TFAC to presents New Global Music Fusion Series

Published 10:12 am Monday, July 20, 2020

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Series to feature exchange of Appalachian and Armenian music through performances and exhibitions


Tryon Fine Arts Center (TFAC) will present a series of free, live-streamed music and virtual exhibitions as part of their new 2020 Illuminations Through Music and Heritage program. This extraordinary series, which kicks off with a live-streamed concert on July 24 at 7:30 p.m., celebrates the international exploration of music and heritage between students of Tryon Fine Arts Center’s Pacolet Junior Appalachian Musicians and students with the Petra National Trust (PNT) in Jordan. Because Tryon Fine Arts Center is currently closed to live audiences, Illuminations is a virtual-only series of events.
“Tryon Fine Arts Center’s Pacolet Junior Appalachian Musician Program (PacJAM) helps our students and their families develop understanding and appreciation for our own regional musical traditions. Through the partnership with Petra National Trust, our families have proudly shared their traditions across the world with the community in Jordan. They have learned that Jordanian families and families in Western NC are more alike than different,” says TFAC Executive Director Marianne Carruth. “With the exhibition, Illuminations Through Music and Heritage, Tryon Fine Arts Center will bring our community together on a virtual level to share in the role of music as a connection to the world . . .  plus, it’s straight up cool.”
The July 24th live-streamed concert, Arabic and Appalachian Fusion, will feature celebrated Armenian / Egyptian percussionist River Guerguerian, Adib Chebli, a Lebanese oud player, Old Time musicians Bob and Amy Buckingham and Bluegrass banjoist Carson Moore. The musicians will play both individual and fusion sets combining Appalachian and Arab traditions.
On Wednesday, August 5 at 10:00 a.m., Same Roots, Separate Sounds: Archiving Song Traditions in the Foothills will launch as the second part of the series with a virtual grand opening. The multi-media exhibition will highlight local musicians and the various multi-cultural genres they are preserving through photo, video, and audio clips. Artists include Wayne and Kristin Benson, Ella Hennessee and Mary Johnson, Greenville Fine Arts Center Jazz, Tonya Staley, Adib Chebli and Brandon Turner & Freddie Vanderford.
The grand opening of Hidden Heritage: Exploring Bedouin and Appalachian Music Traditions, the final event in the series, will begin at 10:00 a.m. on Wednesday, August 12. This exhibit, filmed and narrated at TFAC, examines the role of the African diaspora in the creation of Bedouin and Appalachian stringed instruments, and highlights the interconnections of these seemingly very different cultures. Both the exhibit and film are curated by Furman University musicologist Julie Moore, who was also consulted for historical musical accuracy on the 2016 A&E production of “Roots.”
Illuminations Through Music and Heritage is made possible by the 2019-2020 Communities Connecting Heritage grant from World Learning at the U.S. Department of State. This exploration between the young people of PacJAM at Tryon Fine Arts Center and those with the Petra National Trust in Jordan led all participants to deepen their understanding of their own heritage while simultaneously exploring of a completely new culture.
The partnership between PNT and PacJAM is the only grant awarded to a heritage-oriented non-profit in a southern state.  PacJAM has been thrilled to be selected by the U.S. Department of State to represent Appalachian culture to the world.
“There’s no better way to learn about yourself than to try to learn about someone else. Students of PacJAM at Tryon Fine Arts Center have spent the year exploring the role of music in heritage with students of Petra National Trust in Jordan,” says PacJam Program Director Julie Moore. “Though vastly different in outer appearance, Appalachian and Arabic cultures both have long traditions of preserving and sharing history through song. We invite you to savor our discoveries in this three-part exhibition.”

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Information about Tryon Fine Arts Center, this very special Illuminations program, and how to tune in to the July 24th concert can be found at
For more information about Tryon Fine Arts Center’s mission and programming, please visit

Submitted by Marianne Carruth