The Bluegrass Music Hall of Fame & Museum has announced the Bluegrass Assemblies program. This program is introduced into local elementary (primary) schools and is led by the Hall of Fame’s education director, Randy Lanham. The program will feature bluegrass bands from Glenville State College in West Virginia and East Tennessee State University in Johnson City, Tennessee. As part of the Bluegrass in the Schools (BITS) initiative, the assemblies are presented to further the Hall of Fame’s mission of education in bluegrass music. The programs will occur in elementary schools within Daviess County Public Schools, Owensboro Public Schools, and Owensboro Catholic Schools.
The school-wide assembly programs are made possibly in part by the Michael E. Horn Family Foundation, the Lester E. Yeager Charitable Trust, and Champion Ford Lincoln Owensboro.
Students from Glenville State College are pursuing a bachelor’s degree in Bluegrass Music and have experience leading educational programs designed for students. The university worked with the Hall of Fame in 2019 at ROMP Fest assisting with workshops and performing for visitors downtown. Megan Darby, Director of the program at GSC commented, “It’s an incredible honor to collaborate and work alongside Chris Joslin, Randy Lanham, and everyone at the Hall of Fame. What the Bluegrass Music Hall of Fame & Museum is doing aligns perfectly with the Glenville State College Bluegrass Program’s mission.”
Students from East Tennessee State University are working toward a BA in Bluegrass, Old Time, and Country Music Studies. The director of the ETSU program, Dan Boner said, “The Bluegrass Music Hall of Fame & Museum reflects all that we love about bluegrass music. There is great respect for all of those who have shaped our music through history, and a strong sense of community and sharing through education. We are so proud to join the Hall of Fame by taking bluegrass into Kentucky’s schools.”
Accompanied by the Hall of Fame’s education director, Randy Lanham, the university bands are set to perform for all elementary students in Daviess County, in both public and private school systems, with Glenville State College students featured the week of January 6 and ETSU students leading the week of January 13. The goal of the program is to educate children about the history of bluegrass music and to encourage budding musicians to enroll in the Saturday Lesson Program at the Hall of Fame.
The Hall of Fame’s Saturday Lesson Program begins February 8th meeting every other Saturday through the end of June. The lessons focus on fiddle, guitar, banjo, and mandolin and are offered at an affordable rate, which includes a free instrument loan if needed based upon availability. Registration also includes a t-shirt and the opportunity to perform on the main stage at ROMP Festival in June. The fee for the entire session of Saturday Lessons is $90, and $50 for each additional family member. Parents are encouraged to take lessons alongside their children. Lessons are available to anyone age six to adult, no previous skills required.
Congratulations to NZ fiddler and founder of The Hamilton County Bluegrass Band Colleen Trenwith for her role at ETSU in teaching young people about bluegrass.