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Television Special Spotlights Museum and Bill Monroe

By International Bluegrass Music Museum
September 9, 2010 - 8:45 am

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World Progress Report, with Joan Lunden

World Progress Report, with Joan Lunden

Owensboro, Kent.World Progress Report with Joan Lunden, the educational television series distributed to public stations across the United States, is coming to Owensboro to tape a six-minute feature about the International Bluegrass Music Museum. This feature will be broadcast on PBS television stations during the Bill Monroe Centennial Celebration year of 2011.

Located on the banks of the Ohio River in Owensboro, the Bluegrass Museum draws visitors from all across the nation and the world. In 2009, fans came from all 50 US states and 42 countries. People from all these locales have an avid interest in bluegrass music and travel great distances to the region of its origin in Western Kentucky.

The Owensboro Daviess County Convention and Visitors Bureau was directly responsible for making the arrangements for World Progress Report to feature the museum. CVB Executive Director Karen Miller has consistently led the way to fostering statewide participation in bluegrass music and the Bill Monroe Centennial.

According to Miller, "The International Bluegrass Music Museum is so important to Owensboro, the state of Kentucky, and to bluegrass fans around the world. We are truly fortunate to have this valuable entity in our region, and we support the museum's efforts to not only preserve the history of bluegrass music, but to share bluegrass with the world, which they are definitely doing."

Gabrielle Gray, the museum's Executive Director, gives credit for the World Progress Report taping in Owensboro both to Ms. Miller and to the musicians who make bluegrass music irresistible to their fans.

"If it were not for all the stunningly talented bluegrass musicians out there in the world-giving this music to everyone they know and love, day in and day out, there would be no reason for the museum to exist and nothing for World Progress Report to film," Gray says.

Two major artifacts will go on display at the Bill Monroe Centennial Exhibit opening September 10: Uncle Pen's fiddle, on loan from Terry Woodward, primary amongst the museum's founders; and the Bill Monroe F5 Mandolin headstock veneer on loan from John Carter Cash, musician/arranger/producer of Carter Family and Johnny Cash fame, and his wife, Laura, an accomplished vocalist and instrumentalist who captured the title of National Fiddle Champion as a teenager and again as an adult. These artifacts are known to bluegrass enthusiasts as two of the most important in the history of bluegrass music.

Thousands are expected to come to the museum during the Bill Monroe Centennial year, which officially kicks off at the museum on September 10, 2010. In order to preserve the idiosyncratic mandolin performance style of Bill Monroe that set him apart from all others before him, the museum hosts a Monroe-Style Mandolin Camp each summer near the date of Monroe's birthday on September 13.

During this year's camp, the museum will have an opening reception for the Bill Monroe Centennial Exhibit (6:00 p.m. at the museum), followed by a concert by the camp faculty (8:00 p.m. next door to the museum, at the Owensboro Symphony). This concert features some of the finest mandolin players on earth: Mike Compton, Richard Brown, Bobby Osborne, Skip Gorman and David Harvey, accompanied by David Peterson and former Blue Grass Boy Danny Jones.

Two of the museum's Saturday Lessons Program faculty will open the event: Randy Lanham and David Morris, legends in their own right. Musical friends since childhood, they have overseen and led the bluegrass music education of nearly 100,000 elementary students in Western Kentucky through the museum's Bluegrass in the Schools program.

The Bluegrass Museum is only a half-hour's drive from Jerusalem Ridge in Rosine, Ohio County, KY, the birthplace and home place of Bill Monroe, universally recognized as the Father of Bluegrass Music.

Monroe and his band, the Blue Grass Boys, were seminal figures in creating and shaping an original American genre of music in the first half of the 20th Century. This new acoustic music (named for Bill Monroe's band which, in turn, was named for the moniker of his home state of Kentucky) was embraced by musicians around the world, especially after the iconic popularity of the movie O Brother, Where Art Thou? in 2000.

"Until 2000, Bluegrass was a relatively small genre with an extraordinarily devoted fan base, many of whom are virtuoso musicians," Gray says. "We are happy to see the fan base growing exponentially around the world. Bluegrass is traveling back in a new and engaging form to the many countries whose cultural roots were the inspiration for this music from the beginning."

Bluegrass music now has a global community reported to be in the tens of millions in scores of nations with established bluegrass events, musicians and fans. To accommodate and foster increasing international visitation and participation, the International Bluegrass Music Museum has translated its website into ten major languages.

"We are here to welcome everyone who would like to learn about its many and varied origins and take part in its future, which promises, by the way, to be very exciting," Gray says.

The museum is open year-round, Tuesday to Saturday, 10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m., and Sundays from 1:00 to 4:00 p.m.. Regular Admission is $5 for adults and $2 for children.

Additoinal information:
International Bluegrass Music Museum web site
(270) 926-7891

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