The Bluegrass Pride Band, the elite performing group of the Bluegrass, Old Time & Country Music program at the East Tennessee State University, made their debut performance for the 2011-2012 academic year on Friday (8/26) in Kingsport, TN.
The school offers a four year degree program for students who are interested in a professional career in music, and a minor for those who want to pursue their passion for traditional music while focusing primarily on another academic discipline.
Members of the group include David Mowell on mandolin, Zach Carter on banjo, Cara Oliphant and Josh Argo on fiddle, John Goad on bass, and Andy Buckner on guitar. Here is video from Friday’s show.
The opening number is Moving East, an original fiddle tune from Cara Oliphant, possibly written to commemorate her move from Kansas to Johnson City to attend the school? It is followed by the band’s arrangement of One Morning in May, an old English ballad famously recorded by The Country Gentlemen and James Taylor.
Dan Boner, who directs the BOT&C program at ETSU shared a few words about these talented youngsters.
“This band is the premier, touring bluegrass band from the program for which we carefully select members, but it is just one one of our 29 Bluegrass, Old Time, Celtic, and Country bands. For example, this past summer I took the Bluegrass Pride Band to Germany, Roy Andrade and Lee Bidgood toured with our Old Time Pride Band in the Czech Republic, and Jane MacMorran led our Celtic Band on a tour of Northern Ireland and Scotland.
Program-wide we do approximately 70-90 performances each year. Historically, it has always been a very important part of what we do.
I should add that this is the very first performance of the school year for this iteration of the Bluegrass Pride Band. In fact, we rehearsed two nine-hour days on Wednesday and Thursday, plus an additional five hours on Friday morning leading up to this show; a successful “Pride Band Camp” as you can see from the students’ quick progress!”
The ETSU program offers a number of scholarships, and is always happy to accept donations to further their mission.