Bluegrass is highlight of ‘Down Home, Downtown’ program at Miami Regionals center

Musicians performing at a previous Miami University Regionals Downtown Hamilton event. CONTRIBUTED

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Musicians performing at a previous Miami University Regionals Downtown Hamilton event. CONTRIBUTED

Miami University Regionals Downtown Hamilton Center and Appalachian Studies will continue to present live, free bluegrass music each month with its “Down Home, Downtown” program.

“We do the bluegrass program regularly on the first Tuesday of every month. It’s called ‘Down Home, Downtown.’ We have so much in the way of talent, in the way of bluegrass music. Many people from out of the area that I’ve talked to said they are just amazed at the amount of talent we have to choose from,” said John Vaughn, coordinator, of Miami University Regionals Downtown Hamilton and Community Outreach.

The next “Down Home, Downtown” program will feature a performance by Evan Lanier and the Bluegrass Express. The in person-event will be at the Downtown Hamilton Center at 7 p.m. Tuesday. The Miami Regionals Downtown Hamilton Center is located at 221 High St. in Hamilton.

“We have a lot of bluegrass groups that are really good, and not enough time slots for all of them. We only do this once a month, and it’s free. Anyone can come in. We do this in cooperatively in collaboration with the Appalachian Studies program that’s at the regional campuses. The idea here is to continue to promote and give pride to the people from Appalachia and promote the culture, art, music, the food, family and that type of thing from that part of the country, where we have such a strong presence here in Butler County,” Vaughn said.

We’ve built up a pride in those kinds of arts activities, he said.

“I’m always amazed how talented the musicians are and many of them do not read music. They learn to play at the feet of their relatives and their ancestors, and they have become excellent musicians, playing totally from memory, and many of them have created their own music and written their own songs, and of course, many of them have gone on to become very well known,” Vaughn said.

The next “Down Home, Downtown” will be May 3.

Other regular monthly in-person music programs include “The Music Café,” “Creativa Convergence” and “SongFarmers,” which are open-mic type programs that have a regular following.

“These programs give people in the community a chance to come in and be performers. They sign up for time slots and they can try out various acts, whether it be music, or other talents. In the case of ‘Creativa Convergence,’ we’ve had someone show Yoga poses and teach people. We’ve had comedians. These are regular programs that highlight people in the community and their talents,” Vaughn said.

“SongFarmers,” is an acoustic jam session with an audience that meets monthly on select Wednesdays. Participants can bring their own non-electric instruments and join the performance. They can bring a flute, or a trombone, and it generally features acoustic guitar and stringed instruments. The session is open to beginners as well as seasoned performers. Led by Jim Richardson, about 10-12 participants get together each month.

Offered on the fourth Tuesday of every month, “The Music Café,” is a performance opportunity for musicians of all experience levels. Each show consists of four 25-minute sets. Performers should sign up in advance to perform. The Music Café” started as a “poetry slam” at the Fitton Center several years ago. The program was born out of a love of bringing local music to the community and it features a variety of solo performers to bands.

“Creativa Convergence,” a program that’s been going on for many years, covers a wide range of talents and skills. It gives community members a chance to share a variety of talents including comedy, poetry, music, filmmakers, and more. The next “Creativa Convergence” program will be held on Sat., Apr. 9. Sign up will begin at 7 p.m. and the performance will start at 7:30 p.m.

Miami University Regionals Downtown Hamilton will continue to present a number on-going education and enrichment opportunities for members of the community.

“It’s our way of reaching out into the community from the campuses and sharing what we have to offer,” Vaughn said.

He said, “We established the Downtown Center with the idea of bringing people downtown before there was anything downtown. A lot of storefronts were empty, and it’s all changed since that time, and that’s good.”

The programs are offered at no cost to participants. For more information, contact John Vaughn, coordinator, Miami University Regionals Downtown Hamilton at (513) 785-1821, or by email at vaughnjh@MiamiOH.edu.

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