GSC Bluegrass Band members Jordan Young, left, Robbie
Mann and Ryan Spangenberg join for a tune Tuesday night

Story and Photos by Drew Moody

The Glenville State College Bluegrass Band took charge of the stage from the moment the first note sounded, giving an energetic professional performance Tuesday night.

Transitions between numbers were effortless, giving nearly all the members ample time in the front-center spotlight. Well rehearsed and choreographed, it resembled the kind of performance music lovers might expect at much larger venues.

In fact, the 2012 edition of the band has experienced a playing schedule rivaling some professional groups, playing over 50 gigs so far this year.

Brittany McGuire, left, Jordan Young and Toni
Doman take center stage to belt out a song

Their well-honed skills are no accident, as director, Megan Darby, headlined a touring bluegrass band well before she was old enough to attend college.

She is one of former director Buddy Giffin's proteges. Despite the ecstasy of his retirement, Griffin, (GSC's own 'Dean of Bluegrass') maintains a close association with college.

In under two years at the helm, Darby has accomplished refocusing the bluegrass program, as well doubling the number of student participation.

GSC Bluegrass Band members are immersed in all aspects of the music business, not merely mastering the craft of playing their chosen instruments. It's a 'get your hands dirty' experience whose scope includes recording, production, promotion and management, in addition to mastering live performance showmanship.

Joining in three-part harmony on this tune are
Carol Belknap, left, Toni Doman and Laiken Boyd

Last summer the band marked a new milestone recording their first CD. They were invited to use the sound studies at Country Music Hall of Fame member Tom T. Hall's Fox Hollow farm located near Nashville, Tennessee. "It was a trip these kids will never forget," Darby said.

Glenville State College is the first college in the nation to offer a 4-year bachelor of arts degree in bluegrass music. A certificate program is also offered. For more information, or to schedule a performance, contact Megan Darby 304-462-4130 or 304-462-6347. Or, contact her by e-mail at megan.darby@glenville.edu.

All monies (100-percent) collected via donation at concerts, or proceeds from CD sales, etc., are used to support and expand the bluegrass education program.

Laiken Boyd, left, Ryan Spengenberg, Jimmy Davis,
Richie Jones and Seth Elmore join on this number

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