Making music under the apple tree |

Making music under the apple tree

By Carol Guild

Staff Writer

Our community is brimming with talent. Our theaters, event centers and other music venues feature some of the finest actors, artists and musicians we could hope for. It’s all in our own backyard – literally.

Drive north on Highway 49 to the Rainbow Market in Nevada City on any given Thursday evening and suddenly the air is filled with the sound of fiddles, banjos, guitars, mandolins and more. It’s the Apple Tree Gang.

It all started about 18 years ago when Wayne and Ruth Rutherford moved to Nevada City. “We didn’t know a soul,” says Ruth. The Rutherfords started going to the First Baptist Church and met people who were musically inclined. “We started having music groups at our house,” she says. “Pretty soon they outgrew our living room.”

Jeff, one of three sons – all of whom play music – and the owner of Rainbow Market, invited everyone down to play under the apple tree. He set up hay bales all around and his wife, Maggie, cooks a taco dinner every Thursday.

Before long, more and more people would join the group.

Some of the musicians are excellent and some are just learning. Those that are learning are helped by the others, if they like.

Wayne, who played the fiddle, banjo and mandolin, invited people over to help them advance their musical strengths.

When he passed away in 2006, the group bought one of the memorial benches at the fairgrounds. It’s the only one with a guitar on it.

The Gang, with only a few original members left, celebrated its 10th anniversary recently. Looking ahead at many more years of music to be made, they hope more people would like to join them.

“This has been a wonderful neighborhood gathering,” says Ruth. “Everyone is welcome.”

During colder weather, theGang takes it all inside. They are in the process of looking for a venue that will accomodate the group for the winter months.

For more information, call the Rainbow Market at (530) 478-9777.

To contact Prospector Editor Carol Guild, e-mail or call (530) 477-4219.

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