Berea College’s Bluegrass Ensemble’s performance of the “Carol of the Bells” has reached more than one million people—1,373,876 as of this writing—since their video recording was posted to the College’s Facebook page last year. The always-popular Bluegrass Ensemble is one of a diverse range of musical groups at Berea College.
Al White, the ensemble’s director, first developed the arrangement of “Carol of the Bells” about a decade ago for the Berea College music department’s annual Christmas concert. This video performance, recorded inside Berea’s Danforth Chapel and outdoors, features Casey Papendieck on bass; Al White on mandolin; Theo Macmillan on fiddle; Matt Parsons on guitar; and Brenna Macmillan on banjo and vocal.
Subsequent members of the Ensemble have also performed the distinctly Bluegrass version of this Christmas classic in a lively arrangement showcasing a complex interplay by each of the traditional Bluegrass instruments. Audiences enthusiastically receive it every time it is performed. You can view the now-viral video on Facebook here.
Brenna MacMillan ’18 performing with the Bluegrass Ensemble during their annual spring concert on April 21, 2018.
(Photo: Jonathan Kemp ’19)
Brenna MacMillan ’18, a senior Chemistry major from Winchester, Kentucky, received Berea College’s 2018 Red Foley Memorial Music Award. Following graduation, she plans to move to Nashville, Tennessee, to perform with her brother Theo MacMillan (2016 Red Foley recipient) and pursue her musical career.
This award, established in memory of Country Music Hall of Fame star Red Foley, is presented annually by Berea College to a talented Berea College student in recognition of his or her musical contributions to the social life of the campus community. The award assists the recipient in a professional music career, if he or she so desires, and promotes the kind of music associated with Red Foley’s career, such as folk, country, bluegrass, gospel and popular music. Continue reading Senior Chemistry Major Receives Berea’s 2017-2018 Red Foley Memorial Music Award →
The Berea College Concert Choir and Chamber Singers will present their 2017 fall concert “Bach, Brahms, and Bluegrass” in Gray Auditorium at 3 p.m. on Sunday, November 12. The public is invited to attend, and there is no charge for admission. Stephen Bolster will conduct the choirs. They will be joined by special guest performers the Clavere Piano Duo (Javier and Lindsay Clavere) and the Berea College Bluegrass Ensemble, led by Al White. Berea College students can receive convocation credit for attending the concert. Continue reading Concert Choir’s Fall Concert to Feature Classical and Traditional Music →
The Berea College Bluegrass Ensemble will perform their spring concert April 22, 2017 at 8:00 p.m. in Phelps Stokes Chapel. The concert will also serve as a benefit to promote and support their upcoming European summer tour to Denmark and Ireland. Donations are welcomed and CDs will be available for purchase at the benefit for $15. The Spring Concert for Mariachi Berea will be the following week on April 29th at 8:00 p.m. in Gray Auditorium of Presser Hall. Continue reading Bluegrass Ensemble Spring Concert this Weekend, Mariachi Berea Following Week →
The face of Sam Gleaves, ’14, lights up when he describes his new project. An Appalachian Studies major, he is well-known around campus for spirited performances on banjo with the Berea College Bluegrass Ensemble. He is currently focusing his passion and talent on documenting the work of mountain music’s old guard. When Academic Vice-President Chad Berry, former director of the Loyal Jones Appalachian Center, approached him about the project, Sam understood its relevance to his field of study and to the College’s commitment to Appalachia, and he immediately knew which musicians he wanted to work with. Continue reading Sam Gleaves →
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. Continue reading Berea College hosts 38th annual Celebration of Traditional Music →
The Berea College Bluegrass Ensemble presents its annual spring concert on Saturday, April 16. The 8 p.m. performance is scheduled in Gray Auditorium of Presser Music Building. Admission is free and all are invited. Continue reading Berea College Bluegrass Ensemble Performs Spring Concert, April 16 →