Bluegrass takes root at The Music Hall
By Samantha Lyles, Staff Writer, firstname.lastname@example.org
The sound of guitars, banjos, and mandolins rang out along Harry Byrd Hwy as The Music Hall kicked off the New Year with a live bluegrass concert. But don’t worry if you missed it; the concerts will recur on the first Saturday of each month, courtesy of Southeastern Bluegrass Association (SEBGA) of South Carolina. Whether you’re a bluegrass fan from way back, or a newcomer wishing to learn more about this historically rich genre of music, these live events are sure to entertain.
“Bluegrass music came over from Ireland, England, and Scotland into the mountains of Appalachia, and gradually made its way down into the flatlands,” says Ernie McCormick, president of the SEBGA. He notes that while bluegrass flourishes in the hills, it can be tough finding an audience among lowlanders who favor beach music, rock, or flashier modern country.
“Everybody loves bluegrass up there, but we want to try and introduce new people to bluegrass because it is fun music…it’s high energy,” says McCormick, adding that the traditional music is always family friendly. “No dirty lyrics. You’re not ashamed to bring your pastor or your parents.”
The concerts will feature bands from South Carolina, North Carolina, Georgia, and occasionally farther flung locales. Additionally, each concert night will begin with an open mike segment around 5 p.m., offering budding performers a chance to hone their skills in front of a live audience.
“We encourage young musicians, or people who just want to get more experience in front of a crowd or a microphone to come and play,” McCormick says. “We cater to people who have been into bluegrass for years and to the younger folks who are just coming along. We want to pass the mantle on to the younger generation.”
McCormick says that the Southeastern Bluegrass Association of SC was founded 23 years ago, and is the longest continuously run bluegrass organization in South Carolina. They have staged concerts on the first Saturday of every month for over 20 years, mostly at Lynches River State Park in Florence County. McCormick says the move to Darlington County is a calculated one, since our area hosts one of the nation’s top bluegrass festivals, RenoFest, every March.
“We’re very excited about this facility and the location. The Darlington and Hartsville area is a hotbed for bluegrass,” says McCormick.
Regular admission is $10, a student admission is $5, and children under 12 are admitted free. With a SEBGA membership ($20 per year for an individual, $30 for a family), you can enjoy a $3 discount per admission.
To learn more about the bluegrass concerts at The Music Hall, call McCormick at (843) 230-5177. For more on the Southeastern Bluegrass Association, visit their website at www.sebga.org.
The Music Hall is located at 1945 Harry Byrd Hwy in Darlington.