Berea College hosts 38th annual Celebration of Traditional Music

The 38th annual Celebration of Traditional Music will take place at Berea College on October 13-16 and features internationally acclaimed musicians Caroline Herring, Darrell Scott and many others.

Darrell Scott, the Grammy-nominated singer-songwriter has written modern masterpieces like “You’ll Never Leave Harlan Alive” and “It’s a Great Day To Be Alive.”  His songs have been recorded and made into hits by The Dixie Chicks, Tim McGraw, Faith Hill, Patty Loveless, and many others.  A native of Southeastern Kentucky, Scott will give a free concert at Berea College’s Phelps Stokes Auditorium on Thursday, October 13, at 8 p.m. as the Stephenson Memorial Convocation Concert Performer.

Friday, October 14, offers several free sessions, including a workshop with acclaimed fiddler John Harrod, a special screening of “It’s Hard To Tell The Singer From the Song,” an onstage interview between Caroline Herring and Silas House,  archival footage of the Celebration, a jam session and a symposium by musician and musicologist Deborah Thompson.  Free sessions are offered Saturday morning and afternoon, as well,  featuring an afternoon square dance, an afternoon concert, and a panel discussion on the importance of Maude Kilbourne, hosted by Appalachian scholar Loyal Jones.

On Saturday, October 15, at 7:30 p.m., a ticketed concert features singer and dulcimer-player Betty Smith, Caroline Herring, the Reed Island Rounders, Eddie Pennington, the Berea College Bluegrass Ensemble, James Bryan and Carl Jones.

Betty Smith is widely known as a master dulcimer player and folklorist.  Caroline Herring is the Appalachian representative to the Cecil Sharp Project in the United Kingdom and is one of modern folk’s most acclaimed and beloved singer-songwriters. The Celebration ends with a hymn singing at Union Church on Sunday morning that features most of the performers.

This year’s Celebration of Traditional Music is dedicated to the late Wade Mainer, the show-stopping, banjo playing, North Carolinian who was instrumental in the evolution of bluegrass music; and in honor of the living legend Jean Ritchie, who is known as “The Mother of Folk.”

The Celebration of Traditional Music strives to represent homemade music passed on from person to person in the Appalachian Region and the musicians who play it. Old time string band music, blues, traditional gospel singing, ballads, and acoustic instruments are featured in a family-friendly atmosphere. Berea College’s students, faculty, and staff welcome the public to enjoy this festival of roots music and dancing on our campus. Bring your instruments, feet, and voices, and enjoy the many jam sessions and opportunities to learn how to sing, play, and dance to this music.

Categories: News, People
Tags: Bluegrass Ensemble, Celebration of Traditional Music, Convocation, music, Stephenson Memorial Concert

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.