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Numerous ETSU alumni, faculty honored during IBMA Awards

JOHNSON CITY (Oct. 22, 2013) – Several current and former participants in Bluegrass, Old Time and Country Music Studies at East Tennessee State University were honored in the recent International Bluegrass Music Association Awards.

“ETSU was highly visible throughout the entire conference,” Daniel Boner, director and an alumnus of Bluegrass, Old Time and Country Music Studies at ETSU, said of the 24th annual IBMA conference and awards show.  “Our booth was overwhelmingly busy with prospective students, current students, parents, industry professionals, booking agents and others.”

The awards show saw Adam Steffey, an alumnus and current faculty member, named the IBMA Mandolin Player of the Year for the 10th time, as well as the Instrumental Group of the Year award winner with his band, The Boxcars.

Alumnus and former faculty member Barry Bales earned his second IBMA Bass Player of the Year Award.  During the program, Bales performed with the Earls of Leicester in honor of the late Paul Warren, a 2013 Bluegrass Hall of Fame inductee.

The IBMA Distinguished Achievement Award was presented to The McLain Family Band, which includes former ETSU Bluegrass, Old Time and Country Music Studies Director Raymond McLain.

ETSU’s first graduate with the bachelor of arts degree in Bluegrass, Old Time and Country Music Studies, Brent Burke, along with program faculty member Hunter Berry, performed with Rhonda Vincent and the Rage on “Run, Mississippi” from the Carl Jackson production, “Mark Twain: Words and Music.”

Alumni Tim Stafford and Shawn Lane of Blue Highway performed “The Game,” written by Lane and Bales.  The band, founded by Stafford, is approaching its 20th year of professional touring and recording and was nominated for 2013 IBMA awards in the Entertainer of the Year, Vocal Group of the Year and Instrumental Group of the Year categories.

During the IBMA Momentum Awards, which were presented separately, alumnus Danny Clark received the Industry Involvement of the Year award for his public relations efforts on behalf of The Bluegrass Bus, a hands-on, interactive museum on wheels with bluegrass and country memorabilia from the past three decades, and Goodlettsville bluegrass artist LeRoy Troy.

Numerous other ETSU alumni were honored with IBMA award nominations. 

The Darrell Webb Band was nominated for Emerging Artist of the Year and Instrumental Recorded Performance of the Year for “NoraBelle.”  The band includes alumni Darrell Webb, Chris Wade, Jacob Joines and Jared Hensley.

Alumni Dwayne Anderson and Rachel Johnson were nominated for Gospel Recorded Performance of the Year for “When He Beckons Me Home” with Darin and Brooke Aldridge.

Alumnus Kameron Keller is bass player for the band Grasstowne, which was nominated for Recorded Event of the Year for “This Old Guitar and Me” with Ronnie Bowman.

Also during the IBMA conference, Boner presented “Trends in Bluegrass Education” with McLain, as well as Stephen Mougin, Ned Luberecki, Kyle Tuttle and Denise Jarvinen; and Dr. Lee Bidgood, ETSU assistant professor of Bluegrass, Old Time and Country Music Studies, presented a screening of “Banjo Romantika: American Bluegrass Music and the Czech Imagination,” a documentary film he produced with Shara Lange, an assistant professor of radio, television and film in the ETSU Department of Communication.

“We are always proud to see ETSU well-represented at IBMA,” Boner said.  “This has been an exceptional year for the visibility of our program, not only at the conference, but any time our students, graduates and faculty have performed on stages across the country.”