Special programs at the Earl Scruggs Center in 2024

The Earl Scruggs Center in Shelby, NC, a museum and social center commemorating the contributions of the region’s most famous native, has opened a new exhibit, Born of the Broad River: The Life and Career of Earl Scruggs in His Own Words, 1924-1945It is an exploration of Earl’s formative years in Cleveland County, from his birth in 1924 until he left to pursue music full time in 1945.

Zach Dressel, Assistant Director and Curator of the Earl Scruggs Center, says that they are proud of this exhibit, and invite everyone with an interest in bluegrass music to visit and have a look.

“We are honored to offer this exhibit that celebrates the early life and influences of Earl Scruggs. Through our programming lineup, we aim to showcase the profound impact the culture of this community had on Scruggs’ music, and provide visitors with a deeper appreciation for the rich heritage of our region. We are so grateful to have the support of a fantastic community partner in Bank OZK Trust and Wealth.”

With the exhibit, the Scruggs Center has planned several special events, both musical and academic, as part of its mission to further understanding of Earl Scruggs, his music, and the cultural elements of western North Carolina that formed him.

The following special programming is scheduled at the Center over the next few month (descriptions provided by the Center).

Thursday, May 16Making Music: The Banjo in a Southern Appalachian County Book Talk with Dr. William Allsbrook

Join Dr. Allsbrook, author of Making Music: The Banjo in a Southern Appalachian County, as he explores his extensive research on the origins and cultural significance of the banjo in the Western North Carolina Mountains. Learn about the contributions of a host of regional musicians, both known and unknown to the greater public. This free program takes place on Thursday, May 16 at 6:00 p.m.

Saturday, June 8The Genius of Earl Scruggs with Award-Winning Banjoist Bill Evans

Do you want to know what makes Earl Scruggs so special and why we honor his music and legacy at the Earl Scruggs Center? Find out in this unique presentation for everyone with Steve Martin Banjo Prize-winning musician Bill Evans. Learn how Earl’s three-finger right hand technique catapulted the banjo to the forefront of bluegrass and American popular music, setting the stage for all aspiring banjo players. Musicians bring your instruments for a workshop and jam session to follow. This free program takes place on Saturday, June 8, at 1:00 p.m.

Friday, June 28Fiddle Tunes and Fish Camps: A Fish Fry at the Earl Scruggs Center

Delve into the culinary traditions of the Piedmont with Dr. Stephen Criswell, professor at USC-Lancaster, as he explores the history and cultural significance of the southern fish camp. This immersive event will provide attendees with a taste of the flavors and traditions that influenced Earl Scruggs during his upbringing along the Broad River in Cleveland County. Featuring dinner, an educational talk, and music by fiddle player William Ritter and banjoist Brett Riggs, this event takes place on Friday, June 28 at 6:00 p.m., and is $40 for Earl Scruggs Center members and $50 for non-members.

Saturday, November 9Sacred Sounds of Western North Carolina: A Shaped Note Singing Workshop with Laura Boosinger

Experience the timeless tradition of shaped note singing with Laura Boosinger, a revered educator and musician. Participants will explore the musical heritage of this tradition as Boosinger teaches the foundations of this style that was used in churches around the region. After a period of workshop learning, participants will have the opportunity to join in shaped note singing as a group. This program takes place on Saturday, November 9, at 11:00 a.m. The cost is $5 for Earl Scruggs Center members and $10 for non-members. Discounted rates are available for choral groups. Call the Earl Scruggs Center for more information. 

The Earl Scruggs Center is open Tuesday through Saturday from 10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. General admission to the museum is $12. Senior citizens and college students get in for $8, those from 6-17 years of age for $5, and 5 and under are free.

Full details can be found 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.