Mars Hill

Mars Hill College

The exhibit at Mars Hill College will be coordinated through the Liston B. Ramsey Center for Regional Studies, in partnership with the Big Ivy Community Center, the Big Ivy Historical Society, the Wolf Laurel Historical Society, and the Dry Ridge Historical Museum.  Dr. Karen Paar, Director of Ramsey Center, said:  “We in the Ramsey Center are very excited about the opportunity to host the ‘New Harmonies’ exhibition.  We look forward to working with other groups in our community to promote this wonderful exhibition and to plan related events that celebrate our region’s rich musical tradition.”

According to Paar, the ‘New Harmonies’ exhibit will come to Mars Hill at a particularly appropriate time.  In 2010, the planned focus for the Ramsey Center programming and archival work is the Bascom Lamar Lunsford collection.  The collection, which includes the personal notes, handwritten music, and instruments of the famous Appalachian folklorist and musician, is a perfect complement to the Smithsonian exhibit.

“The opportunity to host ‘New Harmonies’ could not come at a better time for us,” Paar said.

New Harmonies features interactive kiosks devoted to American music genres such as blues, country western, folk, and gospel music. Kiosks display instruments as varied as fiddles and banjos, accordions and drums, vintage sheet music, and program bills. A listening station provides an immediate opportunity to experience the music firsthand. In addition, each host site will develop programming and activities to complement the exhibit—lectures, films, and performances, oral histories, and photo essays about home-grown musicians and local musical traditions.

Click here for a complete calendar of New Harmonies events at Mars Hill.

Bascom Lamar Lunsford

Bascom Lamar Lunsford, folklorist and musician, was born on March 21, 1882, in Mars Hill, NC, in the high mountains of rural Madison County. His parents were descendents of the area’s first pioneer settlers. His father, James Bassett Lunsford, was a teacher at
Mars Hill College when Bascom was born. Madison County, a mere twenty miles from Asheville, was a hot-bed of folk traditions in the late 1800s. Around 1900, Madison
County is where the famous collector, Cecil Sharp, made numerous ballad and folk song discoveries. Lunsford was raised in this culturally rich environment. Read more.