Roots: Annual concert draws in community members and students alike

Jenny Rohl/The News ROOTS: The fourth annual Roots concert brought community members and students together to enjoy a night of music.

Jenny Rohl/The News
ROOTS: The fourth annual Roots concert brought community members and students together to enjoy a night of music.

The department of history hosted Roots 4 Tuesday in Lovett Auditorium in order to celebrate the roots of music in Kentucky and educate students and the community on Kentucky’s musical traditions.

The annual concert was free of charge and open to the public.

Members of the community filled the available seating on stage, while students were scattered mostly in the balcony and floor seating. According to Ted Franklin Belue, lecturer of history and coordinator of Roots 4, an estimated 350 to 400 people attended.

“It was a lot more than we had anticipated,” Belue said.

As master of ceremonies, Belue began the show by thanking those who were involved in the event preparation and promotion. Though Belue coordinates the show each year by himself, he essentially also has volunteers.

“I am a one-man operation,” he said. “I plan the entire thing. It has been put in my lap by the department chair Terry Strieter. There are a lot of people behind the scenes that help, though. It is a huge undertaking and takes months of work.”

Following the introduction, Belue welcomed Edward Smith to the stage to perform two Scottish songs on small bagpipes. After Smith’s performance Belue shared some fun facts about the history of Scottish music in Kentucky before introducing the next act, Terrapin Pond.

Terrapin Pond is a band from Marshall County that plays a mixture of Appalachian folk and garage rock. The ensemble also features math professor Jason McKendree.

Many of McKendree’s students came out to support their teacher and earn some extra credit.

“My favorite part of the Roots concert was seeing my math teacher’s amazing talent,” said Chris Wash, freshman from Versailles, Ky. “The music, though it was kind of different, was really great too.”

Despite some technical difficulties, the group pushed through its performance. After the set, there was a brief intermission before The Giant City Slickers took the stage.

The Giant City Slickers performed traditional country-style music. The band from Carbondale, Ill., prides itself on its fast-paced western swing sound.

Closing the concert was The Bankesters. The Illinois family band pleased the house with their strong vocals and traditional country music.

Belue believes the community benefits from the Roots concert from year to year as it grows larger.

“The Roots concert is part of Murray State’s outreach to the community,” he said. “It is also an opportunity for the community to come on campus and attend a free music show and learn about the campus too.”

Community members are not the only people who benefited from the Roots concert. Students acquire their fair share of benefits as well.

“I believe students should educate themselves about the music they listen to,” Belue said. “Whether it is rock, pop or rap, that music comes from a basic earlier form of music. All music forms around blues in a way. Students benefit by informing themselves about pop culture. It also gives them an opportunity to do something for free.”