Thomas Center holds early American folk music concert

The show featured tunes that date back as early as the American Revolution
The show featured tunes that date back as early as the American Revolution
Published: Feb. 26, 2023 at 6:34 PM EST
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GAINESVILLE, Fla. (WCJB) - The music of America’s history filled the halls at the Thomas Center in Gainesville at this year’s American folk music concert.

The Foundation for the Promotion of Music puts on four of these events each year, but this is the first time they have featured early American folk music.

“American folk music--the historical part of American music--is something that we need to continue to foster and to promote,” said the foundation’s past president, Cheryl Poe. “If we as an organization forget about it, may get forgotten by other people.”

The show featured Laurie Alsobrook playing the dulcimer, Eli Tragash on fiddle and his wife, Virginia Carr, on the guitar.

The three played for about an hour and featured tunes that dated back as far as the Revolutionary War.

Tragash and Carr spoke about why folk music appeals to them.

“I like the accessibility of the music and the style it’s played,” said Carr.

“It’s kind of like an open-ended genre” said Tragash. “It doesn’t just mean one thing or just mean old songs, It can be new stuff but it’s just about people. Folk music is just music for people.”

Throughout the performance, the group told stories of the songs’ origins and the times in which they were written.

“It’s always a learning experience for me too,” said Carr, “as well as teaching I guess. Whenever you sit down at a jam, you hear songs you never heard before. It’s a fun way to learn”

“I enjoy the stories myself so it’s a good way to teach other people the stories just to teach yourself again,” said Tragash.”

Tragash’s mother said she is proud of her son for helping keep folk music alive.

“I think it’s critical because it is kind of almost a lost art and it’s really only transferred by playing it,” said Jennifer Reeves. “I grew up with this and my relatives and his ancestors were from Kentucky and the mountains and played music. It’s very fulfilling for me to see it’s continuing.”

After the show was over, those in attendance got to sit down with an instrument and get a lesson from Alsobrook on the dulcimer.

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