CENTERVILLE, Ohio (WDTN) — Centerville’s banjo prodigy is making headlines again. This time, it’s for winning second place in one of the most prestigious banjo competitions in the world.
So where is he headed next?
2 News Today Anchor Lauren Wood had the chance to sit down with him and his family to find out in this week’s Tell Me Good News story.
When you ask Owen what it is about the banjo that makes it so alluring, he’s quick to answer.
“The banjo is not a sad instrument,” Owen said. “It’s so positive and so happy.”
And Owen has a lot to be positive and happy about.
Earlier in September, Owen and his father traveled to Winfield, Kansas for the “Walnut Valley National Bluegrass Banjo Championships.”
The championships put Owen’s talent and skill up against people two, three, four times his age.
Incredibly, Owen walked away with a second-place title beating out a two-time champion of the same competition.
Click here to watch his performance.
“He had to perform,” said Owen’s father, Scott. “If he didn’t play perfectly, he would not have gotten second. Or even gotten into the top five.”
It was what they call a blind competition; one where Owen’s young age didn’t factor into his wowing the judges.
This was all about his playing.
“What’s really neat about it is that the judges aren’t watching you,” Owen explained. “They’re in a different area that they wire the sound to. So you’re not playing to any judges. You’re playing to an audience.”
Owen says that the audience is what gives him his spark.
“That makes my day,” Owen said. “It’s so amazing to be able to make people smile when I play I see a little kid dancing or something it’s so much fun.”
Winning a Deering banjo — and meeting the CEO of the company — doesn’t hurt either.
It was the experience of a lifetime. But also, just the beginning.
“I want to go back,” Owen said. “I want to keep trying. It’s been so much fun. The good thing about second is you can keep going back until you get first.”
Owen spent over a year preparing his pieces for that competition.
But he’s not taking a break.
He and his brother, Will, are heading to Raleigh, North Carolina this week for the International Bluegrass Music Association’s World of Bluegrass event.
Both Owen and his brother auditioned and were selected to play in their youth program called Kids on Bluegrass.