Larry Skipper

Larry Skipper

Born in Tryon, N.C. Larry is the oldest of three children. He graduated from Tryon High School in 1976, and attended Lenoir Rhyne College from 1976-1978.  Larry moved to Wilkesboro N.C in 1979, where he married and raised two children, Nick and Angie.

Music was one main reason he instantly loved Wilkes County, as preformed solo shows around town.  It was around 1981 that he was asked to join the band Desperadoes. The band had much success and was recognized as a regional favorite. But, the stress of juggling the small earnings of a traveling musician and raising a family, brought him to the decision to leave musical performing and began working as a manager for Schneider Industries in Taylorsville, N.C 

Music never left him for long, as he gave his son a guitar for birthday gift. Nick, then twelve, was a great first student that set the tone for what was to become Larry’s true life calling as a music teacher.

Nick was very talented and practiced all the time, and by age thirteen even had a band of his own. When other kids saw Nick play they wanted to know who taught him all those licks. Nick said “Dad.” It was not long until Larry was teaching four or five kids trying to play guitar like his son.

Early in year 2000 life as a teacher really changed as Larry decide to leave his textile job. With not much else to fall back on, he turned again to music. He approached Mike Palmer about some space to teach guitar in his music store. Larry gives Mike, and then business partner, Jerry Minton much of the credit for taking him up on the idea to teach music and for showing him support for what then seemed a risk.  Larry says that the teaching business exploded for him when he realized that there was a need to teach instruments other than guitar, such as fiddle and mandolin.

Larry has worked with the Acoustic Kids Showcases at “MerleFest” for the past 12 years, and has helped organize “Americana Day” kids’ music festival hosted by The Record Paper for the past 11 years.  He is also the host for the Kids Music Showcase held at “The Carolina in the Fall” music festival.

Since 2000 Larry has taught hundreds of students, both young and old, form Wilkes and surrounding counties.  Teaching some now famous young musicians, like Presley Barker and Jonah Horton. Larry helped to form the Wilkes County band The Local Boys, and later formed the band Skipper’s Wheel.  His current band is called Uncle Joe and The Shady Rest. They are a group of his former students that have matured into fine musicians. Andrew Triplett, Marty Absher, Devin Huie, Elizabeth Carter, and Jim Trice make up the band.

Larry is the Executive Director of The 12 Note MAP music program that is teaching Appalachian style music to students of Wilkes County Schools. The vision of the program is to teach music to as many students as possible in an after school setting.

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