ETSU Bluegrass program to present virtual fundraiser

Brandon Paykamian • Updated May 6, 2020 at 10:40 AM

East Tennessee State University will host a Virtual Showcase and Fundraiser Thursday to benefit the university’s Bucs Help Bucs campaign supporting struggling campus community members amid the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.

“We do a lot of performing in the region, and we perform nationally, too. Now that everybody is gone and working remotely, we’re not able to do that. We wanted to be able to give back to the community, to bluegrass fans and music fans. Something they can sit back and enjoy from the comfort of their home,” ETSU’s Bluegrass, Old-Time and Country Music Studies Program Director Dan Boner said.

The showcase will feature videos of music recorded by students and faculty in the program and will include a mix of originals and covers. The stream will begin at 7 p.m. on Facebook Live.

Boner said the idea to host a virtual showcase came from senior ETSU bluegrass majors Sophia Chambers, Mikaela Langley and Charly Smith, students in Nate Olsen’s band leadership course.

“They solicited the student body to prepare some videos, which are a combination of solo performances and duo performances. Some are solo-tracked, where students each worked on their parts separately and then combined them together so you have a full band performing,” Boner said.

Boner said he wants to show what students have been able to do despite continuing their courses remotely. He said students can still “be creative even though we can’t be together.”

“There are some really fascinating performances that have come out of this,” he said.

Viewers will be encouraged to support and donate to the Bucs Help Bucs effort during the virtual showcase. Donations can be directed toward Student/Staff Emergency Funds, which provides financial assistance to members of the campus community; Bucky’s Food Pantry, which aids those in need of food and campaigns against food insecurity and hunger on campus; or the ETSU Counseling Center that provides in-person and remote counseling services and other mental health resources.

“At this time, it just seems like the Bucs Help Bucs campaign is the right thing to do,” Boner said. “It’s a good thing that the whole university has pitched into, and we want to help.”

More than $70,000 has been raised in the campaign so far, according to the university. The campaign will continue through May 22.

To watch the show, visit www.facebook.com/etsubluegrass/live. For more about ETSU’s Bucs Help Bucs campaign, visit www.etsu.edu/bucs-help-bucs.

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