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April 11, 2024

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Spring Housing Guide

Music club builds relationships

Students gather in Moore Musical Arts Center room 1002 with their guitars, banjos, mandolins and other instruments.

Not all of them are bringing their instruments and some haven’t had any formal music education. They’re not sitting through a class tonight; they’re going to a Roots Music Club meeting.

The Roots Music Club is a student-run organization that meets every Tuesday at 8:30 p.m. It is aimed at those who share an interest for what president and founder Mike Bryce calls “distinctly American music.” This includes genres such as folk, bluegrass, country, gospel and Americana.

The meetings typically open with songs played on the computer and by club members relating to the genre of music being presented for the week. Bryce will then talk about the style and history of the genre before opening discussion and closing the meeting with more performances.

“It’s not just coming and listening to great musicians jam,” Nick Petikas, a senior astrophysics major and Roots Music Club member, said. “Mike kind of delves into where the music originated from, who’s famous for it, what’s so great about this genre or this genre, holds discussions. It’s just nice.”

Bryce is a fourth-year music and psychology student at the University and started the club this semester after being inspired by meeting artists and seeing them perform at Café Havana’s open mic nights.

He said he started the club as a way for fans of roots music to build friendships between each other and talk about their love for the music, whether they play any instruments or not.

“We’re including everybody and the common thread is the love of this kind of music,” Bryce said. “We have music majors, non-music majors, musicians, singers, songwriters and just music lovers.”

Bryce has established three goals for the club: education, appreciation and contribution. He educates members through his presentations about specific genres, lets them appreciate the music by playing songs ranging from a genre’s inception to examples of modern-day artists who implement its style and encourages contribution in the form of either performances or discussion in place of asking for members to pay dues.

“As president, I’d rather have people use their time and talents for the club rather than just asking for money outright,” Bryce said.

Roots Music Club executive board member and junior special education major Tom Vasey hopes to use the meetings to contribute not only to the club, but to the city as well.

“Bowling Green itself has kind of been lacking a music scene in recent years,” Vasey said. “When I found out about the club, I saw it as a great opportunity to get to meet new people and musicians like me, get more involved in the community and perform a little more.”

Vasey isn’t the only member who wants to bring roots music outside of Moore 1002. The club itself recently received funding from the student budget committee to pay Pittsburgh bluegrass band Jakob’s Ferry Stragglers to come to the University.

The band will be holding a clinic on Saturday, Oct. 25, at 3 p.m. followed by a concert at 4:15 at the Kreischer Arts Village. All students are welcome to attend the event, free of charge.

Bryce said he hopes that the club can expand to host more events, including open mic nights and more concerts. Plans for the meetings themselves include discussing how roots music has influenced other genres and adapting the presentation material to shape it around members’ interests.

Although the club is small at 34 members, Bryce said he would like to see new members who are dedicated to contributing to the club. He welcomes anybody with an interest in roots music to attend a meeting.

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