Berea College Folk-Roots Ensemble to Perform with the Chieftains

The Chieftains, an internationally renowned traditional Irish band and the Berea College Folk-Roots Ensemble will join forces in a concert Wednesday, March 9, at the Eastern Kentucky University Performing Arts Center in Richmond, KY.

The Dublin, Ireland-based Chieftains were looking for a group to sing at their concert as part of their American tour. Elizabeth DiSavino, director of the Berea College Folk-Roots Ensemble, volunteered the group of Berea College students, including Jay Callahan, Blake Durham, Adam Hudson, Jonathan Kemp, Joseph Muth, Julie Nelms, Tyler Rosso, Michelle Watson-Jones, Whitney Worthington and Jared Zanet. Using Appalachian music as its touchstone, Berea’s Folk-Roots Ensemble branches into other kinds of traditional and roots-based music. 

The Chieftains, who formed their band in 1962 in Dublin, have popularized traditional Irish music around the world. Primarily an instrumental group that prominently features uilleann pipes (also known as the national bagpipe of Ireland), they often collaborate with well-known guest artists in their concerts from a wide range of musical styles. Roger Daltrey, James Galway, Art Garfunkel, Mick Jagger, Tom Jones, Madonna, Willie Nelson, Luciano Pavarotti, Earl Scruggs, Ricky Skaggs, Sting and The Rolling Stones all have performed with the Chieftains.

“We will be singing on three pieces,” DiSavino says of the Folk-Roots Ensemble’s upcoming performance with the Chieftains. “It is a thrill to get to sing with these titans of Irish music!”

The Chieftains have won many awards, including six Grammys and the honorary title of ‘Ireland’s Musical Ambassadors’ from the Irish Government in 1989. They have performed before worldwide audiences that have included Queen Elizabeth II of Britain and Pope John Paul II in venues as diverse as New York’s Carnegie Hall, the National Concert Hall in Dublin and the Great Wall of China.

The Chieftains’ concert with the Berea College Folk-Roots Ensemble is Wednesday, March 9, at 7:30 at the EKU Performing Arts Center. For ticket information:

Berea College Folk-Roots Ensemble

Berea College Folk-Roots Ensemble


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Categories: News, Programs and Initiatives
Tags: Chieftains, Folk-Roots Ensemble, Music Department

Berea College, the first interracial and coeducational college in the South, focuses on learning, labor and service. The College only admits academically promising students with limited financial resources—primarily from Kentucky and Appalachia—but welcomes students from 41 states and 76 countries. Every Berea student receives a Tuition Promise Scholarship, which means no Berea student pays for tuition. Berea is one of nine federally recognized Work Colleges, so students work 10 hours or more weekly to earn money for books, housing and meals. The College’s motto, “God has made of one blood all peoples of the earth,” speaks to its inclusive Christian character.