ETSU Bluegrass celebrating 40 years with concert

Published 11:15 am Monday, October 3, 2022

JOHNSON CITY — Bluegrass, Old-Time and Roots Music Studies at East Tennessee State University will host a concert celebrating the program’s 40th anniversary on Friday, Oct. 21, at 7 p.m. at the ETSU Martin Center for the Arts.
This milestone anniversary concert will feature well-known and prominent artists who have direct connections to the university.
“I cannot wait to play music on stage again with some of my friends from 20 years ago,” said program director and ETSU alumnus Dr. Dan Boner. “And there will be some incredibly well-known artists at this anniversary concert, a couple of whom I will be meeting for the very first time myself.”
The department brought on 10-time International Bluegrass Music Association award-winning artist and alumna Becky Buller to serve as the concert’s artistic director.
“It’s gonna be a family reunion,” she said. “We have folks participating from literally all over the world, representing all decades of the program, and the various styles of Appalachian American music we study.”
Program founder Jack Tottle is traveling from Hawaii to be part of the festivities.
“A friend of mine said, ‘Always go where the good energy is.’ This became my guiding principle when I started teaching at ETSU,” said Tottle. “The growth of the program over these 40 years is truly astonishing. Whenever I return to East Tennessee, I feel like I’ve come home.”
Boner added: “It cannot be overstated the influence ETSU has had on American music over these past 40 years. ETSU students and alumni have impacted the music world, performing on the largest international stages and garnering hundreds of industry awards.”
The program, the first of its kind at a four-year university when Tottle established it in 1982, has awarded over 120 degrees in Bluegrass, Old-Time and Roots Music Studies since the Bachelor of Arts launched 12 years ago.
The Oct. 21 festivities at the ETSU Martin Center will begin with a VIP reception at 5:30 p.m.
VIP tickets (concert and reception included with space limited) are $75. Concert only tickets are $40 for adults and $15 for ETSU students with a valid ID. Children 12 and under are free.

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