Gingerthistle performs ancient Christmas music at ICC Polk Dec. 10

Published 4:21 pm Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Gingerthistle will perform at ICC Polk campus on Friday, December 10, at 7 p.m. Using voice, dulcimer, guitar and percussion, Ben Seymour and Becky Cleland will present traditional Christmas pieces from the renaissance and early Southern spirituals.

In their performances, husband and wife team Ben Seymour and Becky Cleland follow the musical threads of traditional folk music from the Blue Ridge Mountains back to their Celtic roots. The two have been performing since 1980 and have produced five recordings.

Cleland says the name of the group came from combining words that sounded nice and had positive connotations. Ginger a country spice, and thistle a country flower, are what Cleland calls worthy symbols of the folk music we love.

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Seymour and Cleland met and married in Knoxville, TN, in 1980. In 1984, Cleland received a masters degree in library science from UT Knoxville, and is employed as evening librarian at Isothermal Community College, where she has been since 1989. Seymour builds lap dulcimers and earlier instruments, repairs instruments, and gives private dulcimer lessons from home.&bsp; Seymour and Cleland live in the Green Creek area of Polk County, where they live with their cat, Zeke.

For more information about the performance, call 828-894-3092 or visit To learn more about Gingerthistle and Ben and Becky, visit