Denison University’s Department of Music presents the 16th annual Bluegrass Festival. The festival opens with a “Generations of Bluegrass” concert on Friday, February 7th with the current Denison Bluegrass ensemble, Denison alumni, and special guests, Tom Ewing and Rich Baker. Ewing, a former member of Bill Monroe’s original Bluegrass Boys, sings and plays guitar, and Rich Baker, host of the WOSU Bluegrass Ramble, can be seen on the mandolin. The concert will take place at 7 p.m. in Swasey Chapel.
Adam Schlenker, director of the Bluegrass Ensemble at Denison, says of this concert, “This is the first time, to my knowledge, that a generations concert has taken place at the DU Bluegrass Festival. Friday night’s show will not only feature these talented musicians, but it will also showcase the songs that tie us all together. Artists like Bill Monroe and Flatt & Scruggs created such great catalogs of music that generation after generation feel compelled to learn them.”
The festival continues on Saturday, February 8th with workshops lasting from 10 a.m. until 2 p.m. in the Michael D. Eisner Center for Performing Arts. 10 a.m. will begin with a Q&A session with Tom Ewing on his time with Bill Monroe, 11 a.m. presents a Banjo Workshop with Gena Britt, 12 p.m. a fiddle workshop with Deanie Richardson, and 1 p.m. will conclude with a vocal/songwriting workshop with Dale Ann Bradley and Tina Adair. Schlenker encourages participants to bring their own instruments if they wish.
The festival concludes on Saturday evening with a concert by Sister Sadie at 7 p.m. in Swasey Chapel. Named vocal group of the year at the International Bluegrass Music Awards, Schlenker and students are excited to see them perform on Denison’s stage. Denison senior and member of the Bluegrass ensemble, Bebe Blumenthal, says of this concert, “I’m especially excited this year for the main show with Sister Sadie. Their energy is awesome— we were lucky enough to see them at IBMA in September and they’re great performers all around.”
The concerts and workshops are free and open to the public.