Each semester, students in the Bluegrass, Old Time & Country Music Studies program at East Tennessee State University are required to engage in ensemble performances as part of their course work. Players and singers are grouped according to their level of skill and experience, and are tasked with putting together a live set, with the help of a faculty coach.
In a typical year, the department spreads out these student concerts over the final weeks of a term, where the student groups are graded by a jury of their professors. It’s a great way to give student musicians a taste of live performance, in front of a real audience.
But in light of COVID-19 restrictions, the Spring 2021 semester concerts are all being held this week at The Down Home in Johnson City. Since live audiences can not yet be allowed, all the student group sets will be lived streamed on Facebook. So from tonight (April 27) through Friday (April 30), you can see what the next generation of acoustic artists are learning in college.
Each show will be offered for free via Facebook Live, which you can watch live at 7:00 p.m. (EDT), or catch after the fact in the archived video.
ETSU offers a bachelor’s degree and undergraduate minors through the Appalachian Studies Department in bluegrass, old time, country, or Celtic music. A good many of the graduates of this program are currently working professionals in the music business.