Aspen In­sti­tute to host blue­grass con­cert Sun­day

Record Observer - - Arts & Entertainment -

QUEEN­STOWN — The Aspen In­sti­tute will host its Fall Con­cert on Sun­day, Sept. 18, at 3 p.m. at the Inn at River House on the In­sti­tute’s Wye River cam­pus off Carmichael Road in Queen­stown. The con­cert will fea­ture Blue Oc­tane Blue­grass Band, a Mary­land-based acous­ti­cal group of five artists with more than 100 com­bined years of per­form­ing blue­grass mu­sic. Blue Oc­tane’s band mem­bers hail from Penn­syl­va­nia, New Jersey and Mary­land and in­clude fid­dler Jeff Wes­ter­i­nen, gui­tarist John Brown, man­dolin player David Robert­son, bassist An­drea Wes­ter­i­nen and ban­joist Dean Phillips.

“We are ex­cited to wel­come the Blue Oc­tane Blue­grass Band to the In­sti­tute’s Wye River cam­pus,” said Judy Price, Aspen Wye cam­pus man­ager. “Our guests are sure to enjoy the pow­er­house vo­cals, ex­pres­sive bal­lad singing and lively banjo, man­dolin and fid­dle in­stru­men­tal per­for­mances of th­ese ex­tremely tal­ented mu­si­cians.”

The con­cert pro­gram will in­clude the group’s orig­i­nal works as well as pieces writ­ten and orig­i­nally per­formed by blue­grass greats like Bill Mon­roe, of­ten con­sid­ered to be the “fa­ther of blue­grass mu­sic.” More con­tem­po­rary num­bers from renowned mu­si­cians such as Doyle Law­son and J.D. Crowe will also be per­formed.

Fid­dler Jeff Wes­ter­i­nen played ex­ten­sively in re­gional bands from New York, South Carolina and Wash­ing­ton State be­fore re­turn­ing to his na­tive Mary­land in 2014. He is a veteran of the five-time New York State cham­pion Yan­kee Rebels, and the In­ter­na­tional Blue­grass Mu­sic Cham­pion of 2000, the Ohop Val­ley Boys.

Gui­tarist John Brown grew up around blue­grass mu­sic, hav­ing ac­quired his first gui­tar at age 8. Two years later he started play­ing bass with his fa­ther’s band, The One Way Ex­press Blue­grass Gospel Band. Brown has been a mem­ber of the well-known blue­grass band Ivan Sex­ton and the Delaware Val­ley Boys and has per­formed sev­eral times at the Delaware Val­ley Blue­grass Fes­ti­val.

David Robert­son also started play­ing mu­sic at a young age, singing in church and play­ing the man­dolin with his fa­ther in West Vir­ginia. Con­sid­ered one of the fore­most tenors in the re­gion, he has re­cently joined Blue Oc­tane Blue­grass Band.

Bassist An­drea Wes­ter­i­nen has per­formed in Florida, South Carolina, Wash­ing­ton State and Mary­land for over 25 years, and also con­trib­utes heart­felt vo­cals to the group’s per­for­mances. She has played with award-win­ning groups at nu­mer­ous blue­grass fes­ti­vals through­out the coun­try.

Ban­joist Dean Phillips is known for play­ing the five-string banjo in the style of blue­grass greats J.D. Crowe and Earl Scruggs. He per­forms through­out Mary­land and Penn­syl­va­nia and is a fre­quent guest ban­joist with the renowned blue­grass band, Danny Pais­ley and the South­ern Grass.

Blue­grass mu­sic is known for its per­cus­sive back­beat, syn­co­pated three-finger method of banjo play­ing and pre­ci­sion three- and four­part vo­cal har­monies. A dy­namic genre of mu­sic, it draws in­flu­ences from African-Amer­i­can blues, Scots-Ir­ish fid­dling and Amer­i­can coun­try mu­sic.

The con­cert is spon­sored by the Aspen Wye Fel­lows and the Friends of Wye, sup­port groups of the In­sti­tute and its Wye River cam­pus. A re­cep­tion will fol­low.

The con­cert is free with a lim­ited num­ber of seats avail­able to the gen­eral pub­lic. Seats may be re­served by call­ing Mary Ann Dodd at 410-820-5433. To learn more about the Aspen Wye Fel­lows Pro­gram, which fea­tures monthly dis­cus­sions with diplo­mats, in­flu­en­tial pol­i­cy­mak­ers and world thought lead­ers, con­tact Judy Price at judy.price@as­ or by call­ing 410-8205432.


Blue Oc­tane Blue­grass Band per­forms at a re­cent con­cert at West­min­ster Hall in Bal­ti­more City.

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