The WVU Bluegrass Band has released a debut single from their upcoming album, expected in the fall. It’s a song titled Rhopalocera, written and sung by Music Therapy student Emily Lehr.
The Band is a student group within the Music Department at the University of West Virginia, under the direction of Dr. Travis Stimeling, Musicology Professor at the Canady College of Creative Arts in Morgantown, WV. Started in 2014, both the bluegrass ensemble and an old time music group offer students credit in music, along with performance opportunities across the state, with professional guidance.
Emily says that Rhopalocera, which is Latin for butterflies, came from a contemplation of the major changes that occur in their life cycle.
“I started researching the monarch butterfly to hopefully get inspired, and that’s where Rhopalocera comes from. The verses are about how life changes constantly, and that’s always been hard for me to wrap my head around. But having good people around me has always been what keeps me grounded; that’s where the chorus comes in. This song is about the inconsistency of life and how having a friend to sit with through the hard times can make everything seem more manageable.”
The band recorded this track the day that WVU announced that they would be shutting down as part of the COVID19 mitigation efforts. It was chosen to release as a single as both Dr. Stimeling and Joshua Swiger, Music Industry professor, saw a positive message in the song for these uncertain times.
Playing on the track are Emily Lehr (vocals, songwriter), Trent Greene (mandolin), Mary Linscheid (fiddle and vocals), Jacob McPhail (banjo), Nate Catanzarite (bass and vocals), Anna Dunham (vocals), Travis Stimeling (vocals).
Rhopalocera is released on Mon Hills Records, the WVU record label, and is available now wherever you stream or download music online. Mon Hills is student run, with a staff of more than 60 people supervised by Prof. Swinger.
The full album will consist of student compositions and a number of bluegrass classics performed by the WVU Bluegrass Band. Look for more on that when school starts back up in the fall.
Well done all!