Bluegrass in the schools with Monroeville

The guys in Monroeville got a taste of the youth music market when they visited Barboursville Middle School in Barboursville, WV last week.

In a busy day at school, the band did a first period concert for the 8th graders, followed by a workshop with the string students. Each of the guys told the students how they came to play bluegrass and some of the difficulties they encountered along the way. They even brought a few of the more advanced students up to play with the band.

Similar workshops were held with the other grades, and then the guys headed for a juvenile correctional facility where they spoke with a number of the young people about the value of constructive activities like music, and held another concert.

Matt Munsey, Monroeville mandolinist, says that they were overwhelmed by the response they received.

“I’ve never seen this kind of response to bluegrass music from so many young people! Not all of these kids even knew what bluegrass was before today, but I believe we left there with some new fans and some extra appreciation for acoustic and bluegrass music.

Of course, it don’t hurt to have two good-looking 17 year old players in your group!”

After working with the kids all day, Monroeville finished their day in Barboursville with a concert in the evening for the general public. Matt said that it was a grueling day for the band, but that they enjoyed the experience, and are looking forward to doing more of these workshops next year.

Hats off to Monroeville for making this investment in young potential bluegrass pickers and/or fans. They are surely not the first to do so, but there can be no doubt that younger bands can make a different sort of connection with schoolagers than can wizened pros.

A first single from Monroeville’s debut album is expected in the near future. Jim VanCleve is producing with David Hall engineering. More on that as details emerge.

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About the Author

John Lawless

John had served as primary author and editor for The Bluegrass Blog from its launch in 2006 until being folded into Bluegrass Today in September of 2011. He continues in that capacity here, managing a strong team of columnists and correspondents.