The 2015-2016 season marks Carnegie Hall’s 32nd year of presenting performances of the highest caliber. Carnegie Hall’s Mainstage Series will include a diverse tapestry of musical genres, including bluegrass, folk, world, jazz, blues and classical. Simply put, there’s something for everyone this season at Carnegie Hall.
The performance season opens on Sept. 12 with The Del McCoury Band, brought to you by principal sponsor Gina McClure. For more than 50 years, Del McCoury’s music has defined authenticity for hard core bluegrass fans as well as a growing number of fans among those only vaguely familiar with the genre. McCoury is something special, a living link to the days when bluegrass was made only in hillbilly honkytonks, schoolhouse shows and on the stage of the Grand Ole Opry. Yet he remains a commandingly vital presence in the industry today, from prime time and late night talk show TV, to music festivals where audiences number in the hundreds of thousands.
Born in York County, PA, 75 years ago, Del McCoury would once have seemed an unlikely candidate for legendary status. Bitten hard by the bluegrass bug when he heard Earl Scruggs’ banjo in the early ‘50s, McCoury became a banjo picker himself, working in the rough but lively Baltimore and DC bar scene into the early 1960s. He got his first taste of the limelight when he joined Bill Monroe’s Blue Grass Boys in early 1963; the Father of Bluegrass moved McCoury from the banjo to guitar, made him his lead singer, and gave him a lifetime’s worth of bluegrass tutelage direct from the source.
Flash forward to 1990s and the Del McCoury Band is on top of the bluegrass world, along the way giving birth to a more startling phenomenon: the emergence of the group onto the larger musical scene as a unique torchbearer for the entire sweep of bluegrass and its history. For it turned out that the unmistakable authenticity of McCoury’s music, along with his good-natured willingness to keep alert for new sounds and new opportunities, had bred fans in some unlikely places. By the second half of the ‘90s, the acclaim and Del’s open-mindedness put McCoury’s in onstage jams with Phish, and on the road and in studio with Steve Earle, bringing the Del McCoury Band’s fierce musicianship and its leader’s instantaneous, easygoing connection with listeners to new arenas. The group appeared on prime time television and began an ongoing series of visits to popular late night TV talk shows, toured rock clubs and college campuses, and found itself welcome at country, and even jazz oriented music festivals and venues.
The fifth decade of that half century of music making has been filled with new and ongoing triumphs. The Del McCoury Band has shown unprecedented stability, with but a single change in membership in twenty years. They have won nine IBMA Entertainer of the Year trophies, earned membership in the cast of the legendary Grand Ole Opry in 2003, and their first Best Bluegrass Album Grammy award in 2005, followed by their second Grammy win in 2014.
Del might be 75, but he’s singing better than ever and showing no signs of slowing down.
The performance will begin at 7:30 p.m. with doors opening at 6:45. In addition to concert tickets, patrons may enjoy food and beverage before the show and at Intermission in the Mainstage Lounge for only $5. The Mainstage Lounge host for this event is TLP of WV Catering. Purchase lounge tickets in advance or at the door. Entry for the lounge is limited to the first 100 people.
Tickets are on sale now. New this year is the “Pick 4” package. Purchase tickets to four or more performances at one time and receive 10 percent off your purchase. Become a member of the Hall and save even more. Please note, members must call to purchase tickets in order to receive their discount.
Memberships start at $50 and include benefits such as early and discounted ticket purchases, early and discounted enrollment in classes and workshops, the quarterly newsletter so you stay in the know about all of the Hall’s programming and special events, invitations to member-only events, and a member cling for your window or car.
Higher levels of membership include discounts on rentals, Kids’ College, and complimentary tickets to performances. To become a member you can make a one-time gift or spread your payments out over a 12 month period. In order to qualify for the monthly giving option, you must make a minimum payment of $10 per month.
Tickets may be purchased by phone at 304-645-7917, in person at the Box Office at 105 Church Street in Lewisburg, or online at www.carnegiehallwv.org. Tickets for this performance range from $30-45. The “Pick 4” package is available online. Simply enter the coupon code 4ORMORE at checkout. Discounts are also available for seniors, military, and students. If you qualify for one of these discounts, please call or stop by the Box Office to complete your order.
Carnegie Hall’s 2015-16 programming is presented with financial assistance from the WV Division of Culture and History, and the National Endowment for the Arts, with approval from the WV Commission on the Arts.