WCU traditional music series to feature Don Pedi, Bruce Greene

The 2016-17 First Thursday Old-Time and Bluegrass Concert and Jam Series at Western Carolina University will continue Thursday, Dec. 1, with a concert featuring old-time music virtuosos Don Pedi and Bruce Greene.

Their performance in the ground-floor auditorium of H.F. Robinson Administration Building will be followed by an 8 p.m. jam session in which local musicians are invited to participate.

Don Pedi (left) and Bruce Greene

Don Pedi (left) and Bruce Greene

A native of Massachusetts, Pedi began playing the dulcimer in 1968 and has been living in Western North Carolina since 1973. He won top honors in the first dulcimer-playing contest he entered, which was at the legendary Fiddler’s Grove competition in Union Grove in 1974. Widely recognized over the decades as a pioneer in dulcimer music, Pedi retired from festival competitions in 1982 with more than 30 first-place ribbons and trophies. That same year, he met Greene, who became a friend and mentor. Pedi has been an on-air host at WCQS-FM, the National Public Radio affiliate in Asheville, since 1985, and he now hosts the station’s “Close to Home” show that features traditional, old-time and classic folk music on Saturdays from 8 to 10 p.m.

Born in New York City and raised in New Jersey, Greene has received worldwide acclaim for his performances of old-time Kentucky fiddle music and is considered to be one of the finest Southern Appalachian fiddlers of his generation. In the 1970s and 1980s, Greene immersed himself in the fiddle music of Kentucky, and the influence of the fiddlers he met led to the development of his own unique style. He moved to North Carolina in 1978 and is now one of only two living fiddle players listed on the OldTimeMusic.com website’s “Old-Time Fiddler’s Hall of Fame.” Greene’s most recent recording features 31 traditional Southern Appalachian fiddle tunes and includes Pedi performing on the mountain dulcimer.

Sponsored by WCU’s Mountain Heritage Center, the First Thursday concerts and jam sessions will continue through next spring, with programs from 7 to 9 p.m. on the first Thursday of each month. Performers in early 2017 will include Blue-Eyed Girl and Ol’ Dirty Bathtub.

The events are free and open to the public. Pickers and singers of all ages and experience levels are invited to take part in the jam sessions, which also are open to those who just want to listen.

For more information, call the Mountain Heritage Center at 828-227-7129.