KSBTM brings bluegrass to The Kentucky Derby

UN Ambassador Kelly Craft, Joe Craft, Secretary General Antonio Guterres, Dean Osborne, Scott Napier,
Lauren Napier, and Natalie Tomlinson at the Derby Eve Party in Lexington hosted by the Crafts.

The Kentucky School of Bluegrass and Traditional Music, located on the campus of the Hazard Technical and Community College in Hyden, KY, was called upon to bring some authentic Kentucky bluegrass to The Kentucky Derby earlier this month.

Specifically, they were invited to perform during a Kentucky Derby Eve celebration at the Apiary Event Venue in Lexington. With the Derby being the prime event of the season in Louisville and Lexington, gala parties of every sort are held throughout the weekend, sponsored or hosted by a wide variety of clubs, celebrities, and businesses. The school was asked to provide live music for a party hosted by UN Ambassador Kelly Craft and her husband Joe.

Dean Osborne, Director of KSBTM, put together a band consisting of faculty and alumni, who not only offered the Crafts’ guests a taste of traditional music, they also presented a handcrafted Appalachian dulcimer to Secretary General Antonio Guterres, who was celebrating a birthday that evening. Also attending the party were the UN Ambassadors from Germany, Turkey, and Albania, Senator Mitch McConnell, and his wife, Secretary Elaine Chao, celebrated author JD Vance, Alltech CEO Dr. Mark Lyons, and Mrs. Deirdre Lyons.

Playing music at the event were Director Osborne on banjo, Associate Professor Scott Napier on guitar, KSBTM graduate Mrs. Lauren Price Napier on mandolin, Instructor Virgil Bowlin on bass, and KSBTM graduate Natalie Tomlinson on fiddle.

Dean tells us that they all felt privileged to be involved.

“It was a great honor for the KSBTM to be asked by the Craft family to present authentic bluegrass music to this international gathering. In celebrating the tradition of the Kentucky Derby, and being able to celebrate the birthday of UN Secretary General Guterres and present him an Appalachian dulcimer, was something we will never forget being a part of. He is a native of Portugal, and was very interested in the history of the instrument. The singing of My Old Kentucky Home by all those present was truly a once in a lifetime event.”

You can learn more about the Kentucky School of Bluegrass and Traditional Music, which offers both diploma and certificate programs for college grassers, online.

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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.