Chattanooga Now Public invited to join tribute to Fletcher Bright, Jay Craven

Chattanooga Now Public invited to join tribute to Fletcher Bright, Jay Craven

May 16th, 2018 by Staff Report in Chattnow Outabout
Fletcher Bright plays fiddle with the Dismembered Tennesseans. (File Staff Photo)

Fletcher Bright plays fiddle with the Dismembered Tennesseans....

Photo by Meghan Brown /Times Free Press.

Clarinetist Jay Craven. (Contributed File Photo)

Clarinetist Jay Craven. (Contributed File Photo)

Photo by Contributed Photo /Times Free Press.

Members of the Chattanooga Music Club invite the public to join them in a musical memorial to two musicians whose legacy made a lasting impact on Chattanooga.

A free program in memory of the late Fletcher Bright and the late Jay Craven will be held Sunday, May 20, at 2:30 p.m. at First-Centenary United Methodist Church, 399 McCallie Ave.

Craven was a music teacher and then Supervisor of Music in the former Chattanooga City School System until retiring in 1986. He was principal clarinetist with the Chattanooga Symphony and Opera Association for more than 50 years, personnel manager for the CSO and director of the CSO Youth Orchestra.

He served as president of the Tennessee Music Educators from 1972-74, was awarded Tennessee's Outstanding Achievement Award in 1998 and inducted into the Tennessee Music Educators Association Hall of Fame in 2008.

One of his greatest honors was when his former clarinet student, Master Gunnery Sgt. Fred Lemmons, past U.S. Marine Band operations chief, arranged for him to sit in with "The President's Own" in 2009.

Craven played for innumerable gatherings around the city from Cotton Balls to big-band swing dances to performing for shut-ins at nursing homes. He often said that one of his greatest joys was serving as a volunteer at Memorial Hospital, where he played soothing music in waiting rooms, hospital hallways and even in patient rooms, fulfilling family requests.

Bright began his career in the real estate business in 1953 working with his father, Gardner Bright. He was principal broker and chairman of Fletcher Bright Co., a full-service real estate company including residential sales, commercial development as well as property management and loan servicing.

While a student at McCallie School, he and friends formed the Dismembered Tennesseans bluegrass band, with which he continued to play until his death. Bright played and taught bluegrass across the U.S., Canada and in England.

In 2005, he was awarded the Governor's Award in the Arts, Folk Heritage Award. In 2007, Fletcher and son, George, founded The Three Sisters Bluegrass on the River Festival.

Sunday's gathering will include tributes to these musicians — from club members and visitors — led by Bob Bernhardt.

Music will be presented by Eric Cullins, violin; Monte Coulter IV, clarinet; David Walters, piano; Richarra Hardaway, vocalist; Rebecca St. Goar, pianist; Autumn Stiles, pianist; Elijah Wyatt, clarinet; and Margaret Ann Randolph, pianist.

A reception will follow the program.