Lessons in History
Eleutherian College to kick off
its series of programs in April
‘Celtica’ and Southwestern High band to perform
(April 2014) – Over the next few months, Eleutherian College in Lancaster, Ind., will serve as a stage for a series of community arts programs that will showcase a variety of performances designed to entertain, educate and challenge audiences.
The series will kick off with a performance by Celtica, a progressive Celtic band. Founder Tammera Lane explains that the historic site makes the perfect background for their type of music. “I think it will be excellent. Our music and our instruments would have been around when the college was up and running.”
The folk music and folk hymns that make up their repertoire have strong Irish roots and traveled with Irish immigrants who came to America. “For the most part, we take traditional pieces from the past,” she explains. The group offers their own interpretation of these old tunes, and Lane says, “Now and then you’ll hear a blues rift.”
File photo by Don Ward
The summer series of programs
are designed to educate guests
and also attract people to the historic college in Lancaster, Ind., where
they can tour the building and learn more about its unique history.
Many of their instruments trace back well before the 1848 founding of Eleutherian to the Medieval era, with the Hurdy Gurdy, Bowed Psaltery and Harp giving listeners some of the sounds of the past. Lane is pleased to have the opportunity to share these instruments with a wider audience noting that, “A lot of people have never seen or heard of these before.”
On April 26, Eleutherian College will present performances by Celtica and the Southwestern High School Band. Free tours of the site will be available from 1-3 p.m. The Southwestern Band will perform at 3 p.m., followed by Celtica at 4 p.m. The event serves as an opening for a spring and summer series of public programs focusing on the arts. Eleutherian College is located at 6927 W. State Rd. 250 in Lancaster, just a few miles north of Madison.
Eleutherian College Programs
• April 26: Southwes-tern High School Band and the Celtica Irish music group
• May 10: “Created Equal” art exhibit by area high school students. Also film to be shown from the “Created Equal: America’s Civil Rights Struggle” series.
• June 7: “The Abolitionists” with Dr. Geoffrey Weiss
• July 19: “Slavery by Another Name” with Dr. Patty Dillon
• Aug. 9: “The Freedom Riders” with Dr. Erik Jackson
• Sept. 22: Fall Celebration of Eleutherian History
• Information: (812) 866-6846
“We are exploring all of the arts this summer, and we thought that starting with a music event would be a great way to attract people to the college,” said Eleutherian Board President Larry DeBuhr.
David Harden, vice president of the Historic Eleutherian Board, said he is pleased at the opportunity for high school students to perform alongside an established band. “We wanted to provide an opportunity for young musicians to perform as well as letting them get to know professional musicians.”
He continues, “The main room in the college building at Historic Eleutherian Inc. is a wonderful venue for music, as we found out when ‘Oh Madison, Where Art Thou’ performed there last summer. We are looking forward to getting the band students and their families, as well as the broader Jefferson County community out to Eleutherian. Anytime we can introduce this amazing site to new people, or use for programs like this, it’s a win for everyone.”
Celtica, based in Nashville, Ind., includes Lane, fiddler Carolyn Dutton, piper Clancy Clements, sand guitarists Tim Doole and Jeff Foster. “They’re all excellent musicians, just at the top of their field,” says Lane.
“The board has adopted an operating plan to use the College Building as a venue for
cultural and educational events.”
– Larry DeBuhr, Eleutherian College Board Director
The group has been performing together for about five years, and Lane stresses how “gracious and kind” the members are to each other. In college, she began with her studies focused on the piano, but she found herself drawn to the music of the Medieval and Renaissance eras. “Celtic music maintains some of those sounds,” she says.
Lane said she is proud that Celtica’s music can be enjoyed by many different types of people and the group finds warm welcomes everywhere from schools to clubs. “We seem to appeal to a wide range – children, teens, adults, the elderly.”
She highlights the uniqueness of the instruments as one of the things that helps to immediately grab the interest of the audience. Many people rarely see instruments, such as a hammered dulcimer or a Bodhran Drum, and they are immediately curious as to what they will sound like. The group shares some of the history of their instruments and songs, adding an educational level to their performance.
“You can appreciate the music on any level,” says Lane. “We do intelligent things” with the songs that appeal to lovers of Classical music. She believes that there is “a spiritual quality... a mystical quality” to their songs that immediately draws the audience in. “I have had people say they felt like we were in a bubble when they heard our music and they wanted to come inside.”
DeBuhr explains that Historic Eleutherian College “is a much stronger organization in 2014 that it has been in more than five years. The board has adopted an operating plan to use the College Building as a venue for cultural and educational events. Last year proved that this approach was possible and sustainable, and we are excited to be in a position of offering the second full year of events and public programs.”
The arts series continues in May with high school artists and art teachers invited to submit work on the theme of “Created Equal,” particularly with regard to civil rights and racial, cultural and gender equality for a juried art show. Cash prizes and medallions will be awarded to the winners. Submission deadline is April 25 with an opening reception on May 10.
Throughout the summer, the college will present three films from the “Created Equal: American’s Civil Rights Struggle” film series. As part of the National Endowment for the Humanities’ Bridging Cultures initiative, these documentaries have been chosen to spark conversations about freedom and equality.
• For more information, visit: www.EleutherianCollege.org.
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