and winter items....a lot of nice woolens,” Burkett said.

For information on other ways you can help the Scott County JAMs program, including how to make a monetary donation, donate an instrument or volunteer your talents, visit http://jamkids.org/scott.