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Band Bestows Bach, Beatles & Bluegrass

The Nashville Mandolin Ensemble performed their show "Bach, Beatles, Bluegrass and a bit of Christmas, too!" as the last convocation of the year on December 1.

The Nashville Mandolin Ensemble.

With wit and style, the ensemble presented songs from many different periods and genres. As their first Christmas show of the year, the band wove several Christmas songs in with their repertoire to get everyone in the holiday spirit.

In honor of Berea's sesquicentennial anniversary and the 100th anniversary of the Phelps Stokes building, the ensemble also performed "Happy Birthday Bill Monroe." Front-man Butch Baldassari explained using degrees of separation why the song was appropriate. "Bill Monroe is from Kentucky, we're in Kentucky… we're gonna tie all that together, if you know what I mean," he said.

The six members of the Mandolin Ensemble showed skill and range in their entirely stringed-instrument performance of such varied tunes as "O Holy Night"; "Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds"; "Dance of the Mirlitons" (from the Nutcracker) and many other songs including some Irish ballads. They ended the show with a piece even more contemporary than the Beatles, and familiar to many in the audience: "Music for a Found Harmonium," taken from popular movie Napoleon Dynamite.

The Nashville Mandolin Ensemble performed previously at Berea College in 2002.

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