Glenville State opens Bluegrass Music Education Center

Glenville State College in West Virginia is doing a soft open at the new home for their Bluegrass Program later this afternoon. 

Located on top of a hill near downtown Glenville, GSC is proud of being the first accredited school to offer a four year degree in bluegrass music, which they launched in 2007. Since that time they have been outgrowing their space with a doubling in enrollment, so an older building just off campus has been renovated to house the department, and serve as a bluegrass outreach to the community.

To be known as Pioneer Stage: Bluegrass Music Education Center, it will be the location for all classes, lessons, and ensemble rehearsals in the bluegrass program when classes start up this fall. Situated about a half a mile from the main campus at the bottom of the hill, it will also be used for special concerts and workshops throughout the year. It will also house the school’s online bluegrass degree program which gives students of any age, anywhere in the world, to obtain the same education offered in West Virginia.

A ribbon-cutting ceremony is scheduled for 6:00 p.m. this afternoon, which will also serve as a kickoff for the West Virginia State Folk Festival which runs this weekend in Glenville. On Saturday and Sunday it will be the site for a Youth Bluegrass Camp, the second such camp sponsored by the GSC Bluegrass Program this summer.

Throughout the festival, students will be handing out free bottles of water at the Center, and offering pickers a cool place to jam. At 12:30 p.m. on Saturday, Buddy Griffin will give a presentation on early Appalachian music, and how that mountain style formed a bridge to contemporary bluegrass.

GSC Bluegrass will also host jam sessions there on Sundays throughout the year from 6:00-9:00 p.m., and an open stage on Thursdays from 6:00-9:00.

The new Center is a large building, familiar to locals as the old Midlands Department Store, which has been reconfigured and redesigned inside for classrooms, offices, and the like. There will also be a central hall suitable for live performances. Part of the school’s mission for the Bluegrass Music Education Center is to offer low cost entertainment for the local community, in a pleasant environment that will reflect well on Glenville State.

Glenville President Tracy Pellett says that he is proud to have the new Center as part of the College.

“I envision the Pioneer Stage as a source of celebration, preservation, and promotion of Glenville’s bluegrass music culture and heritage through community connection and enrichment. As the most notable presence in the Glenville community, it is our duty to provide these services for our community. I envision the Bluegrass Music Education Center as a platform for engaging the community through educational opportunities.”

Ample parking for students and visitors is available next to the building. A fee of $5 is charged for parking at public events, will all monies going to benefit GSC Bluegrass.

The public is invited to the ribbon cutting later today, and to visit the Center during Folk Festival weekend. It is located at 10 East Main Street in Glenville.

Congratulations to the Bluegrass Program for experiencing such rapid growth, and hats off to the college for finding them such a fine new home.

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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.