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Volume 24, Number 10 — October 2017

Photomural Highlights ETSU Music Program

The new photomural's design is by ETSU alumnus Sam Mays in consultation with ETSU faculty.
The new photomural's design is by ETSU alumnus Sam Mays in consultation with ETSU faculty.

December 09, 2008

JOHNSON CITY, Tenn. — The ETSU Walls of Time: A Bluegrass, Old-Time and Country Music Photomural was unveiled in 2008 at East Tennessee State University in Johnson City.

The photomural, named for The Walls of Time, a song by Bill Monroe and Peter Rowan, has two major components

The first component is a photographic history of the "brilliant first generation" of bluegrass musicians, as well as old-time and early commercial country musicians. These include such legends as Monroe, Lester Flatt, Earl Scruggs, Ralph Stanley, the A.P. Carter Family, Benny Martin, Scott Stoneman, and many others whose careers began in the 1940s and '50s, like regional favorites Curly King and the Tennessee Hilltoppers and Bonnie Lou and Buster Moore.

The second focus of the piece is the evolution of ETSU's world-renowned Bluegrass, Old-Time and Country Music Program, with pictures of students, faculty and supporters dating from the program's humble beginnings in 1982. Also shown are ETSU bluegrass alumni, both as students and as successful professional musicians.

These include Grammy and Academy of Country Music award-winning superstar Kenny Chesney; Tim Stafford, founder of the International Bluegrass Music Association (IBMA) award-winning band Blue Highway; IBMA winners Adam Steffey and Barry Bales, who, like Stafford, have enjoyed success with Alison Krauss and Union Station; Jennifer McCarter of The McCarters; Beth Stevens of The Stevens Sisters; Jill Andrews of the everybodyfields; Becky Buller of Valerie Smith and Liberty Pike; and Martha Scanlan, formerly of The Reeltime Travelers and now a solo artist.

The new photomural's design is by ETSU alumnus Sam Mays in consultation with ETSU faculty. Located on the third floor of Memorial Hall, the photomural consists of 10 panels spaced along the length of the building. Most panels are eight feet high, with the exception of 14-foot end panels at both stairwells. This collage of 222 photographs portrays more than 600 individuals. Identifying plaques provide names and other information keyed to figures showcased on the walls outside the Jack Tottle Bluegrass Suite, which houses the music program's office and rehearsal areas.

For more information, call 423-439-7072.

A! ExtraTopics: Art, Music