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Traditional music series to feature Berea College Bluegrass Ensemble

The First Thursday Old-Time and Bluegrass Series at Western Carolina University continues Thursday, March 7, with a concert featuring the Berea College Bluegrass Ensemble from Berea College in Kentucky.

The group’s 7 p.m. performance and the open jam session that follows will be held at the headquarters for Homebase College Ministry, located on the east side of the WCU campus at 83 Central Drive.

Berea students have been performing in the ensemble for 17 years. During their time at the liberal arts work college, members of the band show off their singing and picking skills in exchange for course credit and the opportunity to make lifelong friends and share their music with audiences around the world. Their concerts are a blend of traditional bluegrass and mountain music with contemporary influences.

Over the years, the group has toured throughout the eastern U.S. and internationally in Ireland, Japan and Denmark. Current student members are Seth Lewis, banjo; Hannah From, guitar; Jessie Lawson, bass; Nathan Jose, guitar; and Cora Allison, fiddle. Al White, a Berea faculty member, directs the group and performs on mandolin.

The First Thursday concerts and jam sessions will continue through the spring, with programs from 7 to 9 p.m. on the first Thursday of each month.

The concerts and jam sessions are free and open to the public. Pickers and singers of all ages and experience levels are invited to take part in the jam sessions, which also are open to those who just want to listen.

For more information, call the Mountain Heritage Center at 828-227-7129 or visit

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