Norm & Trish

Hannah, Daniel, Mom & Dad on "Colleen Malone"

2010 Youth in Bluegrass Competition @ SDC.

Norm is the family bandleader, with over 35 years of stage experience under his belt. He picks the 5-String Banjo, sings lead and harmony vocals, and coordinates the family's bookings.

His *Branson, Missouri, musical credits include five seasons at Silver Dollar City, and three seasons at The Roy Clark Theatre (where he helped back and/or warm-up many major Nashville entertainers, including: Roy Clark, Barbara Fairchild, Freddie Fender, Louise Mandrell, Ray Price, Ray Stevens, Tammy Wynette and others). From there he performed (with his new bride, Trish) for seven years aboard the Lake Queen paddle wheeler on Taneycomo.

By special request, Norm occasionally gives music lessons (beginning to advanced banjo and some beginning guitar). Please call to make an appointment!

* A special note to our neighbors in Boone County, Arkansas: Norm moved to Tucker Hollow, Arkansas from California with his family in 1972 at the tender age of 17. While attending Lead Hill High School, he also began taking banjo lessons from Danny Yancy who taught at Ashley Music. Norm graduated ‘Senior Class President’ in 1974, and furthered his education attending North Arkansas Community College (NACC), while working at the Post Office as a Postal Assistant. He began performing with his sister, Mary and Uncle Norm (Grabowski) for special events in and around Harrison, Arkansas. Uncle Norm encouraged his banjo playing - which was his hearts’ desire… the rest is history!

Trivia: With the opening of the Roy Clark Celebrity Theater in 1983, Roy Clark became the first of the nation's big name entertainers to build his own theater in Branson. For years afterwards, the line commonly heard around Music City (Nashville) was “Will the last person leaving Nashville for Branson please turn out the lights?”

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Norm Farnum | Create Your Badge

Favorite Books


Baptism... is an Excellent Study of an often misundertood Biblical concept!

Baptism: A Biblical Study

The Grape Cure

The Grape Cure
My Grandmother used this protocol to save my mother's life when she was only 21 years old!


God Gave Wine
This is another excellent study based on proper Biblical exegesis.

God Gave Wine  
Bible Law vs. the U.S. Constitution

BL vs. USC
One of the most well-thought-out analyses ever written on the subject of God's Perfect Laws vs. the corruption produced by man!

Political Polytheism: The Myth of Pluralism
Dr. North presents a strong case from scripture and history that religion & politics are inseparable.

Politcal Polytheism

The Third Paradigm

The Third Paradigm
A book about Theonomy:
Government by the Laws consistent with the God of ALL CREATION!

Trish is the pianist for the group, shares the emcee spotlight, is featured on lead and harmony vocals, and has added the penny-whistle to her musical abilities.

Originally from Oklahoma, she grew up playing music in church, for recitals, school concerts and 4-H programs; and even played the alto sax in high school marching band! In 1987, shortly after moving to Branson, she first performed at Shepherd of the Hills playing the ragtime piano for the Vaudeville Show and later joined Norm on his Lake Queen cruises. They married in early 1988, and played music as a duet until more recently...

For over 20 years, she has taken a lead role in the academic progress of all six of the Farnum Family children... and for the last 10 years, playing a major role in our family band.

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Recordings & Albums

Three albums were made during their seven seasons on the Lake Queen, one gospel and two old-time variety. Another gospel album was produced in 1994. Unfortunately, they are no longer available on cassette tape:

~ Old-Time Variety ~

~ Gospel ~

Norm & Trish: The Duet Power in the Blood!
Lake Queen Favorites God Send Us Men

Tomato Pickin' available on CD

Come and Rejoice available on CD
A Time to Fiddle available on CD Folk Psalms available on CD
  Leaning... available on CD

Their last 'Duet' album is a gospel CD titled,  Come and Rejoice. It consists of many of the songs performed during their earlier music ministry. With three of their children, Daniel, Benjamin & Hannah, they completed their first family recording in August of 2006; it's called Tomato Pickin'.  The family has completed recording two more all-gospel compilations: Folk Psalms and Leaning... And in 2013, thier daughter, Hannah, recorded an insturmental album A Time to Fiddle, which features her award-winning fiddle playing. For more information and to order, please go here!


About the Piano

The piano is a musical instrument played by means of a keyboard that produces sound by striking steel strings with felt covered hammers. The hammers immediately rebound, allowing the strings to continue vibrating at their resonant frequency.[1] These vibrations are transmitted through a bridge to a soundboard that couples the acoustic energy to the air so that it can be heard as Sound.

The piano is widely used in Western music for solo performance, ensemble use, chamber music, and accompaniment. It is also very popular as an aid to composing and rehearsal. Although not portable and often expensive, the piano's versatility and ubiquity have made it one of the most familiar musical instruments. It is sometimes classified as both a percussion and a stringed instrument. According to the Hornbostel-Sachs method of music classification, it is grouped with Chordophones.

The word piano is a shortened form of the word pianoforte, which is seldom used except in formal language and derived from the original Italian name for the instrument, clavicembalo [or gravicembalo] col piano e forte (literally harpsichord with soft and loud). This refers to the instrument's responsiveness to keyboard touch, which allows the pianist to produce notes at different dynamic levels by controlling the speed with which the hammers hit the strings.

For additional and more exhaustive information regarding the Piano, take a look at the Wikipedia page.

Click Here for an easily printable version of this article about the Piano.

The term "penny whistle" was coined on the streets of Dublin in the late 1500s because of the whistles' prevalence among the beggars and vagabonds in Ireland. The word "tin-whistle" was also coined as early as 1825.[3] but neither word seems to have been common until the 20th century.[4] The first record of tin-plate whistles dates back to 1825 in Britain.[5]

The first factory-made "tinwhistles" were produced by Robert Clarke (? - 1882) in Manchester and later New Moston, England. Up to 1900, they were also marketed as "Clarke London Flageolets" or "Clarke Flageolets".[6] The whistle's fingering system is similar to that of the six hole, simple system, "Irish flute" ("simple" in comparison to Boehm system flutes). The six hole, diatonic system is also used on baroque flutes and other folk flutes, and was of course well known before Robert Clarke began producing his tin whistles circa 1843. Clarke's first whistle, the Meg, was pitched in high A and was later made in other keys suitable for Victorian parlor music. The company showed the whistles in The Great Exhibition of 1851.[7]

In the second half of the 19th century, some flute manufacturers such as Barnett Samuel and Joseph Wallis also sold whistles. These had a cylindrical brass tube. Like many old whistles, they had lead fipple plugs; since lead is poisonous, caution should be exercised before playing an old whistle.

The Generation whistle was introduced in the first half of the 20th century, and also featured a brass tube with a lead fipple plug. The design was updated somewhat over the years, most notably the substitution of a plastic fipple for the lead plug design.

While whistles have most often been produced in higher pitches, the "low" whistle is not unknown historically. The Museum of Fine Arts, Boston has in its collection an example of a 19th century low whistle from the famous Galpin collection.[8] During the 1960s revival of traditional Irish music the low whistle was "recreated" by Bernard Overton at the request of Finbar Furey.[9]

For additional and more exhaustive information regarding the Tin Whistle, please take a look at the Wikipedia page.

Click Here for an easily printable version of this article about the Tin Whistle.


About the Tin Whistle

The tin whistle, also called the tinwhistle, whistle, pennywhistle or Irish whistle, is a simple six-holed woodwind instrument. It can be described as an end blown fipple flute, putting it in the same category as the flageolet, recorder, Native American flute, and many other woodwind instruments found in traditional music. A tin whistle player is called a tin whistler or whistler.

Articles borrowed from

5-String Banjo Instruction Books

Banjo Chord Finder: Easy-To-Use Guide to over 2,800 Banjo Chords The Banjo Encyclopedia: Bluegrass Banjo from A to Z Ring the Banjar: History of the Banjo, the Banjo in America from Folklore to Factory

The Ultimate Banjo Songbook: 26 Favorites Arranged for 5-String Banjo

Banjo Chord Finder

Banjo Encyclopedia

Ring the Banjar!

Ultimate Banjo Songbook


About the Banjo

The banjo is a stringed instrument and popularly thought to have been developed by enslaved Africans in the United States, adapted from several African instruments.[1] The name banjo is commonly thought to be derived from the Kimbundu term mbanza. Some etymologists derive it from a dialectal pronunciation of "bandore", though recent research suggests that it may come from a Senegambian term for the bamboo stick used for the instrument's neck.


African Slaves in the American South and Appalachia fashioned the earliest banjos after instruments they had been familiar with in Africa, with some of the earliest instruments being referred to now as "gourd banjos". The most likely contender for the primary ancestor of the banjo is the akonting, a spike folk lute played by the Jola tribe of Senegambia. However, other similar instruments include the xalam of Senegal and the ngoni of the Wassoulou region including parts of Mali, Guinea, and Côte d'Ivoire. The modern banjo was popularized by the American minstrel performer Joel Sweeney in the 1830's. Banjos were introduced in Britain in the 1840s by Sweeney's group, the American Virginia Minstrels, and became very popular in music halls.[2]

Modern forms

The modern banjo comes in a variety of forms, including four- and five-string versions. A six-string version, tuned and played similar to a guitar, has been gaining popularity. In almost all of its forms, the banjo's playing is characterised by a fast strumming or arpeggiated right hand, although there are many different playing styles.


Today, the banjo is commonly associated with country and bluegrass music. Historically, however, the banjo occupied a central place in African American traditional music, as well as in the minstrel shows of the 19th century. In fact, African Americans exerted a strong, early influence on the development of both country and bluegrass through the introduction of the banjo, and as well through the innovation of musical techniques in the playing of both the banjo and fiddle.[3][4][5] Recently, the banjo has enjoyed inclusion in a wide variety of musical genres, including pop crossover music and Celtic punk.


The 5-String Banjo

The instrument is available in many forms. The five-string banjo is credited to Joel Walker Sweeney, an American minstrel performer from Appomattox Court House, Virginia. Sweeney wanted an instrument similar to the banjar played by African Americans in the American South, but at the same time, he wanted to implement some new ideas. He worked with a New York drum maker to replace the banjar's skin-covered gourd with the modern open-backed drum-like pot, and added another string to give the instrument more range or a drone. This new banjo came to be tuned gCGBd; a minor 3rd higher than the eAEG#b tuning of the banjar, and Sweeney was playing it by the 1830s.

The banjo can be played in several styles and is used in various forms of music. American old-time music typically uses the five-string open back banjo. It is played in a number of different styles, the most common of which are called clawhammer (or "claw-hammer") or frailing, characterized by the use of a downward rather than upward motion when striking the strings with a fingernail. Frailing techniques use the thumb to catch the fifth string for a drone after each strum or twice in each action ("double thumbing"), or to pick out additional melody notes in what is known as "drop-thumb." Pete Seeger popularized a folk style by combining claw-hammer with "up picking", usually without the use of fingerpicks.

Bluegrass music, which uses the five-string resonator banjo almost exclusively, is played in several common styles. These include Scruggs style, named after Earl Scruggs; melodic, or Keith style; and three-finger style with single string work, also called Reno style after Don Reno, legendary father of Don Wayne Reno. In these styles the emphasis is on arpeggiated figures played in a continuous eighth-note rhythm. All of these styles are typically played with fingerpicks.

Many tunings are used for the five-string banjo. Probably the most common, particularly in bluegrass, is the open G tuning (gDGBd). In earlier times, the tuning gCGBd was commonly used instead. Other tunings common in old-time music include double C (gCGcd), sawmill or mountain minor (gDGcd) also called Modal or Mountain Modal, old-time D (aDAde) a step up from double C, often played with a violin accompaniment, and open D (f#DF#Ad). These tunings are often taken up a tone, either by tuning up or using a capo.

The fifth (drone) string is the same gauge as the first, but it is generally five frets shorter, three quarters the length of the rest. One notable exception is the long necked Pete Seeger model, where the additional three frets are not added to the fifth string. The short fifth string means that unlike many string instruments, the strings on a five string banjo do not go in order from lowest to highest from one side of the neck to the other. Instead, in order from low to high the strings are the fourth, third, second, first, and then fifth.

The short fifth string presents special problems for using a capo to change the pitch of the instrument. For small changes (going up or down one or two semitones, for example) it is possible simply to re-tune the fifth string. Otherwise various devices, known as fifth string capos, are available effectively to shorten the string. Many banjo players favor the use of model railroad spikes or titanium spikes (usually installed at the seventh fret and sometimes at others), under which the string can be hooked to keep it pressed down on the fret.

While the five-string banjo has been used in classical music since the turn of the century, contemporary and modern works have been written for the instrument by Béla Fleck, Tim Lake, George Crumb, Modest Mouse, Jo Kondo, Paul Elwood, Hans Werner Henze (notably in his Sixth Symphony), Beck, J.P. Pickens, Peggy Honeywell, Norfolk & Western,The Avett Brothers and Sufjan Stevens. Chris Thile recently composed an extended suite for bluegrass instruments, including the banjo, called "The Blind Leaving the Blind" (Punch, 2008).

Petite variations on the 5-string banjo have been available since the 1890s. S.S. Stewart introduced the banjeaurine, tuned one fourth above a standard five-string. Piccolo banjos are smaller, and tuned one octave above a standard banjo.

Click Here for an easily printable version of this article about the Banjo.

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