Bluegrass Gospel Concert with The Crossroad Singers and The Fifth Street Bluegrass Band, Featuring Dr. Tim Bruster!
Join us for a very special evening of music:
Sunday, April 19, 2015
6:30 pm | Sanctuary | Admission is free
Donations welcome to support our Music & Worship Arts Ministry
“The banjo is such a happy instrument — you can’t play a sad song on the banjo — it always comes out so cheerful.”
― Steve Martin
On Sunday night, April 19, an unparalleled music event will take place in our sanctuary. In a rare combination of two musical groups, the Crossroad Singers — a standing musical ensemble that plays and sings in worship at our church — and the Fifth Street Bluegrass Band formed especially for this concert, you’ll hear the characteristic tight harmonies and acoustics of traditional bluegrass that speaks to the heart along with soulful gospel favorites sure to inspire reflection on the ups and downs of life.
Dr. David Grant, longtime church member, theologian and all-around good guy, leads both groups and says that likes so many other types of music throughout history, Bluegrass music is inspired by religious faith; similarly, old-time gospel music frequently centers on transcending the hard realities of daily rural life. “One of the things that I so appreciate about our church,” Grant says, “is that there is an appreciation for the various types of music that have expressed the faith of Christians through the centuries,” Grand says,
While you don’t have to be a Bluegrass or Gospel music aficionado to appreciate this rare Sunday night concert, a recent peek in on a rehearsal reveals that we are indeed in store for a treat. And, if for no other reason, Grant says, one should come to this concert to see our senior pastor, Dr. Tim Bruster, singing the high tenor strains of some great bluegrass classics!
In addition to Dr. B on guitar and vocals, Fifth Street Bluegrass Band will feature Justin Holt on mandolin, Kent Kilbourne on guitar, Jeff Siewert on bass. and David Grant on banjo. “So the group has a pastor, a banker, a retired clergyman, a college professor and a contractor,” Grant quips. Additional performers in the Crossroad Singers are Trish Hill, Tracey Smith, and Ron White. Y’all come!
Bluegrass is itself a descendant from the music brought to this country by immigrants into Virginia, Tennessee, Kentucky, and the Carolinas. This so-called “mountain music” was popularized by the advent of the phonograph and radio in the early 20th century and began to be called “country music” as its popularity spread from its home in the Appalachian region, largely through the broadcasts of the “Grand Ole Opry” from WSM in Nashville, Tennessee, that began in 1925.
Suddenly, what had been a very local and regional phenomenon became national, and local musicians who typically played their music in their own towns and villages as a weekend avocation, became recording artists. Two brothers, Charlie and Bill Monroe, originally from Kentucky, moved to Indiana to work at an oil refinery and would play for dances on the weekends. The brothers split up in 1938 and Bill Monroe formed his own group known as “Bill Monroe and the Blue Grass Boys” — a nod to his home of Kentucky (the Blue Grass State) — and they quickly became regulars on the Grand Ole Opry. In 1945, a young banjo player, Earl Scruggs, joined the group with his unique style of finger-picking, and the sound that resulted from Bill Monroe on mandolin, Earl Scruggs on banjo, and Lester Flatt on guitar defined that style of music we today call “bluegrass.”
How did the idea of this concert come about?
We did such a concert eight years ago at the urging of the late Richard Loughridge, a lover of bluegrass and an excellent guitarist. He put together a quartet consisting of Wesley Smith on mandolin, David Grant on banjo, Tim Bruster on guitar, and himself. We decided to do such a concert again, in memory of Richard Loughridge.