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Old-time Appalachian Band A Weekly Fixture In Hospital Lobby

Sisters Trish Bowen and Maureen King recently spent their Friday night and Saturday morning at Novant Health Presbyterian Medical Center. Their 87-year-old mother had fallen and cut her head.

Doctors stitched up the wound, and their mother was fine. But it was still a stressful and sleepless night. That’s one reason why, as Trish and Maureen rounded a corner on the way to the hospital’s cafeteria, they wondered briefly if they were hearing things.

“It sounded like leprechauns,” said Maureen.

“I said I thought maybe there was going to be a leprechaun jumping out,” added Trish with a laugh.

It was an old-time fiddle tune called “Staten Island.” The sisters had stumbled upon what’s turned into an unlikely Saturday morning fixture at Presbyterian. It’s a group of musicians who refer to themselves informally as The Local Tomatoes.

Shortly before 10 a.m., musicians begin showing up in a lobby, cases in hand. They grab chairs from the cafeteria and arrange them into a circle behind a glass enclosure for Australian finches.

Then they play Appalachian old-time music, for the pleasure of passersby and themselves.

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