ETSU Old Time Pride Band Performs for Tennessee State Parks
On October 30, ETSU's Old Time Pride Band braved the wind and snow brought on by Hurricane Sandy and traveled up into Unicoi County to perform at a dedication ceremony for a new state park to be created in the Rocky Fork area. The audience included a number of people involved in the effort to conserve this land, including Governor Bill Haslam, US Senator Lamar Alexander, and Lieutenant Governor Ron Ramsey. During the dedication ceremony, the band performed a number of old time tunes and songs with direct links to the region. The band closed the ceremony with a version of "Grey Eagle" which they learned from a 1924 recording of fiddler JD Harris who lived a few miles from the site of the ceremony. New lecturer Joseph Decosimo, who has ties to Tennessee State Parks, was asked by the Deputy Commissioner of Parks and Conservation to arrange a performance of music from the region for the ceremony. The band, directed by Roy Andrade, played wonderfully and got to visit with Governor Haslam, the First Lady, and Senator Alexander.
Students of Bluegrass, Old Time, and Country Music Studies at East Tennessee State University worked for countless hours in the ETSU Recording Lab to complete what will be another milestone in the program's history. This Friday, August 31, at 7:00 p.m., the ETSU Bluegrass Band officially will release their brand new student album, Testing Tradition, for ETSU Pride Week at Bluegrass on Broad in Kingsport, TN.
"We'll have a special discount for Friday night's release concert," says program director Daniel Boner. "Purchase one copy of Testing Tradition for $15 and each additional CD will be just $10. And, for folks who might want to get their holiday shopping done early, 10 CDs can be purchased for just $100."
The album, produced by Boner and engineered by recording lab manager Ben Bateson, features twelve original compositions by students of the program. Thirty-one student performers in all contributed their energy and talent to create masterful arrangements, tight harmonies, and virtuosic instrumentals. Many of these students can be heard not only with the ETSU Bluegrass Band, but also performing with professional bands touring the bluegrass circuit.
"These young students come to ETSU from across the globe specifically to study in our program," Boner explains. "Track twelve on the album was co-written by Norwegian bluegrass student, Signe Salvesen. Such wide geographic and cultural separation creates a vast difference of influence among the student artists."
On Friday night you can expect a professional-quality concert by the ETSU Bluegrass Pride Band along with some guests who contributed to the project. Admission is free and attendees should plan to bring a lawn chair.
Founded in 1982 by Jack Tottle, Bluegrass, Old Time, and Country Music Studies at East Tennessee State University is the oldest established program of its kind at any four-year institution and boasts the world's first-ever Bachelor of Arts degree in Bluegrass, Old Time, and Country Music Studies. For more information, please contact the Bluegrass, Old Time, and Country Music Studies office at firstname.lastname@example.org or (423) 439-7072. Online at www.etsu.edu/das/bluegrass.