Mark your calendar for a free bluegrass event in Tryon

Published 10:46 am Monday, June 6, 2022

Do you love bluegrass? Join fellow music lovers in the community at the upcoming Bluegrass for Breakfast event, which will be offered on stage as a free concert on June 15 at 9 a.m. at Tryon Fine Arts Center, followed by a traditional music jam. 


In both South and North Carolina, the S.C. Arts Commission and N.C. Arts Council supports the continuation of heritage-based arts through Apprenticeship programs. Leading newgrass mandolinist Wayne Benson says, “I can’t overstate how important this is:  If you’re a musician, you’re supposed to share it with other people.” And he would know.  

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For the first time in S.C., an apprenticeship has been completed in which two mentors worked with one apprentice. Wayne with his wife – five-time IBMA Banjo Player of the Year winner Kristin Benson – have spent the last year mentoring Carson Moore in Newgrass mandolin and Bluegrass banjo. Laura Marcus Green, S.C. Arts Commission’s Traditional and Folklife Director shared that the apprenticeship is supported by state and federal taxpayer dollars, through the National Endowment for the Arts and the South Carolina State Legislature. 

Green notes, “Time and again, we see that the one-on-one apprenticeship format provides mentors and apprentices with an immersive experience through which the seeds of vital traditional art forms are planted in new generations. Wayne, Kristin, and Carson truly poured themselves into their apprenticeship, resulting not only in tremendous artistic growth for Carson, but also invaluable professional development for his future as a musician and teacher. We encourage apprenticeship recipients to share their work with the public. We are delighted that this apprenticeship trio is presenting their work to the PacJAM and TFAC  community. Their dedication and passion will no doubt inspire others.” 

Carson began his time with the banjo at TFAC’s Pacolet Junior Appalachian Musicians (PacJAM). Now a rising high school senior, he teaches in the same program that launched his love of bluegrass. Carson says, “It has been so important, getting to work with people like Wayne and Kristin, who have been doing this for so many years, with their know-how. Mixing that with extending my playing has really  prepared me in a very positive way for what is to come.” 

Kristin confirms, “I have peace now  about him moving to the college level with an ear for the things that really matter.” Kristin, Wayne, and Carson will share the fruits of their work together at the free concert. They will present a mix of traditional and progressive bluegrass songs ranging from classic standards to original arrangements of bluegrass/jazz fusion songs. The program will highlight the different subgenres of bluegrass, showcasing a range of songs by different influential artists throughout the genre. In addition to the concert, a jam session provided by the more advanced PacJAM camp students will be offered. Coffee will be offered for sale by Java Up. 

Submitted by Debra Torrence