Photo by Joe McGarity
The words Bluegrass and Mass seem to fit uneasily together, yet the performance of such a piece is scheduled to take place at Shasta College on Saturday, May 14, 2011. There appears to be rhyme, but is there reason? The Fantom Penguin asked fiddler Kate Busey to help explain it to his audience.
“I would tell them that it’s a mass, like a Classical mass and Bluegrass music, Folk music and combining it together and it’s creating this mixture of a different kind of music. And basically, you have your Bluegrass tunes; you have some old hymns in there and this composer combines different types of tunes in there, so you’ll, like, recognize a few tunes . . . and when the average listener hears it they’re like, ‘Oh that sounds kinda familiar.’”
“So with this Bluegrass Mass we’re using modern guitars. You know with Bluegrass music you have guitars, mandolins, banjos (always a banjo) and the fiddlers. And then for the Bluegrass Mass we have banjo player Sid Lewis who lives in Chico, then we have Eric Day who lives here in Redding and he’s the guitar player and Morgan Hannaford who’s a Biology teacher here on campus is going to be playing the mandolin for us. And then Bruce Calin is the stand-up bass.”
“So, I am the fiddler. I play the fiddle and I’ve been playing for about ten years, I think. I just came to Shasta College about a year ago and so now I was asked to do this Bluegrass Mass.”
“The mass part is the choir singing and then the Bluegrass part is the instrumentalists. And at the beginning of the piece there’s gonna be a singer and that’s gonna be me and I’m gonna have, like a Folk style instead of a Classical style to my voice. I’ll be singing ‘Folk’. And then at the end of the piece, I’ll be closing off with the same Folk tune. So, here’s me singing ‘Folk’ and then all of a sudden we have the choir come in, which is the mass part and then you have the instruments create the Bluegrass and it intertwines and then at the end of it I just close it off with some more Folk.”
Composed by Carol Barnett and under the direction of Dr. Elizabeth Waterbury, The World Beloved: A Bluegrass Mass in addition to the instrumentalists mentioned also features the voices of Community Chorale. The concert will be held at the Shasta College Theater at 7:30 pm on Saturday, May 14th 2011. Tickets are $7.00 (General) and $5.00 (Seniors and Students) and are available online at www.shastacollege.edu.
“You will hear in part of it some stuff referring to towers falling and so it was right after 9/11 that this was basically written. So that’s interesting.”