WiseJAMS is an after-school music education program developed in partnership with Junior Appalachian Musicians. The primary goal of WiseJAMS to provide instruction in string instruments in the traditional old-time style to students throughout the region, many of whom are economically disadvantaged and underserved with regards to the arts.
WiseJAMS also strives to encourage the preservation of the artistic heritage of the region by providing experience with traditional Appalachian music and culture.
WiseJAMS is funded and supported by Pro-Art, the Southwest Virginia Southwest VA Museum Historical State Park, Wise County, the Town of Big Stone Gap, Wise County Schools, the Wayne C. Henderson Grant, Junior Appalachian Musicians, Inc., The Crooked Road, and the Thomas C. Estep Scholarship Program.
In response to the Wise County Schools announcement of their plans to address the COVID-19 pandemic,
the WiseJAMS programs held in Wise at LF Addington and in Big Stone Gap at the Southwest VA Museum
will unfortunately be cancelled for the Fall of 2020.
WiseJAMS provides traditional mountain music instruction and cultural enrichment opportunities for
3rd through 8th grade students in Wise, Pound, Big Stone Gap, and Appalachia in an after-school setting.
Since learning to play an instrument involves close contact between teachers and students, our staff feels that hosting the program at this time may jeopardize the health of our students, instructors, and their families.
If your child has a guitar, fiddle or banjo still checked out from the Spring 2020 semester,
Pro-Art or the SWVA Museum will contact you individually to make arrangements for the instruments.
WiseJAMS and their sponsor Pro-Art hope to be able to return for the spring semester,
please watch for updates on the plans for spring instruction.
If you have questions, you can reach the Pro-Art Association via email at firstname.lastname@example.org or at (276) 376-4520.
WiseJAMS is offered in two locations for
3rd - 8th grade students in Wise County:
WiseJAMS - Wise
at L.F. Addington Middle School
WiseJAMS - Big Stone Gap
at the Southwest Virginia Museum
Thomas C. Estep Scholarship Program
The Thomas C. Estep Scholarship for WiseJAMS students was established in 2019 by his family in remembrance of the young musician. Thomas was a gifted guitar player with a big heart and his family hopes to carry on Thomas’ love of teaching and acoustic guitar by establishing this scholarship. Each semester, funds in the scholarship will be to pay the tuition for students who would otherwise not be able to participate in the after-school program.
Thomas was the lead guitar player for the contemporary Christian Band “This is the Day” with youth minister Kelly Fleming. The band won the VA-KY District Fair band competition in 2015.
Thomas was just 21 years old when he was killed in a head-on collision in Russell County, Virginia, in the early morning hours of New Year's Day, 2017.
Several have described Thomas as a selfless gentleman. His good friend and up-and-coming country singer Kaitlyn Baker said in a written statement, "My heart is broken…. Last night, my guitar player, my best friend — was killed in a car wreck. Tom was one of the best people I’ve ever known. He would give the shirt off of his back to anyone . I’ve witnessed many times where he gave money to people in need, helped young children by encouraging them to reach their dreams, and bringing such positivity into people’s lives."
Pro-Art and WiseJAMS are proud to help honor Thomas’ memory. If you would like to contribute to the Scholarship, we will gladly put your donation to work.
Please send checks Pro-Art, PO Box 179, Wise, VA 24279 and note in the memo area that the donation is for the Thomas Estep Scholarship.