‘Country Music and Community in the Tri-Cities’ kiosk to be unveiled

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JOHNSON CITY (Oct. 18, 2013) – The Center for Appalachian Studies and Services at East Tennessee State University will host a free public reception celebrating the unveiling of the “Country Music and Community in the Tri-Cities”kiosk on Thursday, October 24, from 5:30-6:30 p.m. in the Reece Museum on the ETSU campus.

“Country Music and Community in the Tri-Cities” is the latest installment to the interactive music kiosk and joins two earlier phases, “The Early History of Country Music in the Tri-Cities” (2007) and “My Ballad Book” (2010).

The kiosk project represents an ongoing examination of the rich music culture of Southern Appalachia in general, and more specifically, the fertile ground for the development of traditional music and folkways in the Tri-Cities region.  Each kiosk installment draws heavily on material from the Archives of Appalachia. Like the Reece Museum, the Archives of Appalachia is a unit of the Center for Appalachian Studies and Services (CASS) at ETSU.

Dr. Lee Bidgood, an assistant professor in ETSU’s Department of Appalachian Studies, spearheaded the latest installment of the interactive kiosk and oversaw the conversion of the kiosk from computer mouse-driven interactivity to touchscreen technology.

According to Bidgood, “‘Country Music and Community in the Tri-Cities’identifies key individuals, events, and media to illustrate the progression of country music's role in the Tri-Cities, from a folk tradition of local pickers to the focus of local business to a vibrant local counterculture, and finally, to the current status of country music as local heritage.  While the intent of this exhibit is to showcase and stress the importance of local music-making to the community and life of this region, it also presents some significant interactions with national scenes linked to the Tri-Cities region and to country music.

“This presentation's focus on community thus traces the acceptance and rejection of national trends, as well as local cultural production by people in the Tri-Cities.  Music-makers – both audiences and musicians, as well as those working in the music industry – have balanced popularity trends and industry pressures with the importance of history and the persistence of traditions.  Music is a phenomenon that happens between people, and here in the Tri-Cities, country music is inevitably a community affair.”

The kiosk project was developed from a script first written in the 1980s by then-CASS Director Richard Blaustein and co-authored by Charles Wolfe.  Grant funding for the original script came from the National Endowment for the Humanities. The ongoing kiosk project was made possible with support from other funding partners, including the Tennessee Film, Entertainment and Music Commission; the Tennessee Higher Education Commission; ETSU’s College of Arts and Sciences and Department of Literature and Language; and CASS.

For more information about the reception, call the Reece Museum at (423) 439-4392.  For disability accommodations, call the ETSU Office of Disability Services at (423) 439-8346.
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