The “new guy” at the Blue Ridge Music Center is actually a familiar face. A longtime volunteer and past Seasonal Ranger, Aubrey Arrington is now a Partner Ranger at the popular music destination at milepost 213 on the Blue Ridge Parkway.
The partner ranger position is funded through the Blue Ridge Parkway Foundation and works in conjunction with the National Park Service (NPS). This year, staffing at Parkway visitor centers proved difficult as COVID-19 delayed the hiring of seasonal rangers. When Midday Mountain Music sessions and concerts resumed at the Blue Ridge Music Center this summer, there was a clear need for additional staff to assist visitors, which prompted the collaboration.
“This is another great example of how support from the Blue Ridge Parkway Foundation helps bring the Music Center to life,” said Alexa Viets, Chief of Resource Management & Interpretation for the Blue Ridge Parkway. “We are excited to see the Partner Ranger position working side by side with the Parkway staff to welcome visitors, answer questions, and provide educational programs.”
Arrington has volunteered at the Music Center for many years, and served as a NPS Seasonal Ranger. Over the last 15 years, Arrington has volunteered with the FRIENDS of the Blue Ridge Parkway on projects that include trail and vista maintenance, setting up wildlife cameras, and repainting signs. Arrington plays the dulcimer and has led interpretive sessions for hands-on musical demonstrations as a volunteer and ranger.
“We are so glad to have Aubrey on the team to help provide enriching and meaningful musical experiences at the Music Center,” said Richard Emmett, Program Director for the Blue Ridge Music Center.
Although the main Visitor Center building, including the Roots of American Music Museum, is closed, rangers are greeting and assisting visitors at an outdoor station from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., Thursday through Sunday. Visitors can catch free, live Midday Mountain Music sessions from noon to 4 p.m. on the same days. The America’s National Parks gift shop is operating in the Luthier Shop. These visitor services will continue through November 1. For more information, visit .